Time has gone by, it is now time for me to leave this sweet country, not without a hint of sadness. Maxim drives me to the bus station. I hope to see him again one day.
“New departure. It’s difficult for me to find the words to describe what I feel in those moments. All of those people mattered, matter so much. After all, if goodbyes are difficult, it’s because the encounter has been meaningful; it’s positive, ultimately. My friends, you all mattered and I would like to find the words to tell you, I would like to be able to pay tribute to you. Yes, I see amazing places, but you make them beautiful. You are everything, you form my trip. Whether it’s for a few weeks, a conversation or even just a smile, you bring me so much, you make me grow. You remind me that the most important is to love. All the rest, all the problems of life, it’s all derisory. The place in my heart ready to install a profound, durable peace is slowly building itself. And if it makes a detour, you will always be there, as long as I accept to see you. So, in this bus taking me away from this small Bulgarian village where a beautiful soul has decided to establish a meditation center, my mind filled with a bittersweet sensation, I bow before you. My path continues, I hope that yours will be watched over by angels such as you.
But as usual, I barely have the time to look back on this wonderful experience that I must already think of getting to my next destination: Belgrade. I will spend a few days there before meeting up with my parents in Budapest. I thus have planned to take a night train from Sofia. I arrive in the beginning of the afternoon, and it doesn’t leave until 8.30 pm. I use this respite to study, write, communicate with my loved ones.
When the time comes to rejoin my train, big stress: the station is under construction and my plateform is nowhere to be found. I ask a police officer who’s walking by if he can show me the way, he smiles and asks me to follow him. It’s dark, the place is eerie, and the man guides me towards a part of the station that is further away from the main building. There is no one around; I know I have nothing to worry about, but I still don’t like these situations. But he gets me where I need to be and after looking for my carriage for quite some time, I enter this old train that seems to date back to the Soviet era and find my berth. I will have it all to myself, tonight.
Hey, sleeping in a train, that reminds me of not-so-old memories. But this one has an atmosphere much grimmer than the third class filled with life of the Transsiberian.
I will not sleep much, with the uncountable border controls that are waiting for me in the middle of the night. I end up arriving very early in the morning in the Serbian capital. I get a bit of local money that I exchange with euros and am surprised by the huge smile of the woman who hands me over the dinars; that was missing, in Sofia. However, once I get out of the station, I don’t feel at ease at these early hours; most people present must have not gone to bed yet, and I don’t like all the looks I’m being thrown at. I set out to walk the few kilometers that separate me from the hostel I booked. On the way, I notice the same thing as in Budapest; hundreds and hundreds of tents set up in a park destined to host refugees. It is impressive, but I am happy: I learned that Sebia has very conciling politics towards them, unline other neighbouring countries.
Once I arrive, thirty minutes later and completely exhausted, I fall asleep on the reception’s couch, not being able to access my bed yet. It is only a few hours later, after waking up and walking around that I can take possession of my dormitory and make the acquaintance of Carlos, a little Mexican man with whom I get on right away. We have the same stupid humour, so that’s good! I will explore the city by his side during the next few days. I also meet other really cool people, from Turkey, Australia, Spain… Ephemeral encounters, as usual, though not any less beautiful.
It is a very beautiful city, which even if it isn’t reputed for its beauty, has a lot of personality. I love it!
Something hits me here: there is still much resentment dating from the events that happened 15 years ago, during the Kosovo war.
And then, there are the buildings bombarded by NATO, that haven’t been touched since, and that are a daily reminder of the horrors of a war that has affected many civilians… as some monuments witness it.
One day, we crossed the Danube to join an old village that has now been devoured by the city.
Yeah, I guess I can really say devoured.
But once more again, I must leave my friends. Another night train is waiting for me. This time, the journey will be even less restful.
Carlos, thank you for making my stay so great! I miss you my crazy Mexican, I can’t wait to throw Swiss passports at you to wake you up again 😉