Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Carutza, a Cat, and No Turning Back:The Road to a Romanian Farm

An extended stay in Berlin meant that we needed make a swift trip to Bacau, Romania in order to reach Hilary's flight back to London. We spent a night in Prague, where the locals were as unfriendly as they were aggressive, and continued on to Budapest, one of my favorite cities. Hungary, it is worth noting, has undergone sweeping changes within its government recently which have reduced diversity both politically and judicially, and I noticed something that may be of some relevance. Three years ago when motorcycling across Europe, I reached the communist era border complex, between Austria and Hungary, to find it completely abandoned and simply drove right through. This trip, however, I was a bit dismayed to find that it was once again operational, albeit at a reduced capacity from its Cold War peak. Though the police were not stopping every vehicle, each was carefully profiled prior to being waved through or pulled aside for further scrutiny. We were among the lucky ones.
Quite possibly my favorite piece of architecture, the Hungarian Parliament Building 
   It was my third trip to Budapest. My first encounter found me running around the streets and subway stations, unsupervised, with my buddy Jason in the summer of 93'. It was a watershed. Though at the age of 14 I already possessed a healthy obstinance, 3 days wandering the maze of Budapest helped to cement my independence. Some may say that it's been downhill since then, and indeed, the days following that golden summer have seen me expelled, arrested, beaten, and condemned more times than my mind can calculate, however, looking back, I must say, "it's pretty good being me". After all, I've been to Budapest!
  Although not my first trip to Budapest, there was a first. As I slept off a mild hangover from a late night on the town, Hilary was doing some wandering of her own. She returned to inform me that had gotten me a gift. And so it was, at 2PM,on the 19th of May, in a 5 star hotel, I had my first facial. It was quite nice!
6000 miles and she's still smiling. That's a riding partner I can deal with.
 The sprint from Budapest to Bacau revealed devolving infrastructure as well as odd and inefficient forms of transport. Not that I'm complaining. Romania is, in and of itself, moving along quite nicely (To be quite honest, I like the frontier atmosphere that still exists in many areas, though I doubt it will be around for much longer), however,  there is no mistaking it for Western Europe. But even with pot hole riddled roads, carutzas, and errant cattle we made it to the tiny international airport with a couple of hours to spare. This gave us opportunity to watch the Romanian Air Force scramble their ancient MiGs which, aside from proving their pilots very brave men, may one day be of great asset if there is a resurgence of the Ottoman Empire.
So, with Hilary's departure I was once again alone, heading north to a farm along the Ukrainian border.


  1. For sure I thought you were lost altogether. But, when I saw that wonderful house, then I knew you were there.

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