In our minds eye our trip starts, where the Silk Road starts, in Istanbul, Turkey. So we slip through Hungary, Serbia & Bulgaria but try to take in a mix of countryside, rural village and urban city.
We instantly feel at ease in these countries. It’s after the almost flawless form and function of Germany, Austria that overawes us, even intimidates us. It’s because of the uncanny likeness of Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria to home, to South Africa that re-assures us, even bolsters us.
The sheer excitement of living in a country in wobbling transition! We see the grim and the grubby. We feel the dilemmas and the energy. The apathy of the countryside recoils from the activism in the cities. The aspirations of the young ignore the pessimisms of the old.
We sense the histories of these countries still hurt. We know these present-day predicaments; at home they also mess with our minds every single day. We get it; the future ‘better life for all’ teeters on a tight rope.
Everywhere we see real people going about their business that matters. And at the end of everyday, we are choc-o-block full of reverence, solace and solidarity.
Here follow some photos that we hope reflect this ….
Back roads in Serbia.
Farming Communities in Hungary.
Here, there and everywhere, industry from the Soviet era.
Here is the village of Majdanpek (Serbia) epecially built for the labour force needed for the copper mine (see left corner).
The copper mine at Majdanpek.
Thriving cities …. Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
… Sofia, Bulgaria.
… cranes and skyscrapers …
… antiquity and graffiti …
A basket seller in the old part of Plovdiv.
And so often … no suburbia … hi-rise apartments stop and the countryside starts.
Here ‘RDP’ houses are on top of each other and not side by side (like SA).
A make shift home at the edge of a city.
A Soviet MIG displayed in the middle of nowhere.
A Soviet-style statue moving with the times (see EU symbol).
A family enjoying the sun at the foot of their apartment block.
A flower-pot of a Trabant!
An immaculant Simpson!
A working Trabant!
Trucks rule both sides of the road.
Late afternoon in Baja, Hungary.
In a small Serbian village…
In the old part of Plovdiv, Bulgaria…
… a busy street corner …
A gentle-man sells his wares … little wooden models of WW1 and WW2 planes.
The ‘lucky’ and the ‘not-so-lucky’ side by side.
You will find a Harley everywhere.
The young off to school in a little village.
A wedding in Plovdiv.
And another wedding ….. not far away.
Here wine is opened like beer … and beer comes in 2l coke sized bottles.
Everynight we scratch out a new nest. This is a particularly nice one (see Harry’s 2l beer).