The treeshadowed paths in Austria are generally being referred to with the word ‘schattig’, which in Dutch means cute. The paved roads that I am following now are neither. There is a lot of traffic and the way they go about it gives me the idea that it is a competition. The screeching tyres conform that image. My methode of following the path as well as I can and trusting that it will lead me to a good place doesn’t seem to work here. Finding a place to sleep gets priority over routes. With some longing I think back to neat and well organized Austria.
Also I have been walking for the past three days amongst huge maize fields. Syngenta en Pioneer are big names here. Whether they are that also to the local population is beyond my knowledge. This used to be a small scale farmers’ region. The maize was here already before the big companies came, as is shown by the traditional, now become decorative, maize storage on almost every compound. The scale in which it is being produced now leaves no room for employees however. The area is slowly being deserted, although there are also new houses being built. Monoculture creates an emptiness of flora and fauna. No animals and hardly a bird to be seen or heard. Ironically a company built a big football stadium in a village of 200 souls where soon there will be no football players. The emptiness of the land being mirrored by an empty stadium? Steel blue it stands. Huge, the name ‘Old Trafford’ on its wall.
It is a world in transition. Derelict buildings next to brand new ones. There certainly is prosperity here. Road works every where. The traffic roaring through dusty untidy little towns where old shops stand empty and new ones advertise themselves in a flashy modern way. They make me think of my years in Guatemala and Ecuador. Matching up with the pace of progress of which I sometimes wonder whether this is what they or we really wanted. How again do you measure happiness and what do prosperity and well being have in common?
It coexists, the old and the new. What I like about the picture is that it sits in one compound. You may choose your own beauty or beast. I find the image also in my own reflections on this part of my journey. Also mixed, that is for the next blog.