pondelok 5. marca 2018


The message about Palestinian farmer shot dead by Israeli soldiers appeared in news yesterday. No big fuss around, just a message that it happened. He was walking toward a forbidden border of Gaza strip. Who drew this border? No one cares.

It is exactly two months since we have visited Israel and Palestine. Just so, cause we were curious. And the tickets have not been so expensive either. We have arrived in Tel Aviv on 29th of December. First person we have talked to, was an officer behind the check of window, asking us some senseless questions. After she welcomed us in Israel, we obtained a little paper card, remaining me of an ID carbon copy. We had not known the value of it yet, however this little paper made us freer than some locals.

We were supposed to spend our first two days in Bethlehem, with a family we found on AIRBNB. There was no information about buses driving there on the airport. I went to the info-office. “How can I help you?” Smiling young man behind the desk seemed to be the right one. “We need to get to Bethlehem. Is there any bus?” My question froze the smile on his face a bit. “I do not know” He admitted. He started to chat with his colleague, in Hebrew of course. Finally, he wrote me some numbers and times on a piece of paper. “These buses go to Jerusalem. There should be something from there.”
It was Friday afternoon. We were hungry, but everything was about to close. “Shabbath starts. Try Arabic quarter.” One black man (definitely not looking like a Jew) advised us while sharing his pancakes in front of a closing restaurant.

There was more life in front of Damascus gate. There were huge groups of Jews, walking toward synagogue fort evening prayer (I suppose, they did not let us in), tourists, trying to take some last photos before the dusk, Christian part looking still so christmassy with all those decorations and arab markets were full of shouting vendors. Quite a cultural shock. Among the salesman’s, we found a fruit juice seller speaking English. He told us about the blue-lined bus, running between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Unfortunately, there was no timetable on the bus stop, only a taxi driver trying to persuade us to give up and drive with him for highly overpriced charge. There will be no bus, he says, it’s Shabbat. Few minutes later, another car stops by us. Driver makes us better price, so we agree. He is no taxi, he is privat taxi. It does not give a sense, but that’s what he said. The white car he drives is barely in condition to drive, mourning arabic song flow from the radio and in every curve my stomach jumps. He uses his hooter more often that is needed. And upon all that, he tries to keep a conversation with us, using his pidgin language. I feel Charlie’s nervousness behind me. We try to contact Aya from AIRBNB. “Do not enter any taxi.” Well nice. We already sit in one. Let’s pass the phone to driver. He may explain where we are. It wasn’t that brilliant idea. The call last quite long and we are truly worried. Both, about the price that will appear in a message from operator and about the conversation which we do not understand. Arabic may sound angry for outrageous observer. He left us at the crossroad with command to wait there. We happened to be in Palestine, in the country no official map tells about.

Aya is a young woman with two little boys around her ankles and a baby girl. Husband’s not home yet, so she shows us the room. Most keen in the conversation are the little ones. 

Original plan was a trip to the dead sea. Her husband, Ibrahim thinks that we should see Hebron instead. He’ll go with us. The price is fair, and we do not feel safe going alone. There was nothing to worry about, we found out later. Hebron is divided in two parts, same is the Abraham mosque. One part belongs to locals, other is occupied by Israeli settlers. Those parts are empty, only soldiers walk the streets and protect it from unwanted entry.
“Does anybody live there?”  
“No. It used to be our shops. It should be reconstructed for settlers now. They want to take the city because of the Abraham mosque.”

Arabs are vendors. It is simply impossible to walk their streets without buying anything. They shout all at once, offer their goods and free cups of coffee for buyers and bargain with them. Even the small kids are running around the streets with necklaces and little jewellery for sale. Our companion greets them all, as he would know everyone. Just the mesh above our heads looks so gloomy. “What is it?”
“It catches the rubbish from settlers. They throw things from the top floors down.” From time to time, you can see a soldier watching, if you are lucky. They don’t want to be photographed, every time we take out the camera, they disappear.

We met a group of Europeans in one of the shops. Dressed in blue jackets with red label on the shoulder saying TIPH. They were sitting with the locals, drinking coffee. Temporary International Presence in Hebron. “We observe.” Answered one of them my question about their mission here. She gave me a flyer with all the information. They are here to observe and report if one of the fighting sides act against the human rights or agreements.  

Whole city is controlled by Israeli checkpoints. We passed few of them on our way. Our little “ID” gained on the airport get us through all the gates without complicities. They check only Palestinians. There are places, where we must on our own. Our companion cannot pass. There are Jews, on their way to synagogue. They are nice to us. One boy offers us with sweets, we are clearly welcomed. The checkpoints and gunmans are just for locals. Who are these locals? Palestinians, Muslims, Christians. Lower “race” for Jewish Israel. What a nonsense? Do they forget what is it like to be a lower race for someone? Or were they inspired?   

We leave Hebron, Ibrahim take us back to Bethlehem. There are too many people, cars as well. Kids with trolleys full of oranges and pomegranates cross the road here and there. Hooters jell over crowd, they have lost their function long ago. It is impossible to locate the source when they sound all at once. “They banned to use them in a city.”  Says Ibrahim and our transport driver pulls his one as if for demonstration, that it doesn’t work. Upon all this mess a huge wall rear its head. It’s painted with colourful graffiti, calling for peace and freedom. There are many faces draw on the wall as well. We recognise only Donald Trump among them. He kisses the wall on one of the pictures. Another one shows him with a kippah on his head, saying: I’m gonna build you a brother.

„What is behind the wall?“
„Israeli base. Settlers. “

Noone is living in the top floors of the houses either. Climbing on the rooftops is strictly forbidden. People could have been stalking soldiers.

Ibrahim showed us one museum. It is built inside a hotel, called “The Walled of Hotel”. Name speaks for itself. It’s decorated with pictures from the wall. They all have the same author. Banksy. English artist with no face. People call him like that, because no one never seen him. This museum is a museum of occupation. There are stories of people from behind the wall, from behind the border that was drawn by new citizen of this land. This border is pushed constantly toward them and the world just watch. OSN or someone else raises a warning finger from time to time.

One more thing is on the plan that day. We visit Ibrahim’s sister. Hospitality of Palestinians is endless. Eating dinner, drinking tea, coffee and smoking water pipe, we listen to even more stories. Stories of normal people and their lives. Just one of them was ever abroad. The oldest son. He’s approximately our age. He got a chance as a part of a dancing group, host family payed the travel costs for him. He was flying from Jordan. Palestinians are not allowed to fly from Tel Aviv. It is a capital, only for the ones with correct ID. 

We leave Palestine the other day. We travel around Israel the rest of the week. It’s less full, less noisy and less dirty. Everything is more expensive though and museums say the story of liberation instead of occupation.

sobota 8. júla 2017


“Do you travel for work or vacation?“
“Work.”  I answered to the asking man after a little doubt.
„Are you a photographer?“
„No.“  I smiled down on a camera, laid down in my lap.  
„I am not a photographer.“

After this short conversation with the man from a plane I first started to wonder about the real purpose of my journey to Athens. I would not name it “business”, however it was not a vacation. I flew there as a volunteer for the meeting of partners of I’mappy project.  

Let me explain that. It is a project of 6 partners, from Greece, Turkey, Lithuania, Sardinia and Slovakia, who are trying to create a map and an application, designed for young refugees. ADEL Slovakia is there as a Slovak partner and the one, which through I got to the project.

This is the short description: IM’MAPPY is an integration map especially for young refugees. Project is made for young refugees who don’t have access to social and basic information about the asylum country or has no parents or families. IM’MAPPY will pin Youthwork organizations that shall provide social and basic information to young refugees as well as able to provide language lessons.  

Do you want to know more about the project? – (I am working on the article ;) )

And if you are interested in my trip, continue with reading.

I arrived something around 8:00 PM my time. That means 9:00 PM in Greece. Count with the time I wasted by finding my way from the airport, it was pretty late when I finally got to the hotel Zafolia. Nevertheless, ADEL girls were waiting for me in the entrance hall, prepared for the night out.

I met the other participants of the project that night. I also found out, that people live during the night and wake up in the lunch-time in Greece.

The next day had a truly work spirit. Do you know how much a head can hurt after the 9 hours long meeting? Especially if you are a little over motivated person. Anyway, there is not a thing that the roof-pool would not cure. And the view was definitely worth it.

And as far as we were in a Greece, the day was just about to start.      

Do you like the seafood? Yes? Then you should visit this place. It is located in a port de Piraeus. There is a ship and a Greece writing in their logo. It says: ΥΠΕΡΩΚΕΑΝΕΙΟN. Don’t you know what does it mean? Me neither. One of our Greece companions told me it means “the big big ship” and the translator says: “superior”. It is a typical Greece tavern, with a huge variety of sea things. We tried all of it. I may be a shrimp lover, but I don’t consider myself to be an expert on the octopus and so on. Anyway, judging from the smiles on Greece-girls faces, it tasted exactly like it should have. 

We were suppose to visit 3 centres working with refugees, during our stay.  2 of them cancelled our visit because of a growing flow of the people they had to take care in that very moment. So we went to the last one the other day. We were welcomed by a young woman called Ariana. She was skinny, tall and I noticed four golden circles in her left ear.

„We provide accommodation to the people, who were not given the “refugee” status by now. We are helping them to fit to the society, to find work or education and in some cases, to get out of this country. If someone does not gain the permission to be moved to somewhere else during first 3 months, he is stacked in Greece forever. That is how it works.”

Why not to stay in Greece? It is such a sunny place.

„We have no money in Greece. We basically live from the European Union foundations. It is not the ideal place to raise a family.”

Yes, that sounds reasonable.

„Usually, it is the woman with a little child who travel the first. Most of the time they just walk. It is easier for them to get across the borders. Once when they reach their final destination, they start sending applications to get their husband there. We had a few families here that just walked away like this and they keep sending us photos from abroad.“

Ariana was speaking about the other possible accommodations for refugees in Athens, about all the paperwork that has to be done for every single person and also about the normal day in their center.

„They mostly complain about the ban to cook their own food. All these people are given the food in a canteen. They are suspicious about everything, which is not red. That’s why we add the spice to every meal.”

I could not help myself but that remind me of prison. Especially the rule that main door have to be locked during the night. I knew that Ariana and others are aware of the fact, but they could not do anything about it.

While she was answering the questions, a few silent observers entered the hall next to us. They were watching from a distance. A little girl in a yellow shirt dared to get closer. She could not speak English, but even though, she tried. Her black curls moved every time she hopped. Observing everything with her dark eyes, she obviously did not see any difference between us and herself. She did not know that she have any status or that there is a border drown by man, telling her what she can or can’t.  Right now she was trying how far she gets before some of the adults call her back. 


My last afternoon in Greece. It is impossible to see whole Athens in a tree days, but I did my best

street markets

Tzystarakis mosque

two really nice musicians

Russian girl working part-time in a souvenir shop


After a few hours long tour around the city I finally gave it up. I agree to follow my college Lucka, two Turkish girls and our Greek guide Joanna. Joanna draw us all the best bars on the map. The bars that are secret for the normal tourist. If you are planning a trip to Athens, I recommend these: The Clumsies, Baba au rum, 7 Jokers ... or you can also try the ones that we didn’t manage to go to. Drunk Sinatra, La Pairidaeza or Booze Cooperativa ;) 

Baba au rum

The Clumsies

 7 jokers

piatok 9. júna 2017


It was a day of at 5.6. in Germany. Pfingsmontag. It is a Monday of Holy Spirit according to Google. However, it ment a day without lorries for me. Or at least it was supposed to be.

One of the lorries had its engines running and a guy was walking a round, probably the driver. It was 8 AM and completely silence on a Berlin circle. It was worth of a try at least.

„Are you driving today?“ I asked a control question in German.
„Heute, heute.“ Guy nodded and repeated the word today. Obviously, it was the only one he understood from my sentence.
„Are you driving somewhere near Hamburg?“ I tryed in English.
„Hamburg, Hamburg.“ Ok, English neither. At least I knew he was driving that day and his destination was Hamburg.
Using hands and all my language skills I managed to make an agreement with him.
„Turkey.“ He told me when saw that I was trying to read his  evidence number on a lorry.
„I am from Slovakia.“
„Slovakia ja! I go Slovakia. Hamburg load up, tomorrow back Berlin, Czech republic, Slovakia, Hungaria, Romenia und Turkey. You go Slovakia?“
„No. I need to get only to Hamburg.“
„Ok Hamburg.“ He smiled and went back to his pots and food. He was evidently cooking something. I decided to wait away.  

There is a tiny flipping platform at the side of the lorry, which can be used as a table. Behind this platform, there is a place for a gas burner, pots and a boxes full of food. He was sitting on a small wooden chair and cooking soup and a tee. All of a sudden he put out a newspaper, open it on the floor and sit down on it, inviting me to sit on his wooden chair. I refused so he came and took me.

He put one more spoon in his plate with soup and ask me to try it.
„I have eaten already, thank you.“ I thought it was a solid argument. He eider did not understand me or he did not want to understand.

„Turkish. Turkish.“ He keep repeating and waving with the spoon.  
In a little while I had bread in my hand, of course Turkish.

This mystery soup was spicy and really tasty. Anyway, I did not succeed in finding out it’s consistence. All of my questions were answered by „ja“ and a huge smile.

I started an easier conversation.
„Marta“ I pointed at myself.

„Can I selfie?“ he asked me after a while.  
„Sure.“ I made few myself.  

We have finished with the soup. Ayhan’s tee was ready for drinking. It does not seems like I have a choice. It was delicious. Black. Exactly like the one Ahmed once made me. I was only starting to be nervous because I was not sure anymore, that he’s leaving today. It was almost 11 AM.

„Familia, familia. Son. He come here. Son from Berlin. I give something to him and go Hamburg.“

His son has really came. Ayhan gave him some boxes with sherries and had a little talk with him. Then we finally started to prepare ourselves for the journey. I was given some cherries too. When I was not able to eat anymore, he put the rest in my bag. Cherry is kiras in Turkish.

Degustation continued in a car. First some Turkish mineral water, than some red juice. Approximately 5 minutes later I really needed to pee. How should I translate that to a Turkish guy? He get it in a very last moment.

The rest of our journey went easy. I learned that he has a daughter, who is 16 (we’ve been writing the numers with finger) also that he’s living in a city called Antalia. (firstly I thought that it’s a name of his daughter) I gave him some wafer bars HORALKA, as a typical Slovak sweet for exchange.

Did you know that freedom taste like a Turkish soup, looks like a highway from Berlin and feels like shoulders burned from sun?

I hitch-hiked another Turkish guy, one young German women and a family of Jehovists on my way from Hamburg. All of them were great. All of them were friends.