Europe 1987

Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan 2018

Europe 1987

Today’s 230 kilometre drive south from Miskolc to Gyula was one of the less scenic drives of the trip, largely covering flat, rural areas with abundant, extensive agriculture stretching across the board plains.

Before we left Miskolc, we stopped for a while on Avas, an elevated volcanic hill on the southern outskirts of the city that is Miskolc’s highest point.  In addition to a lovely panorama over Miskolc, the area provided one of the clearest, and newest, examples I had seen of socialist urban planning following the Soviet model of rayons (district centres that supply low frequency goods to residents of a fairly extensive area) and mikrorayons (local neighbourhood centres that supplied everyday needs within walking distance of high-rise blocks of flats).  Being an area of new construction, there was very little vegetation growth, so the patterns were very clear to see, especially along Szentgyörgy Road.  Despite the barren nature of the new development, the grey concrete structures actually bordered on looking quite attractive in the morning light.

Much of the drive was across the huge flat expanse of the Great Hungarian Plain, so we just made one brief stop in the town of Mezótúr to stretch our legs in a park in the town centre.

As we approached Gyula, there was a curious mix of age-old horse-and-cart transport of harvested wheat with active large-scale, capital-intensive harvesting of wheat with huge combine harvesters.  It was beautifully lit in the afternoon sun; very photogenic (if you like mechanised wheat harvesting, that is).

We found our student accommodation at Városház u.13 in Gyula with very little difficulty.  It was very basic, being an old run-down U-shaped building around a deteriorating concrete and grass courtyard.  The “fun” started as we tried to communicate that we had a reservation (made through YHA) for a family room.  We finally managed to work everything out – our needs and theirs – with extravagant use of smiles and hand signals.

Despite the alarming external appearance, the room itself was large and airy, and there was a children’s play area in the courtyard which Liesl, Phillip and Tim all loved.  In a separate building there was also a good shower, which we needed, as well as clothes washing facilities.

Being a border city, I needed to obtain a necessary stamp approving our stay from the local police; that was another time-consuming experience that gave me just a little insight into the everyday life of Hungarian people.


Day 17

Miskolc to Gyula

Wednesday 29 July 1987