Archive for March, 2017

The journey from Prague to Budapest began in the darkness. Once more I chose to travel in the restaurant car with it’s wide windows offering views on both sides. Orange tinted clouds appeared on the horizon after an hour of staring into the darkness. The world slowly emerged swathed in soft white. Trees stood like ghostly sentinels. The landscape alternated between tiny villages, farmland and meadows lined with trees and thickly forested hillsides. Thick cloud cover tucked in the sun and mists swirled around but even in the gloom, autumn’s splendour could be detected. Occasionally a row of trees, stripped bare appeared by the tracks and reflected in pools of collected water. Smoke twirled out of the chimneys of little houses and though warm in my little corner, I yearned a little for their cosy hearths. The very air seemed to hold its breath as even the leaves were still. How precious this hour of morning, how holy, a world waking up to a new dawn, a new promise, new hopes. A world which seemed to be renewed and washed clean. 

The lazy sun has finally thrown off its bedclothes and dressed the earth in filtered tones. The golden hour of the morning is softer and its ethereal light permeating the landscape seems to purify it. A strange scene appears before me. Fields reaped and shorn of their offerings now lie under a low yellow cover. Trees almost bare but with some leaves still clinging in strange round clumps to the branches. A sight I have never seen before.
Autumn is my favourite season. I love its glorious hues. An autumnal landscape unfolding its treasures in the morning light is a rate treat. My mind dulled by little sleep of the past few days, yet refuses to turn away from the glories on display and take some much needed rest. The past few days have been a blur. Landing in a dull and cloudy Prague, then rushing off to Rome for a week, greedily attempting the impossible task of drinking in the eternal city in the great gulps while squeezing in a day exploring the beautiful coast of Cinque Terre. The early morning flight back to Prague, stopping just long enough to wash and iron clothes and pack again, the early morning train to Budapest. The tired mind goes of on strange fancies. Perhaps the clinging round clumps on the bare trees are not its leaves but nests built by some bird. What kind bird is it that drapes bare trees with the green leaves that nature deprived it of, in such an artistic way. 

The light outside is the same that artists have painted landscapes in. I always notice it in autumn. If I could paint or even photograph it I would but at 139 km/hr it is only possible to look and enjoy. 

We are in Hungary but we left the sun in Slovakia. Despite the dullness of the cloud cover the landscape is richer here with forested hills hugging the Danube. The range of shades and colours is greater here an indication of more variety of flora. 

Across the Slovakian town of Šturovo we could see the breath takng site of the Esztergom Baszilika. The train stops at Nagymoros-Viségrad a small, neatly laid out place with little houses on tree lined avenues besides the Danube. Across the river stands Visegrad Castle, atop a hill overlooking the bend in The Danube. Though in ruins it is still an imposing sight. We stop at Vac and then it is straight to Budapest and the end of the journey. Seven hours just flew by. 

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