Journal - Napló
|Posted on March 16, 2011 at 12:25 AM|
We don’t know how, but we actually did wake up in time and went to the horses at 3:30 am. Karesz’s older relative, Tata was already there. It was raining so we sheltered under the eaves. We were waiting and waiting but they didn’t turn up. Tata was cursing quite frequently and had some draughts from the palinka bottle from time to time. Eventually, Kenneth lay down on the plateau of the horse carriage and fell asleep. I first settled down on a bench then escaped from the cold to a little room. However, I didn’t manage to sleep there as Tata was getting ’better and better’ and, making visits every minute he was commenting on the events.
At about 5:30 the others showed up at last. As it turned out, it wasn’t the ’having had a glass too many’ the last day that delayed them but the rain. They soon put the horses to a carriage and we were on our way. The horses took us here on concrete, there gallopping on dirt road on the plain lands ornamented with corn and sunflower.
Reaching Ada, Tata was hardly moving, he stared at the mass in a drunk way. We ran to a shady place and from there we watched the horses and their riders, the little and big ones as well. The main sensation of the day was an attempt of record. They planned to put 30 horses to one carriage and do a circle on the road. It took them two hours to do so. The world record is 51 horses but those were from the same stable. These 30 however, were total strangers to each other and were trying to make friends for a couple of hundred metres. After many stops, yelling and shouting with joy, they made it and horses and riders all could enjoy the thunderous applause of the audience.
In the afternoon we packed our stuff, thanked for the hospitality and the ride, then we walked up to the main road. We were heading for Belgrad but only got a few short rides that day. When the evening overtook us, we were just standing in front of an unfinished house, on the road. We climbed up the stairs, and after a really good dinner we went to bed.
After a horse carriage and two car rides, we arrived in the capitol around 4 o’clock. Finding an internet café, Kenneth started to look for accomodation. It turned out that day there was gonna be a couchsurfing meeting at the railway station. He looked at his watch… then he stormed away. He had 20 minutes to get there. He came back with a smile on his face. Marine’s going to host us that night.
Couchsurfers (www.couchsurfing.org) are members of a vast, internet network offering each other free accomodation. At the most hidden place of the world one will most certainly find a free couch on which the traveler can have a good night’s sleep and with the owner of which he/she could have a glimpse at the culture and the everydays of the country in question.
We dedicated this day to having fun at the beach in the company of two Swedish girls and the Austrian Josh we met the day before. In the evening, with new couchsurfers in our team, we had dinner in a cheap restaurant in a little yard hidden by block of flats. In the castle we just caught the last half hour of a Serbian musical group’s performance that was given an ovation. With the leaving mass of people we made ourselves swept away to the castle wall. Staring at the city dressed in nightly lights, hanging our legs we were talking until dawn. Four Serbians, a Hong-Konger, two Autrians, two Swedish, a Norwegian and a Hungarian.
We were walking the city all day long, looking for a microphone for our videocamera. In the late afternoon, sick of the shop visiting, we’re heading for the Danube-bank in the blazing sun. We looked up an old swimming-pool building Josh told us about. This former bathing paradise was closed a few years ago, due to unknown causes. Now it’s standing with ruining walls among the waterbank coffee houses. We thought we’d come in vain as it was closed from all directions, when we ran into the old handyman. Kenneth, with his impressive Russian knowledge (about 5 sentences) charmed him so much that he then gave us a tour and showed us this mysterious concrete colossus. Dark underground corridors, open and closed pools full of garbage, plaster coming off the walls; from the terrace view over the junction of the Danube and the Sava. Unfortunately we weren’t told the reason why it got closed, but we were pleased to hear from a local guy (who we played basketball with) that it will be renewed and next year the ’bathing town’ will open up again.
On our way back I added a passport losing programme to our schedule. I must have pulled it out together with my camera. After a half hour of searching, going back to the place where its absence became clear, we found it lying in the grass.
Then we broke our record at the speed of drinking two liters of cold liquid. After that we, enjoying Marko’s hospitality, lay down on his floor.
The peace and sense of security that followed us all along traveling through the villages, remained with us as we got to the capitol. Belgrade found the way how to get rid of the tension. Parasols lining up on both banks of the many kilometre-long branch of the Sava. The bars, the long beaches, the cool parks surrouded by cycle lanes, the spacious-grassy places make this part of the town a paradisiacal little oasis.
The downtown is full of block of flats. The bakeries and the icecream vendors make the pedestrian insecure of their destination in every minute.
At most parts of the city you can see serious police presence; however, this is not the cause of the safe atmosphere that is present on the streets day and night. It just seems natural. How else could it be?
translated by Ágoston Galambos