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Author: Katarina Novikova and Wiktor Trybus

Prides of the former socialist bloc

Under communism, the Romanian village of Vama Veche was a unique place of freedom, even if it was somewhat limited. It was a destination for students, artists and intellectuals, as well as a place of work for secret agents who were trying to monitor liberated minds. After the transformation the resort remained the “capital of Romania’s youth” and continues to be popular. Thus, as is often the case with such places, the natural desire to keep things as they were competes with the desire to make profit.

The train from Bucharest, which at this time of the year is heated by the sun, slowly makes its way towards the Black Sea. Outside the window, the landscape is quite monotonous – a vast and flawless flat area, which looks like it was run over by a gigantic bulldozer, is dusty and spreads out under the intensive blue sky. Endless sunflower and corn fields are only decorated with occasional poplar copses. From time to time the train passes a forgotten railway station located either beside a small depopulated town or near a post-communist industrial plant.

August 26, 2019 - Katarina Novikova and Wiktor Trybus

The land of the warm breeze

Behind the cellars we come across a billboard with a mosaic showing a map of today’s Hungary. Overlaid on it is the map of Hungary from before the Treaty of Trianon. Marked in blue on the map are “Hungarian rivers” – the Danube, Tisza, Mureș and Sava. This piece of patriotic art reminds everybody that this 1920 defeat hurts Hungarians until today.

The Polish city of Krosno was drenched in sunlight. For a few days the warm wind wafts from the mountain pass. That southern gale is characteristic of this part of the Subcarpathia, or podkarpackie in Polish. In the autumn the wind brings beautiful, warm weather. Scholars call it a tunnelling wind to distinguish it from the foehn wind, or halny as it is called in the Polish Tatra Mountains. The wind follows the path once used by military troops and trading caravans – the lowest part of the bend of the Carpathian Mountains in the Dukla Pass. Today, the pass is known as expressway S19, the road that once served as the route through which Hungarian wines were brought to Poland.

January 2, 2019 - Katarina Novikova and Wiktor Trybus

Seeking the ties that bind

One would not consider Slovakia and Georgia to have much in common. However, there are some common denominators worth exploring. A visit to both states brought some surprising results, defying our expectations.

October 4, 2017 - Katarina Novikova and Wiktor Trybus

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