And so, I was about to finally step into Russia. As a kid, of course, it was all part of the USSR. We lived as children in genuine fear of the Cold War between the Soviets and the Americans escalating into Mutually Assured Destruction, wondering what we would do if the apocryphal 4-minute warning sounded…
Category: Eastern Europe
Turkish Delights – Day Seven : Wire-walking around the Pool
Words spin into conversations. Conversations weave into relationships. Relationships embroider into friendships or even life partnerships. But we have to start – with a few words. Every book, every play, every story, has an opening line. We have been thrown together with four other families – randomly – around a pool. Such is the fate…
Latvia – the Long road to Liberty
It’s hard to imagine what it is like to be oppressed for most of your life. To have your freedom taken away and to live in perpetual fear of what your captors will do next. We shudder as we hear stories of people incarcerated for years in basements by kidnappers, men locked away for crimes…
A Train ride through Transylvania (abridged)
The overnight train from Bucharest is swaggering through the foreboding mountains of Transylvania. Jerry has demanded silence whilst he proves that he can complete a killer Sudoku in less than 45 minutes. So I gaze out of the window and contemplate the journey so far.
The Walls of Dubrovnik
The walls of Dubrovnik, once impregnable, are now penetrated daily by thousands of invaders from around the planet. They come armed, not with their guns but with their Gucci. Not with their cannon but with their cameras. Plundering the city for pleasure and secretly stealing a billion digital images.
An examination of Montenegro
Today was the hottest day of the year. 36 degrees. The day we decided to check out Montenegro. It was quite a test for all of us. I knew nothing about this little country. I certainly never expected it to be some sort of super-heated tourist town. But apparently it is. The south coast is…
A Serbian Beer in Bosnia
Perhaps more than any other of the former Yugoslavian countries, Bosnia is remembered as a battle ground. As the Croatians and the Serbians wrestled for control in the early 1990s, over 100,000 people were killed, thousands of women were raped and nearly 2 million people were “displaced”. And there was the so-called “ethnic cleansing” of…
Train ride across Transylvania
I am sat with Jerry in the sleeper compartment of an impossibly long Romanian train, transporting us overnight out of Bucharest and up into Transylvania. He has demanded silence whilst he proves that he can complete a killer Sudoku in less than 45 minutes. So I quietly write my diary.
Escape from Hungary 1 – Eruption Disruption.
This was my fourth visit the state of the art Specsavers optical laboratory. It is designed to become one of the leading centres for spectacle manufacturing in the world. Where is this flagship facility?
Escape from Hungary 2 – fast car across 6 countries
Within 10 minutes of setting off in our lurid green car we were on the M1 – the Budapest version– heading west. Our journey was, a little surprisingly, mainly west, with just a nudge north. Tony had baggsied first drive – his eyesight was unable to cope with the night (something he hadn’t mentioned before).