Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Day 67 Sun, rain, mud

Passing through the flat lands of Hungary has been relatively easy, sure, but back on the Schengen clock has prodded me along quickly again, and the weather has not been conducive to blogging.  Shameful of me not to check in in such a long time...

I tumbled out of the mountains and out of the snow, into mud.  With my western trajectory, I shifted the payload of chocolate to the starboard side; the sun came out.  (Mr. Murphy's class: why would this be a good idea?)  In the few days it took my face and hands to get good and sunburnt, the clouds came back and dropped abundant flower-encouraging rain.  I walked a lot along the soggy levees of the Tisa River, stopping in farmhouses for tea, and being handed from one group to the next, each host taking on the responsibility for contacting an acquaintance in a village a day's walk away.

With the passage through Hungary moving swiftly along, the larger cities of Debrecen and Szeged offered their amber shops in the old city centers, reassuring me that I'm still on the right ancient route.  Hungary spills out of its borders, which are evidently political rather than cultural.  I continued to bungle through Hungarian for several days after crossing into Serbia, where I am now... the capital city of Belgrade, such a cultural crossroad that, I read, it has been a battleground something like 150 times in its history.

The Serbs are gentle with their language, equally presented in the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets.  With the similarities with Polish, Russian, and Ukrainian, my vocabulary is bigger than I managed in Hungary, though I spend a lot of time in jovial confusion.  People are good, of course, and I've met many wonderful people, young and old.  Funny thing, passing through Hungary, I was silently hopeful for some of the famed goulash, and finally had some only after passing through the transition zone in Serbia... delicious, and made with venison.

Even after all of this silence, I'm quite limited on the computer this evening and have to devote some time to figuring out a route for my non-Schengen leisure - Serbia is overflowing with old Orthodox monasteries, most of which seem to be nestled in high mountain valleys, how to choose??? I could spend a lot of time touring around, but Rome awaits, so though I have no need to rush, I mustn't dawdle.  I'm staying with a trio of retired French missionary nuns who have plenty of experience in the region but none afoot... I hope to make it at least well into Kosovo, but if my wanderings take so much time, I may have to sacrifice a visit to Macedonia before swinging into Albania and balancing the sunburn with a northern bearing for a while.
   the world needs more pilgrims! gotta run...!


Joanne Dupont Sandoval said...

Continued Blessings of love and safety, Ann! Can hardly believe you are this far already! Of course, my retirement, Christmas and almost 2 weeks gone for a grandson's wedding in Ecuador took me out of cyberspace. Fr. Jim asked me to relay his prayers, blessings and concern as well. He's had problems trying to get Google to send his comments here.

Joanne Dupont Sandoval said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pilgrimpoustinik said...

Anne, you are in my prayers too but I am having problems sending you messages through my Google account also, Pilgrim George

Sheila Phelan Wright said...

About seven inches of beautiful snow here in Denver today. No mud, but lots of slush.
Sounds as if your clothes and boots are holding up.
Funny, I used to worry when we didn't hear from you for a spell, but now I'm pretty convinced you are fine and just having a side adventure.
Thinking of you often. lots of love Sheila and Roscoe - and a big hug!