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Journey to the East东游记|Week 4 Review第四周回顾

Week 3 review

Feb 15-Feb 21

This initiative is called Journey to the East, but in many respects I could also call it Journey away from the West. Last week, crossing the Balkan beyond Belgrade, I was particularly struck by the post-Cold War conditions, of countries seemingly unable to re-energize, as was promised by the West in decades of propaganda. Also, it became very clear that the West, triumphing and even for a while celebrating an “End of History”, did very little to improve lives of the many, besides consolidating a new power base of the few. European Union projects often are scattered across the landscape. The money should be there, but where is the labour to materialize them? Young people are hard to find, while older generations seem stuck in what pejoratively is called “Ostalgie”. So the West fades out while approaching Türkiye, but the East is not yet present? Not yet? I zoom in on the smaller, seemingly insignificant moments, a growing habit to greet each other. I realize that I raised my arm so many times, with the beginning of a smile in return. Since I start to feel more tired, lacking the adequate recovery time for leg power and ligaments, and get worried about some nagging injuries, the introduction of the cheerful greeting is very timely.


Feb 22

Belgrade, Serbia



in the loser's lane to Belgrade


Not only religious imagery changes while landing in the Christian orthodox paradigm, but also its architecture, becoming more glorifying, with less details referring to piety.


Feb 23

Belgrade, Serbia


Visited the Yugoslavia Museum, an incredible exhibition, respectful and critical, to cope with the life and legacy of Josip Broz Tito, who tried to develop a middle way between the blocs of East and West, co-established the Non-Aligned Movement, and for a while kept together a region of multi-identities forged by centuries of historical turmoil.


Feb 24

Banatska Palanka, Serbia



Saying goodbye to Belgrade after a rest day. A drizzle makes any equestrian statue a bit sad.


Less than 10 km out of Belgrade my Komoot navigation works well, for roads that hardly exist.


Feb 25

​Donji Milanovac, Serbia



​Early this journey I call the Rhine the Great Provider. Then the Danube may be called the great divider. I lost count how many countries are separated by it, but the desire to controle it, is very old. The Golubac fortress as a majestic sign of an unseemingly unchangeable fact of this river. 


Who could ever predict that what used to be one of the harshest borders in history, dividing two systems in one continent, is now a pittoresk Euro Velo Cycling Path: The Iron Curtain Trail.


The Further East, the smarter cases of re-use. City bus relaunched as beehive business district.


Feb 26

 Vidin, Bulgaria



My last few days in East Serbia were a serious blow to any life embracing energy. So much I saw is related to death. The Villages with no people but many barking dogs who came to chase me as if they want to teach me a final lesson. The many little road monuments of young traffic victims. The badly maintained roads, covered by eternal "temporary solutions" to hide potholes and worse, the microplastification of nature. But most intriguing, the vast cemeteries where clearly money has not been an issue, with giant gravestones even for people who haven't died yet. Graveyards more expensive than the nearby hamlest. What is life, when it is answered by such a death cult?


Feb 27

Bechet, Romania



I’m curious to know the supply chain for this shop, making a living for business addressing the countless domestic chores and the required tools to tackle them. I also wonder why, next to cooking food, this is such a typical Chinese enterprise.


Feb 28

Pleven, Bulgaria



Crossing the Danube one final time before hitting the mountainous roads of Bulgaria. 1 euro cash. Happy to find one in the midst of various currencies.


Battles, battles and more battles, Eastern Europe may have removed a few Socialist heroes, but their nationalist ones are all over.



Journey to be continued...

and to follow the Journey by





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