The train was driving along the very edge of a multi-dimensional cliff, followed by the horizon of completely even fields (I still can not understand why I had to build the railway in the mountains on the edge of the plain). After looking out the window, I sometimes fell into a state of strange division: it seemed that you were at the same time in the train and lowly flying plane. To Athens – the ultimate goal of my journey – there was a half or two hours drive.
And all this began like. From time to time me – "free mathematics" From St. Petersburg – the proposals from my foreign colleagues are approximately such: "We managed to get some money, and we could take you a week. We pay for the hotel, and another annual amount will be issued to you". This time, the offer proceeded from my Athenian colleague, and the above-mentioned Anna amount was $ 210.
The offer looked very tempting: I have not been in Greece yet. I had to do settlements: Greek visa – $ 45 plus a trip to Moscow. The remaining money on the road is clearly lacking (so it seemed to me – now I would have fallen freely and at a smaller amount). My encroachment on the family budget was categorically rejected, and I had to look for alternative sources of road expenses. However, I did not need a lot: once, in the period of becoming a free mathematician, I was so-called "free traveler" and has accumulated rich experience of movements for maximum distances with minimal cost.
As a result, the following route was noted: St. Petersburg – Kaliningrad – Gdansk – Budapest – Romania – Bulgaria – Athens. In Gdansk, I agreed to read the lecture in the local "Scientific partnership" (something like society "Knowledge") for which I was given about $ 25, and I received the same as a lecture at the University of Budapest. According to my calculations, it should have covered the road expenses from Kaliningrad to the Bulgarian-Greek border.
So, styling a Greek visa in a passport and invitations in Gdansk and Budapest, in one fine May day I left St. Petersburg by the Kaliningrad train. Arriving in Kaliningrad, immediately headed for the bus station, where did the bus to Gdansk walk from a couple of hours.
The main part of the bus passengers was "Chelovela" – Russian and Polish. They were brought to Poland an incredible amount of vodka and cigarettes: there prices for these goods twice three times higher than Russian. They requested unscrewed goods of passengers about the assistance, and soon two elderly, but very energetic Pani uploaded me. I always go towards such requests: they don’t give too much, everything is within normal, so why not to make people a good deed?
Shubles these run between Poland and Russia daily. Russian citizens to enter Poland are enough to have a voucher (which can be bought directly on the bus station), the same is necessary for the poles to enter Russia. I did not buy a voucher voucher: my budget was very rigidly planned, besides, I had an official invitation in English with the seal of the Gdansk scientific partnership.
Forty minutes after sending the bus, we were already on the border. Russian customs was surprisingly fast, and soon we stopped at the border gearbox. The bus entered the impressive size of the Lady in the form of the ensign of the border troops of the Russian Federation, and headed along the passage, methodically looking at the vouchers and putting stamps in the passport. Reached me. Instead of voucher, I handed her invitation to her (written, remind, in English). The latter circumstance led her to irritation, and she stated that he could not release me, because he does not understand English. My timid mutations about the exit law were supplied with decisive "What?!". The situation was positive: it could not fall out of the bus too: in this case, I would have been near the State party, where the leg of a simple Russian citizen step is strictly prohibited.
And here the aid came to the rescue of me. Towing a pack of pure vouchers from her immense bag, they gave me one of them, and I inscribed my name there. Everything. Left from Russia. The bus includes Polish "Guard Border", gradually approaching, takes my Gdansk invitation, and. – "JA PO ANGELSKU NIE ROZUMIEM. Prosze O Wauczer!" Well, let’s get out of his incorporated voucher, I give him, and I hear: – You at least looked, where you enter your surname? Honestly answer: no, did not look.
It turned out that it was a voucher for the Poles, and there was printed: "Destination – Kaliningrad". I had to shower an officer with verbal and paper husks: continuously speaking in Polish about his long-time and durable connections with his country, I got a folder with all invitations, a rustle pages of a passport with multi-colored visas. After 2-3 minutes, the opponent resistance was broken: putting a stamp into the passport, he retired.
In Gdansk, I managed with all the cases in a couple of days, and, sowing for a night train, by morning I was already at the Zvardon station, near the border with Slovakia. Place this is not by chance for crossing the border: there are two transitions there are nearby – rail and automotive. It is very important because. However, you should notice the events. So, I buy for $ 1 ticket to the nearest Slovak station called Scallet and inhibit the train. Two solid pans are going – Slovak border guards – and the majestically declare: "Kontrol Pasou!". Reaches a queue and before me. Again repeats familiar scene.
I have been converted many times to cross Czechoslovak (and then Czech, and Slovak) borders, and each time the picture was approximately the same. At the sight of mine "Read-envy" Persons reading instantly acquire a contempt, arrogant expression, they immediately go to "you" And strongly declare that it is impossible to me here. Naturally, without explaining the reasons. Then, however, it turns out that it is still possible, but in order of exception and the last time. In trying to find some reasonable explanations for this phenomenon, I came to the conclusion that the case in the genetic antipathy I can’t call. Indeed, people are working there elderly, brought up in Soviet times. And here it is clearly "Not our person" – It claims that he is a professor of mathematics, and he goes through the borders on foot!
However, in this case, they really made the only exception in all my practice and did not let me. Landed.
The train went away, and I had to pass a ticket. I tried to find out the reason that I was stated that "The concept of transit through Slovakia does not exist". On my question "But how traveling train Moscow – Bratislava – Vienna?" Border guards answered: "Go to the Ukrainian-Slovak border and find out there, and here we will not let you!".
As I mentioned, the unbalance was autofile. But I was so demoralized that I really decided to go through Ukraine (and this is a 500-kilometer hook.) However, no buses nor trains in the direction I needed in the near future. I decided to go hitchhiking.
In the first stopped car sat two young Poles, who were driving. in Slovakia. For vodka: she is cheaper. I decided that this is fate. Oddly enough so it turned out. For some reason, in such a company, I was quite loose in Slovakia: In this transition, the concept of transit existed.
Further everything was the case of technology. Understanding that in the Slovak village, the scalin is unlikely to have a currency exchange office, a small number of crowns I purchased ahead, in Poland. Without problems Driving Slovakia from north to south on trains (tasting the wonderful Slovak beer on the road), about 6 am the next day I was already at the Hungarian border.
At the small border crossing Parasampusht border guards from the Hungarian side, no language, except for his native Magyarsky, did not owners. I squeezaned something like that of myself in Hungarian out of myself: "Mathematics Professor Ya. Petersburg-from Budapest-University-in to go. Greece visa. Greece-in riding. thanks!". In response, they tried to ask something three times, but I did not understand anything (or did not want to understand. ) And only said: "Passport – Thank you!". In the end, they did the entrance stamp doomed to me, and I went to the nearest railway station, which was 3-4 kilometers from the border. And there was such beauty around.
The road was held along the Mountain Arrays of Grozn (I note that the mountain massif in Hungary is determined in proportion to the size of the country). Early spring morning. The birds sing and the frogs are pouring loudly: it seems that there was some kind of frogs of the reserve, since the first road sign I saw was "Caution, frogs!". The picture was slightly overwhelmed by two circumstances: first, the light rain was drizzled, and secondly, the drivers of passing cars were smoothly ignored my desire to make them a company. So I got to the station slightly.
Soon I have already arrived in Budapest. The next day I had a lecture at the university, and in the evening of the same day I went on. In the unknown, as neither in Romania, nor in Bulgaria, I did not have to go before.
Early in the morning I was already driving up to the Hungarian-Romanian border on a small train of three red trains. Outside the window was a pastoral picture: neat well-groomed fields, bunnies run, stand pure houses. Around quiet and dear. So everything looked up to the most Romanian border, which I was traditionally for the sake of savings went on foot (to drive these 4 km on the train costs 12 DM).
It cost me to go out for the barrier of the Romanian customs, as the picture is unrecognizable. Broken dusty road kicked into the land of the tractor in the fields. The crowd of Gypsies came immediately, changed other audience with a variety of suggestions: buy, sell, submit and t. NS., – which I am friendly, but resolutely rejected. It was necessary to somehow get to the city of Arad – about 50 km: there was a trunk railway. It was 3 km to the nearest station, but the train on Arad was only after 6 hours, and I decided to take advantage of the services of the hitchhiquule.
Stopped Audi with Austrian number. I was very happy with this little piece of Europe – sat down and began to complain about bad German to the driver, how badly. However, I soon noticed that the driver answers me somehow the nefple and, that is the strangest, on the same bad German. It turned out that this is not an Austrian, but a candorous local resident. Having giving a tribute to Romanian (even the worst, perhaps than German), which, besides, by the end of each phrase smoothly transformed into Italian. For such a cute conversation, we drove to Arad. The wonderful town, only very dusty, and drunk to noon you could meet at every step. The reason for this phenomenon was the economic crisis: almost all enterprises stopped in the city. As a result, half of the workers participated in the permanent citywide strike, and the other half simply washed. Among other things, urban transport in Arad works only in Morning and evening hours "peak", so I had to walk before the station.
Now it was necessary to decide, in what place to cross the border with Bulgaria. I have chosen the shortest route: by train to Calafa, it is on the shore of the Danube, where three countries are converged, – Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania, and then on the ferry-"Feribot" Through the Danube in the Bulgarian city of Vidin. In the morning of the next day I was already standing in the crowd of Romanian traders waiting for landings on Feribot.
On the bank of the Danube is something like "free economic zone". This is a kilometer bar between the shore and the checkpoint, where there are shops and a small bazaar. There were three hefty gentlemen with a very fierce species and collected from each twenter to the Bulgarian land for 2 dollars. I waited until the crowd goes, and categorically refused to pay tribute, saying that I was not a merchant, but a transit traveler. Gentlemen reacted to my explanations favorably and did not take anything.
Complete to the checkpoint, I presented a passport officer. He told me that transit through Bulgaria is possible if I have at least 80 dollars. I have only 28 of them by that time.
Hung a meaningful pause, and both we understood that he would still miss me. To help him, I explained in detail (in truth to say, not worrying about the truth of what I say), as I will deliver to Athens for $ 26, not more expensive. It was quite arranged.
Bulgaria! Vidin is a small cozy town: cheerful, beautiful, elegant, on every step something delicious is sold. But I already had very little time: the next day I was waiting for me in Athens. Come on the railway station, I found out that I managed to get to the Greek border today. While I figured out all this, Romanians approached, who discovered me on "Feribot". It was necessary to explain to them (in Romanian!) how to get to Sofia, and how much it will cost. They understood only in Romanian and Cyrillic did not know. It should be noted that this phenomenon is completely general. I have already repeatedly convinced that conversations about what’s in the former "fraternal countries" all at least a little, but they understand Russian, do not have no soil. And old, as they say, and young – they speak only in their own language (of course, this applies not to the university community, but to the middle passenger of the local train). Yes, nothing in this amazing and no – try to ask something in English in the morning train Cockup – Vladimir.
About eleven in the evening I finally drove to the last Bulgarian station Kulata. Warm, very dark, some birds rude in the bushes. However, it was quite easy to distribute the auto receipt: three hundred meters on a path among barbed bushes, a kilometer on the vehicles, and I am in place. The last border was passed without any problems. There was the first hour of the night, and public transport no longer walked (however, it turned out soon, it did not depend on the day: besides a taxi, there is nothing there). I was in complete stunt, and I had to appeal to the old good hitchhiking, although the time for him was, of course, very unsuccessful.
Half an hour had to stand with outstretched hand. Finally stopped a small truck. On the terrible Greek, I ask him to take me with you and suddenly hear in response: "Let’s better in Russian". It turned out that this Pontic Greek. He used to live in Sukhumi, and now he lives in Sercez, is 80 km from the border – and owns several confectionery. To Serresa, this kind person and brought me. And there was a railway station. The train to Athens walked two hours later, I managed to come there for a dinner, and money for a ticket was just enough. It was possible to relax.
But it was not there. It turned out that my cherished twenty dollars neither at the station nor in the nearest nightly eaters do not need anyone: everyone sent me to the hotel so that I exchange them on drachmas. To the train remained for an hour, and Serres – the town is not small at all. I had to make a night cross in the city, at the same time exercised in conversational Greek (for some reason at night in Greece, everything is uncompanied in English). And yet I managed! Came rang ten minutes before the train, I bought a ticket, I found my car and immediately fell asleep.
When I woke up, the train was driving along the very edge of the multi-dimensional cliff, followed by the horizon of perfectly smooth fields.
Material sent to the competition announced among readers "I" In the room 13.