As you head south the trains head south too. Slower, rattlier, fuller. The reclining seats, the speed, the power sockets all disappear. The restaurant car feels like a bit of an old 1950s film with the red velvet seats and the full meals for less than $10. The south of Hungary and the north of Croatia are emptier and older. We pass the rail yards at slug speed. They are populated, in the rain, with old fat freight cars looking like something out of star wars.
Like military intelligence, the living dead, found missing and Microsoft Works, the concept of an undiscovered Mediterranean Island is about as near to reality as Australia being the Clever Country.
To travel through the Balkans is to experience both its beauty and its heartbreak; the people are welcoming but beneath the surface are hundreds of years of brutality and genocide. All played out against a landscape as beautiful as any on earth.
There is no rest in Florence from the madding crowds....except choosing the right time of day and a 20 minute walk away from the city centre. Rules for the Idiot Traveller: anytime before 8 am is a good time to visit tourist spots and any place more than a kilometre from the key tourist attractions is a million miles from the madding crowd.
Somewhere in Corsica you will find the bodies. The poor fools that travelled up the Cap Corse without cash. Ostensibly we are in France a modern, 21st century nation. But not in Corsica. No you are in anti-France where the French are just more foreigners, credit cards are a yet to be discovered means of paying for things or, alternatively, a trick to be played on innocent Corsicans by tourists and the Italians (Genovese) were simply invaders that happened to hang around for a century or four.
"Putain, he is a pied noir, what can I expect. They are all machistes, they think the woman is their slave, like all men" Nadine stares at me for support. We have had several political discussions about such issues and the attitudes of the Pied Noir (white French from Algeria). Bernard, her husband, being a... Continue Reading →