“Suddenly you are 5 years old again. You can’t read anything, you have only the most rudimentary sense of how things work, you can’t even reliably cross a street without endangering your life. Your whole existence becomes a series of interesting guesses.” -Page 44 —> This is exactly how I felt upon arriving in Belgrade. Because all of the signs were in Cyrillic (but my map wasn’t), I was totally lost and overwhelmed. Literally walked in huge circles before I figured out the correct direction (and that to cross the street you had to go underground… so not intuitive).
“You could walk every street within its encircling canal in a day or so. I did just that and never once saw a street I wouldn’t want to live on, a pub I wouldn’t like to get to know, a view I wouldn’t wish to call my own. It was hard to accept that it was real — that people came home to these houses every night and shopped in these shops and walked their dogs on these streets and went through life thinking this was the way of the world.” -Page 77 —-> How I feel pretty much everywhere I go.
“It seemed odd and sad that mankind could for centuries have so effortlessly graced the landscape with structures that seemed made for it — little arched bridges and stone farm houses, churges, windmills, winding roads, hedgerows — and now appeared quite unable to do anything to the countryside that wasn’t like a slap in the face.” -Page 133 —-> Perfectly stated.
If you haven’t already, I highly recommend reading this book. I read it while backpacking solo and laughed out loud over several cups of coffee and on many a train ride. It’s just so good, and a perfect travel companion – especially if you’re embarking on a solo adventure or have done so in the past.