This story is second in a series of ‘travel mythologies’ that seek to blend travel writing with local mythology. Art by Jono Hunt.
Birdwatching in Budapest / Zachary Fillingham / 2013
It wasn’t easy convincing my wife to visit Budapest.
At fault were a few lingering misconceptions, most of which could trace their lineage all the way back to the Cold War. It didn’t matter that I spent the first 13 years of my life there. Budapest was simply on the wrong side of Europe. She wanted Paris or Geneva – with their plazas, cafes, book stalls, and the street corners where this or that artist famously succumbed to exposure – not the Soviet brutalism and soggy cabbage rolls of an imagined Eastern Europe.
This story is first in a series of ‘travel mythologies’ that seek to blend travel writing with local mythology.
The Weird Sisters of Bulgaria / Zachary Fillingham / 2013
Bulgarian folklore tells of a thread weaving the fates of all humanity into one continuous whole. Watching over it are three sisters called the orisnizi, who together are responsible for assigning destinies to newborn babies on the first night of their lives. Theirs is not a job that lends itself to universal popularity, particularly among the downtrodden, the luckless, the addicts, and the otherwise wretched, so it should come as no surprise that over the years people have taken to calling them witches, or the “weird sisters.”
I wrote this while visiting Copenhagen in 2012. It was meant to be a stream-of-thought take on travel writing. But unfortunately, it turns out that my own stream of thought makes for a completely untenable travel article. If there’s ever a future attempt, I’ll try to think more about the things I did and less about inane bullshit.