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By Andrzej Stasiuk
Andrzej Stasiuk is a stressed and indefatigable vacationer. His trips take him from his local Poland to Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, Albania, Moldova, and Ukraine. through vehicle, teach, bus, ferry. To small cities and villages with unfamiliar-sounding but surprisingly evocative names. “The center of my Europe,” Stasiuk tells us, “beats in Sokolow, Podlaski, and in Husi, now not in Vienna.”
Where did Moldova finish and Transylvania commence, he wonders as he's being pushed at breakneck velocity in an historical Audi—loose wires putting from the dashboard—by a driving force in shorts and naked toes, a go swinging on his chest. In Comrat, a funeral procession strikes slowly down the most road, the open coffin on a pickup truck, an outdated lady wearing black brushing away the flies above the face of the deceased. directly to Soroca, a baroque-Byzantine-Tatar-Turkish encampment, to fulfill Gypsies. And the entire approach to Babadag, among the Baltic Coast and the Black Sea, the place Stasiuk sees his first minaret, “simple and serious, a pencil pointed on the sky.”
A wonderful travel of Europe’s darkish underside—travel writing at its absolute best.
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Additional resources for On the Road to Babadag: Travels in the Other Europe
This time, notwithstanding, not anything of the type: the rustic appeared thoroughly comprehensive, performed with care, polished. i may locate no cracks within the surroundings that mind's eye may slip into. not anything the following recalled the areas from which I had come. every thing was once secondhand but whilst respectably new. so far as the attention may well see, no signal of degradation or progress or ostentation. strong grey partitions, gabled roofs, useless gardens, and vineyards left for the wintry weather within the top condition—you took all of it in at a look, yet not anything claimed your cognizance. This kingdom was once made in imitation of the precise kingdom. caught within the nook of Europe, among Germanic Austria, Romance Italy, Finno-Ugric Hungary, and Slavic Croatia, it persisted via mimicking a common perfect. As i used to be on the point of come right here, my pals stated, "Go, it really is one of many prettiest spots at the Continent. " instantly exciting to the attention. not anything superfluous wherever. Quiet villages lay on the backside of valleys. White church buildings on hilltops stood watch over such success. within the cities, a Hapsburg Baroque drew sophisticated shapes opposed to a gloomy sky. Murska Sobota, Ljutomir, Ptuj, Majsperk, Rogatec, Rogaška Slatina. i could not cease, consistently feeling that there will be a unexpected reversal, that the land—for my profit alone—would do a salto mortale, yet no, it remained on reliable phrases with itself. i used to be a barbarian from the unwashed, unfinished east. there has been no distinction the following, no chaos, no catch to place my wits to the try. acquainted with discontinuity, to wasting the thread, to plan twists dreamlike and in undesirable flavor, i couldn't take care of an area prepared in so irrevocable a fashion. I slept in Prelasko. The resort used to be empty. on the bar sat locals. now not relatively assorted from our locals who labored on a touch higher classification of farm. They drank Laško beer and a few form of transparent liquor in flip. Smoked cigarettes, conversed in low voices. Wore soiled outfits, gave the impression of beggars. Unshaven, rumpled, and obviously no longer nervous in regards to the day's department among paintings and relaxation. They have been the sort who may possibly get into mattress as they have been. they'd one other around, yet I observed no swap in them. They drank frivolously, as though appearing an obligation. of their phrases and gestures, now not a hint of the impatience so universal the place I got here from. They have been stolid and solemn of their ingesting, with no inebriation or male neurosis. either drank "internally. " The peace and depression in their dialog did not cross in any respect with the 4 or 5 fifties they drank during an hour or hour and a part. let alone all of the beer. eventually they rose, shuffled of their rubber boots, and left, and the innkeeper did not even pop out from in the back of the bar to determine if the proper funds were left at the desk. i used to be by myself with my wine. The boss bought right into a black Mercedes with double exhaust pipes and took off. I went out to the driveway to examine the Slovenian evening. Frost had settled on final year's grass. The around moon silvered the lengthy mountain ridge. within the distance, a lone puppy used to be barking.