- To Waiheke, Auckland
- To Kadikoy, Istanbul
- To anywhere on the Balaton, Hungary
- To Staten Island, New York
- To Hvar, Croatia
- To Waiheke, Auckland
Mukky concurred, what a small city it is. Part of its charm though, any bigger and it would lose all. Just another European capital. The walk from the train station wasn’t long, even with their packs, and Mukky’s small legs. In the space of 15 minutes they’d gone from north to south, through the centre following the Ljubljanica, even passing the infamous Triple Bridge, oh what sites that has seen! Past the university and the Francoski Institute, all while being watched by the Castle.
Reaching their accommodations with such a surprisingly short walk was a pleasant end to their long journey from Dalmatia. It was now time to relax at the Sax Pub, in Europe’s smallest capital, that of Slovenia.
They had a special treat planned for Mukky too, a little trip to a lake; you see Mukky had been struggling with so much sea water lately. While he found the salty sensation was growing on him, he was really missing his fresh water, the stillness of it, the way it lets you sink. He really can’t understand how the moon can effect it, making it moving up and down the beach; how salt helps you float. Seriously, how does it work? He would ask on a daily basis. A lake is so much simpler.
So the boys had planned a trip to little Lake Bled, with it’s odd island in the middle and perfectly places lakeside benches. Mukky had no idea what was going on, let alone that it would involve a row boat, mountain bikes, wrist bands, and a cliff top castle…
It began as he overheard the couple at the far end of the car. They didn’t sound angry, but stressed rather. Arguing with each other; mutually frustrated. It had been going on for a while now, and Mukky wished he could keep listening. The problem was they were talking in a language he could not understand.
It wasn’t a long train they were on, only a few hours from the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo to the Croatian coast. They had set off early, the air cool and not yet humid, but as they went through Mostar the temperature was on the rise. Roaring into the high 30s it was matched only by Mukky’s rising fear of boredom. The monotony of trains was a common experience now, and the dance was well rehearsed.
He began with the couple at the far end of the car, unable to understand their conversation he speculated as to the topic. First he thought maybe it was about their travel plans, had something gone wrong? No that’s too simple, and they’re locals, it can’t be the train. The next guess had to do with their destination. Who were they visiting? They were clearly a couple, what with all the comfortable touching, so were they visiting one of their relatives, and the other wasn’t all that happy about it? Was it her grandfather, the head of the family, and the one person who didn’t accept how they met? That’s got to be it, surely. Just look at them, he’s all twitchy, uncomfortable in his seat while she slouches, exasperated at times. He’s nervous while she just wants it to be over…. Mukky is a poor judge of these sorts of things.
Tired of that game Mukky looked outside, curious of the Bosnian landscape. Mountainous, the views are quite spectacular. It’s hazy as the sun tries to break through. Sarajevo is at some altitude, and as they descend towards the coast they follow a river. They twist and snake around the mountains, the valley widening as they get closer to sea level. Mukky notices the strong Muslim influence over the area, even outside the city, each village with at least 1 mosque, the minarets standing tall. They’re a beautiful sight, the villages. Perched on the sides of hills and on the river banks they are sleepy, peaceful now. The slow train is perfect for soaking it up, filling Mukky with a beautiful sense of contentment.
As the countryside passes by Mukky’s mind begins to drift into dreamer mode, for Mukky loves to romanticize. The present, the past, it doesn’t really matter to him. He just loves to dream. It keeps his mind occupied. The sad thing is these reveries are not very exciting, instead rather naïve internal ramblings. They usually end with some grand plan being formed of how he can keep travelling, how his little adventure will never end. Surely he can start a bar in Belgrade, or he could be a tour guide in Siofok, it’s easy right? This time he convinces himself there will be that golden opportunity in Croatia, he doesn’t know what it will be but it will jump right out as soon as he sees it. Sometimes he forgets he’s just a duck.
They were out of the mountains now, the land evidently drier and the river wider. Close to the coast the air was salty. Excited they started to gather their packs and get ready, for they had a new country to explore and another culture to navigate.
Thank God hvala still means thanks they both thought.
Black Tower: Hey buddy, how’s it going?
White Tower: Good thanks, haven’t talked much lately huh?
BT: Yea I know, been a bit busy you know. Thought I saw some people last week, thought I should keep my concentration up.
WT: Oh yea definitely, those Turks will be back some day, for sure!
BT: You know it….
WT: Hey when did that stupid Brasov sign get there, hate having to stare at it.
BT: I couple weeks ago I think. I like it, reminds me what I’m fighting for. You know?
WT: I’ve got to disagree; it looks like they tried to copy something. As if another city did it before.
BT: Maybe….. I still like it.
WT: (Muffled) Idiot.
WT: You know I get such a better view than you, being A LOT taller and all.
BT: No you don’t, shut up! I see soooo much more up the valley than you. It’s better being lower down, I can see the town’s folk more, really see how they’re feeling.
WT: You’re not even Black, while do they call you that. You should be Smaller White Tower or Second but Smaller White Tower.
BT: Now you’re just being a dick. You should be Fat and Unusually Tall White Tower.
Black Church: Holy shit! Would you both be quiet! Stop bickering! At least neither of you has to live centuries with third degree burns! I mean how hard would it be for me to get some Aloe oil or something?!
WT and BT: Wow. Cool it bro.
Black Church sighs.