Tag Archives: Travel

Hello COpenhagen

ANd we’re nearly there! Halfway at least. We’re sitting in the ICE Hamburg –   Copenhagen. In the corridor since there seem not to be any places left on the train. We expected mainly activist on the train, but from the looks of it those are only a minority. Except if the 60 year old couples will turn out to be die hard activist. Who knows what they did in their golden days?
Well, let’s hope they are. Cause we will need every  voice in Copenhagen to be loud and visible. From the looks of it also Copenhagen will be a failure for the Climate. Our so-called leaders are seemingly not willing to live up to the promises they have been making for the past year. They are slowly backing out of an agreement to be reached here., moving it up to 2010. But we know that in politics postponement means that there will be no agreement or a very weak one.
And we (the people and the planet) need a strong agreement. We need to stop climate change. It’s simple. It’s as simple as the survival as we know it now.

And therefor we need to raise voices. In Copenhagen. But also in our home countries. We need to pressure our governments into the necessity of this agreement. We need to say loud and clearly that this is a matter of utmost importance. That we need a change in their behavior, not climate change


Helllo Austria?

And we’re in Vienna. Boarding the night train to Hamburg.
When we arrived in Budapest in the morning we took a 2 hour rest till the train to Vienna came as we were starving. And of course it was nice to sit around and take in the beauty of the train station of Budapest Keleti.
After we got ripped off in an exchange shop (Hungarian Florints are a bitch) we took off to Vienna. Ass the plan was to start hitch hiking from Vienna onwards we already started planning in the train. We needed carton to write our destinations on and we needed to find the place where, we found through the internet, was the easiest to hitch a ride to Germany and then Denmark.
Easiest? My Arse!
We stood 4 hours in the freezing cold. Waving at cars. SMiling the crap out of ourselves. Doing some crazy dances to keep warm. Begging out-loud in the hope a driver would hear them. And nothing.
Nobody stopped. Well, somebody actually stopped but that was to taek with another hitch hiker who arrived later than us.
We didn’t get a ride. But by god we can say we got spit upon. From a car that was passing a guy got his head out and frankly spit upon the cardboard Esra was holding. Thank you Austria for you hospitality! See you next time!
We’ll just take the train to Hamburg and proceed from there!

Yo! Copenhagen! We’re coming!

Here we go again. We’re off to Copenhagen. Off to the COP15. The plan is to travel by train from Istanbul to Bucharest. From there to Budapest and then to Vienna and then to hitch hike to Copenhagen.

When I’m writing this we’re already on the night train to Budapest and it’s past midnight. We actually survived the 22 hour train ride from Istanbul to Bucharest and those hideous passport controls. Having a Belgian Passport indeed has its benefits. No visa trouble at all. The obnoxious border patrols asking over and over for my supposedly Turkish Passport witch according to them I should have when they see my name are just a minor trouble. More mental than actually physical.
For Esra, whom I’m traveling to Copenhagen with this is the first time she has actually left Turkey. Since she has a green passport it makes things with visa’s easier. She only had to apply for a transit visa for Bulgaria. But still.
We could see the suspicion in the eyes of those border guards. Why was this Turkish Girl traveling with this supposedly Belgian boy.
Additional questions were almost always asked. Like it was actually any of their business. But we complied. We wanted to get through in the end.
We wanted to reach Copenhagen before we got anything close to getting arrested or send back.

This of course doesn’t make this damned fortress Europe any better. Nor anything else that deprives us from the freedom of movement.

But these borders and visa shit make it nearly impossible to go to a climate conference in Copenhagen from Istanbul. Many other activists are taking the plane as they would loose too much time and money visiting consulates and begging for transit visa’s. You can say that it is not green or even mind-bobbling to fly to such an event, but as a privileged Westerner with a EU passport I really do not feel just to cast judgement upon that. Not everything is that black or white.

Of course I was kinda freaked out when a journalist from the Turkish newspaper Radikal called and told that we were most probably the only ones going by train from Turkey. You simply never would like to be one of the only ones doing something that crazy. But his first question after that was rather interesting. He asked why we wanted to go by train. As he really did not understand the reason behind it. But why not go by train? Isn’t it the most environmental manner to travel? Next to Hitch hiking?
To some it seems nearly an injustice not to use our advanced technology when traveling. They would nearly take it as an insult to travel by transport that is time consuming. But we’d rather do that then as it is less energy consuming and certainly less damaging to our climate.

Disko Boy

CDN Summer Camp 2009


I have to admit it; it was nuts. Thirty-five hours on a fucking bus. It was nuts. And that was only the way there. It took us another 34 hours to get back to Istanbul. Nuts, I say.

Being dropped kilometers before the Georgian border whilst you had bought your ticket to Batumi. A Laz taxi driver who told the story of the Iron Curtain and his people’s separation by it. Children begging for their life at the Batumi bus station. The matroeska between Batumi and Tiblisi breaking down.

Stressful to say the least. But then there they were. Ten days in Georgia. First and Executive Committee Meeting and then the CDNEE summer camp.

The CDNEE summer camp as such is every year a great experience. Only the pretext of having so many countries assembled and being able to experience so many personalities is already a big hurray. But considering it was a summer camp with the big topic of ‘Green Values’ it was worth a Mexican wave. Seven days long we discussed in workshops on gender, non-violence, democracy, anti-militarism, human rights, etc..As if we couldn’t get enough from discussing we would also continue during the evening and nights sitting under the stars in the middle of nowhere and drinking some cheap Ukrainian vodka mixed with sprite. Emotional discussions. Rational discussions. Content wise discussions. Pragmatical discussions. We had them all. Even discusssions on whether or not playing a killing game was ‘responsible’. And it was great. F*cking great even.

I might have to forget how sick iIl was during 8 out of 10 days, how i couldn’t keep in food, how the toilet bowl was my best friend or how i got easily annoyed by the differences between EU and non EU countries. But still it was great.

And then the busride back to Istanbul. After that I’m quite sure I will never ever set a foot again in a long distance bus. NO way. No No Never. F*ck no. From the women with magical expanding powers to the unfriendly and sexist bus driver till the bloody aircirculationthingy that didn’t work and no sleep for 34 hours, I’ve had it with buses.

And then we touch the ground

Like always I was too nervous to actually fall asleep and take upon those brief hours in bed to rest. But no, the adrenaline of leaving for Turkey wouldn’t let me sleep.  So therefor I kept unpacking, repacking all night long. Finally deciding to leave a few books and a whole suitcase behind. It just felt too much like a capitalist move  rather than something essential to ones self growth. In the end I still managed to stuff 35 kilos in my luggage witch made some eyebrows twitch behind the check-in counter. But thankfully my innocent and angel like smile can solve any problem possible.

Flying is as such always an adventure. Firstly because I have a very strong dislike against being put in such small boxes without the ability to move, but foremost because of the stressed people you can find on airports. It says something about the nature of people who are already stressed out whilst they are using the transport that will bring them in the fastest manner to their destination. This behavior is as much disturbing as it sounds when the fact is that those people are leaving on holidays. Holidays they will most probably spend with their arse on a beach and cocktail in their hand. Capitalist society has indeed its negative connotations 😉

But this time it didn’t disturb me that much since I was leaving for Turkey. What bothered me a bit was the security measures that I always have to endure as a person with a Turkish name and a Belgian Passport. In Budapest I was questioned during half an hour how this fact would be possible. I distinctly got the feeling they were at the point of thinking that I was a terrorist with a fake passport. This whilst the Belgian Passport is, since a few years, an item that can not be easily be forged. But well, xenophobia and racism are on the rise in Hungary so there should be some kind of explanation for this behavior. And at the same time I shouldn’t complain much since the people with a Turkish passport have more difficulties coming to the EU than I have going to Turkey.
I was already happy not to be spending that much time in Budapest as it was soon time to board that plane in direction of Istanbul Atatürk Airport.

A smile emerged after landing and putting my first steps on the concrete. It was turkish concrete stupid.

But that smile was quickly put to rest when I passed yet again passport control. As always this boot was manned with a very unfriendly person witch as always asked me where my Turksih passport was and gave me a very judging look when i responded that that was not a doom i wanted to hail upon myself. It left me wondering why this turkish identity/ nationality mattered so much  both for me but also for the turkish autorities. Probably a wondering that will come back in those next two months. Happily there is a duty free shop for the arrivals on the airport where i stocked up on raki and gauloises. Thnak the lord for that.
After a demonic busride through Istanbul the contors of Taksim square made me even smile more as it was utter happiness that emerged in my brain. Taksim square has a such an influence on me as it is questionable symbol of turkeys history, present and future. Questionable since everything in turkeys history, present time and future is questionable as far as it goes. But it made me feel like i’ve come home for once.

Midnight Train

Brussels proved too much for the man
So he's leavin' the life he's come to know
He said he's goin' back to find what's left of his world
The world he left behind not so long ago

He's leavin' on that midnight train to Istanbul
Said he's goin' back to find the simpler place and time
I'll be with him on that midnight train to Istnabul
I'd rather live in his world than live without him in mine

He kept dreamin' that someday he'd be a star
But he sho' found out the hard way that dreams don't always come true
So he's pawned all his hopes and he even sold his own car
Bought a one-way ticket back to the life he once knew

Said he's leavin' on that midnight train to Istanbul
Said he's goin' back to find the simpler place and time
I'm gonna be with him on that midnight train to Georgia
I'd rather live in his world than live without him in mine

Oh he's leavin' on the midnight train to Istanbul
Said he's goin' back to find the simpler place and time
I've got to be with him on that midnight train to Istanbul
I'd rather live in his world than live without him in mine

All aboard, all aboard, all aboard
On the midnight train to Istanbul
I got to go
I got to go
I got to go