It has been very hot here in Eastern Europe which has flattened my energy. I’m therefore thinking of doing this tour in April 2017 rather than in the summer. I’m told that wouldn’t be a problem.

The big news here is migrash catastrof (sp?) migrants-refugees catastrophe (Hungarian from the taxi driver who was furious about it.) When I passed through the main station in Budapest earlier this morning it was apparent the number of refugees had doubled. There were serious demonstrations yesterday that closed train stations and delayed trains. I was lucky to have Nora to advise me so that I have had no problems.

There are police everywhere at the stations with their riot helmets hanging from their belts but they don’t seem tense. It’s hard for me to tell if it’s the Hungarians rioting or the refugees. What I saw last week was the refugees but they seemed to be cheering on their new-found leaders rather then being angry. I don’t think it was the same yesterday.

Hungarians are very angry that the refugees are stuck in their country and they have to provide for them. They are given free train tickets to Germany but the surrounding countries won’t let them pass through. I just passed through a minor station with yet another bunch of refugees surrounded in even greater numbers by police. Yet I got the impression the police were there to protect the refugees as much as to prevent them just taking off into the fields. Some Muslim women and their children were quite heavily escorted to toilets that had been set up for them.

Of course the press is here in force, interviewing – probably politicians or talking heads.

Nora believes the government is making more of it than they need to, to distract people from the economic and social problems in the country.

Funny – when my taxi driver heard I was from Canada his immediate response was “Ah, Trudeau!” And he didn’t mean Justin 🙂

His father made a huge impact: No one has heard of Stephen Harper.

Back in Miskolc, the European Union has paid for a new and beautiful tram system, restoring the opera house and rebuilding a castle. They are all impressive and while I do wonder at such expenditures it is evident that it is restoring cultural pride which is so necessary after communism. Who am I to judge? But I’m constantly seeing the refugees …

Budapest to Sofia: Well, Budapest to Belgrade was a lovely train trip – except that it was an hour and half late. Nothing unusual about that, but a bit worrisome when I had an overnight train connection, but it all worked out.