Hello hello and hello,
So, bearder.com hasn’t been updated since July and since I last had something to talk about after our roadtrip to prison and back. However, I’m safely 1000+ miles from the UK, it’s Sunday, I have nothing to do and lots to write about. So, here goes…
My grand plan to sell 33 Gleblands Road, Headington to fund a year of studying, Paprikash and Dreher took a nose dive with the onset of the ‘housing crisis’ and, due to lack of funding my place on the ISES masters course was looking shakey. However, much like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac I also secured a financial rescue plan (form of my parents not the US government) and thanks to them I’ll be spending the forseeable future in Köszeg (pronounced Koos-zeg) in Hungary.
I finished work on Tuesday the 16th, had a traditional leaving dinner with Pete and Sarah in Compton before speeding off to Dover to stay with my old Wendleburian friends Mr, Mrs and baby Leonard.
Naturally, I almost missed the ferry in the morning (they had to balance me on the back after all the lorries were on) and I arrived on French soil at about 11am. From here it was Autobahn, BMW’s, Mercades and crazy break-neck speed driving all the way to Saalfaden in Austria. Despite some experience in stupidly long driving, I think this is a personal record for me as I didn1t get to Austria until midnight on Wednesday some 16 hours after leaving Pete’s. It’s also the first time I’ve been to Germany without attracting the attention of the German police.
So, with a little help from Jane (my tomtom voice) I made it to Austria for a night in the company of another old Wendleburian – Phil Hopkinson. Alas, we didn’t have much time for partying but it was still good to see him and checkout this pretty little Austrian town – snow capped mountains n’all.
Thursday afternoon and I was as happy as a Slovene in slippers and back in my favourite village, sorry ‘city’ – Ljublana. I only had a few day’s back in Slo so whilst it was great to see everyone (ok, almost everyone) I left on Sunday both happy to have been and dissapointed I couln’t stay. As soon as someone invents a away to be in two places at the same time – I’m doing it. Until then I’ll have to put up with these short teasers.
Ajda, Cece, Alenka et al provided true Slovene hospitality in Prule and it was great to see Jaimie, Christophe, my favourite Russian and everyone else who came to share a Lasko or two with me. I will, of course, be back soon for more of the same.
However, I can’t write about Sloveina without mentioning one thing though, and let’s be honest, I don’t often complain about this cheeky little place but – what the hell is this Vinegerrette bullshit all about? 35 Euros to drive on your motorways for one day!! Seriously. This is what frustratingly conservative and worryingly boring countries like Austria and Switzerland do. Slovenia is great exactly because it’s very much like but NOT Asutria and Switzerland. Sheesh. I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come or I’ll have to send the queen back for further talks….
Anyway, leaving Slo behind, I left on Sunday (with the expected hangover) and arrived (via Croatia and then Slovenia again) in Hungary on Sunday afternoon. I arrived in true Eddy style without any currency, food or directions but, a few expensive phone calls later and I was safe in my student dormitory complete with Hungarian high-school kids, a 12pm curfew and a Turkish neighbour called Engin.
Monday morning and I was back at School, well, in the loosest possible way as this week was orientation week and a chance to meet the staff, our Slokavian class mates (aka ‘the stinkies’) and lots of other nice Hungarians, ex students and future students. Nora the departing course co-ordinator has been a superstar helping us find a flat (12pm curefews are not for me) and the week ended with the offical course opening, the ‘night of the researchers’ and the Köszeg wine fistival.
I don’t know how but, I ended Friday dresseed up like a Turkish giene, drinking free Hungarian wine listening to medieval songs. Yes, it was a surreal experience.
So, all in all, it’s been a fun (if slightly crazy) few weeks but I’m here, the car is still running, I survived the Hungarian food and dancing and tomorrow we start school for real with a week of lectures on the Economics of European integration. If I survive this you can expect further news from Köszeg in the very near future.
PS, I sat down to watch a video lecture the other day and amazingly the guy was called Mr Wendel Berry!! Brilliant.