Yolda / Onderweg / En route

The gateway to a new life?

Steven VRWhen I wake up, the sun shines brightly through the light curtains and the wind howls outside. I decide to go for a somewhat sheltered spot on the terrace, with a cup of tea and a piece of chocolate, the sun on my face. I reflect on this dormant nervousness, so typical for a last day. Would the migrant of yesteryear have felt exactly that same way, realizing that he would take his last train to his final destination, the gateway to a new life? Or is it rather a part of the opposite direction, the way back home? The anticipated joy of coming home to something familiar, taking a seat and understanding the surrounding world again?

Anyway, domesticity speaks from the picobello covered breakfast table of Özge. Don’t dare to do something, anything. Sit and eat of the displayed charcuterie, tomatoes, cracked (!) walnuts, cheese, boiled eggs, strong tea with hot water to dilute.

groep 1 musicerendAfter breakfast Jonathan throws himself on the assembly. Kolay gelsin, “work it” I say, and bring him tea and savory biscuits. On the terrace the setlist of the artists is put together: great to hear them play! O, the pragmatics behind the artistic life. Afterwards, they rehearse and even though the sun is shining, I can’t help joining the dinner table to hear them while I work on my report. Afterwards we look for the landlady in order to find out some practical things: transportation to the station, internet (again :)), a dinner and a group picture for her site. During the consultation she presents us some pure artisan apple juice (delicious) and – of course- Pálenka. I digg that stuff.

Home delivery in styrofoam trays from a local restaurant: schnitzel, pork with mushrooms and roast with shimmering fat and lots of garlic. Not exactly sophisticated, but savory. We finish it all.

Due to circumstances it’s not possible to visit the abbey, the three men go for a stroll, through the fields, past the village. Highlights are the cool gas mask in the bushes, the setting sun, Wouter and his clouded relationship with dogs, the Chinese-run Supersoldi, pints in the local pub, the quasi wordless help from the grocer, Thomas’s suspiciousness about the alternative and steep road to the monastery, and a preview of Jonathan’s documentary (Wonderful! Go and watch it!).

We empty the refrigerator, Papa gives us a few jazz and world music CDs as a souvenir and with two full trucks we go to the station. In the car Wouter and I rampantly talk about the violin and Shostakovich’s first violin concerto, at the station I buy with my last florins a bottle of vodka.

10689854_10152838569616052_1362181302462969925_nBut who thought we could fraternize with our buddies from the other group didn’t bring into account the train conductor: “Bitte Leise”, he can’t show his head without reminding us. Stay in your cabin and sleep, that’s what you ought to be doing, “Dies ist ein Schlafzug.” The Nazi jokes and speculations about him still living with his mother and a missed schoolmaster career are easily made. In any case, it does not prevent us to get together in the coupe and go for a last bottle – “Why have you bought only one bottle, Steven?” A bad habit of mine .. Just like trying to go for a smoke between the wagons or on the platform, even though our broad shouldered friend is trying to block the road. When everything is finished, we dedicate ourselves to a good night’s sleep.

Text written by Steven Van Renterghem, occasional production assistant and tour guide