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The Hungarian plains almost in sight! (3/7/07)


I set off from Mesgori with the distinct feeling that I was now going 
downhill to the plains of Hungary. After over a month of the 
mountains, much of it spent with Mike Dillon who had come to film, I 
felt ready to finally exit my way down to what will be the last border 
crossing of this entire journey. If the carpathians were the last 
barrier between the Mongols and Europe, then the border with Hungary 
will be mine.

Moving early in the morning, resting in the heat of the day, and 
riding into late evening I rode for three days to the town of Polyana. 
The last night was spent by a river with the moon casting a soft light 
over the forest and Tigon snuggling close to my sleeping bag. I had 
the impression that someone was trying to tell me to enjoy the moment, 
as it would be the last quiet evening with my equine and canine family 
for some time.

I had been very worried about finding a place to stay with the horses 
on the border with Hungary, but in Polyana the answer came in the same 
mysterious way as it has always done- as if I were joining a big 
jigsaw puzzle from mongolia to Hungary and finally I had stumbled 
across the next fitting piece.

Through contacts with the horse centre in Nikolaiv, I rang a man 
called Igor Koftun who had at one stage been married to a Hungarian, 
and had himself many times taken horses across the Hungarian/Ukrainian 
border. Last Sunday Oksana -a young woman of my age and horse riding 
student of Koftun's- turned up in her Niva four wheel drive and put my 
worries to rest. She had a small horse stable in the mountains just 
60km from Hungary, and had just recently helped ship the Hungarian 
consulate's wife ship her horse across from Hungary! She said that I 
had nothing to worry about and that I didn't have far to go!

Last Monday I did one last hard day of riding through the village of 
Tyrya Polyana and up into cool  forest not far from the alpine 
pasture. Here Oksana has three horses, a huge pile of hay, greenery 
all around, no insects to bite or worry the animals, and a huge fenced 
in play yard for horses in the shade of beech and fir trees! Not only 
was there a beautiful horse stable, but a newly built log house for 
guests, a generator, and all of this only a short walk from a 
waterfall and the refreshing alpine plains!

Until yesterday I remained up there with the animals, sorting through 
plans, tending to the animals, writing, travelling to the high plans, 
and honestly just coming to terms with everything.  When watching the 
horses eat calmly in the shade I couldn't help but recall the 
oppressive heat of the Kazakhstan desert and how we had all toiled so 
much and so far, and this leafy green haven on the Hungarian side of 
the carpathians had been eternally out of reach. The workers at the 
house who I stayed with could really not comprehend what this meant to 
me, or what my horses had been through.

Tigon did get into a bit of trouble on Sunday though. Pasha, one of 
the workers at the base broughht his big Slovakian Shepherd dog up 
from the village and soon he and Tigon were in a scrap. Tigon came out 
of the fight with a slight ripped right ear, so I hope it will heal in 
time before the border crossing.

Yesterday I came out of the wilderness to Uszh Gorod on the border 
with Slovakia and Hungary. This marks mopre than 70 days since I set 
off from Kodima in April for this stage of the journey. Thismorning 
Oksana and I had a meeting with the head of the local veterinary 
customs department which was quite positive. Next week I will be 
heading across the border to Hungary without my horses to sort out 
logistics there with contacts. Then after taking blood samples to Kiev 
and tending to other paper matters, I might even be crossing the Tis 
river onto the Hungarian plains sooner than I think!

Anyway, fingers crossed. I am very grateful for Oksana's help, and her 
boss, Roma who owns the lodge and stables in the forest.

Next update will hopefully bring good news.



Latitude: 48° 30 Min. 22 Sec.

Longitude: 23° 30 Min. 34 Sec.

Click to see where Tim is on a detailed map.