- Travel and Places
Living on the Road - Stage 8: Traveling from Bulgaria to Germany
Coming from Bulgaria, I first hitchhiked without any problems to the Serbian capital Belgrade where I spent one night couchsurfing. But my final destination in this country was Kanizsa, a small town close to the Hungarian border where I wanted to attend a jazz festival. After leaving the capital and the chaotic traffic in this city I hitchhiked to Kanizsa, having a lot of fun. One of the drivers invited me for lunch, and then a truck driver who called himself Jesus picked me up, and he went some extra miles to drop me in Kanizsa. I had visited this place in 2002, and I had some good memories of the jazz festival there, and so I was looking forward to go there again. My couchsurfing host Tamás was also interested in jazz, and so we attended the concerts together.
Kanizsa Jazz Festival
I prefer to visit jazz festivals where you can expect the unexpected, and the Kanizsa festival is one of them. At three nights, every night with three bands, you could enjoy a lot of unexpected musical adventures. The highlights of the festival were without any doubt the performances of vocalist Phil Minton from the United Kingdom and his Feral Choir and the extraordinary Perry Robinson Quartet from the United States, but there were also some interesting groups from Hungary and Serbia like the Mihály Dresch Quartet and the Burány-Mezei Quartet or the Argentine Astillero Tango Group. Another highlight was the performance of a theater group under the direction of József Nagy called ... work in progress. Small but beautiful - there is no question that Kanizsa has its place among the important festivals for improvised music.
After three days in Kanizsa I left this nice place to hitchhike to Hungary. When I arrived in the capital Budapest I had no couch to surf but the driver who had picked me up at the Serbian border invited me to stay for one night in his apartment. The next night I slept at the airport, and on my third day in Budapest I attended a couchsurfer meeting where somebody offered me a couch for one night. The next day I hitchhiked to Esztergom, a town at the Slovakian border where I slept one night in a bus station. The next morning I decided to go to Slovakia hoping to find a couch there. Once more I had made the experience that it is difficult to find a couch in the big cities, especially in summer when many travelers are on the road.
On my first day in Slovakia I ended up in Velký Kýr/Nagykér, a village in the South-Western part of the country, and I was lucky, I found a place to sleep there. A friend of the driver who had brought me to this place had a small hut at the outskirts of the village where I could stay for some nights. It was no problem to come in contact with some young people from this village, and they did everything that I had a good time there. But I was in poor health, the problems had already started when I left Bulgaria, and it became worse after my arrival in Slovakia, and so I decided to go to a hospital in the nearby town of Nitra. I needed an operation, and after that I had to stay more than two weeks in the hospital. Of course, it was not the best experience of my trip but it could have been worse. Despite a language barrier, I had some good contacts with the staff of the hospital and with some other patients what was very helpful for me in this situation, and once again I made the experience that there is always a positive side in life. When I was discharged I tried to find a place where I could recover from my operation. First I returned to the village where I spent some more days before starting to travel again in Slovakia. First I went to an ecovillage, then to a monastery, but in both places it was impossible to stay for a longer period, but I always met helpful people on my way. Because of my poor health it was impossible to go on with my adventure, and so I took the decision to travel by train to Germany where a couch was waiting for me.
Back in Germany
Back in Germany, it was clear to me that I could not continue with my travels because I needed some time to recover, not so much from this operation but from the "medicine" they had given me in hospital, and which had poisoned my body. I arrived in Dresden where I was couchsurfing for three days, time enough to make some preparations for the time after my big adventure. After 520 days on the road, my trip was regrettably over ..., but I decided to continue as soon as possible.
Stay tuned - there is more to come ...
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