Saturday, September 01, 2007

Some personal remembrances from lives past

In ancient days I traveled thru a country that has ceased to exist. It was an exotic, multi-ethnic land of peaceful people and travel demons who liked the fresh taste of my thin skin. This mythical land was known as Yugoslavia. Now all that is left are the shattered pieces of its myths lying in the arid earth east of the Adriatic. In coming days I will post some trinkets I collected as I passed thru, on my way to another mythic land, the Ottoman Empire. BTW, you can find the complete set of trinkets on my website, in the Reading Room, in the bookcase marked Ottoman Beachcombing.

Sometimes, moving fast is the only way to stop feeling lost. You outrun it.
I'm going as fast as I can go. As the scenery around me keeps changing, a delusive thought swirls: "I must be getting closer to where I want to be." But that place is always one town out of reach. There is a demon chasing me, or a siren singing, imploring. I have to keep running. The dirt road is shaking this bus to pieces, but it only lulls me. I must be losing that demon in the dust. I must be getting closer!
I am headed for Kraljevo (crawl-YAY-vo), three hours out of Beograd, due south. I imagine it to be quaint, simple, untouched, with plenty of cheap hotels. I'll lay over for a night, catch my breath, and then hop a bus to Pec (rhymes with wretch). Pec is a village 20 kms. from Albania, in the Mokra Gora Mountains, and I'm sure the sirens are singing from there. I passed through it in 1970 on motorcycle and I don't remember the first thing about it. I was running to Afghanistan then, and Pec was nothing more than a dot on a map to me. But since then it has been intruding into my fantasies. So I did some research, read some history, discovered some pictures. It's architecture has been untouched for hundreds of years. Deep gorges, waterfalls, forests, and mountains sculpt its landscape. A medieval Serbian monastery broods just outside the town. Sirens are definitely singing there....

No comments: