In Bucharest, waiting for my connection to Istanbul, I come across a statue to somebody Georgescu. I don’t know where he fits into the country’s history of monarchy, Communism, dictatorship and new democracy. During the monarchy somewhere judging by the date.
I see it and think how nice it would be if there could be a monument for all the people who’ve helped me on this journey. The gentleman raising his hat and giving directions in Vienna, the girl in the cafe who spends ages asking her colleagues for vocabulary to explain something to me in English, and the German fraus and Gergo and Rodika, to my friends at the Syrian embassy who gave me the stamp of approval and delicious cardamon coffee. It would be for everyone who’s given advice and directions and tried to find the words in English and shown patience and good humour.
It’s almost as if being foreign and alone, with limited language skills turns you into an honorary child or relative and everyone is programmed to look after you.
In the garden at Budapest’s Great Synagogue there is a memorial to Raoul Wallenburg, the Swedish Ambassador during the second world war.
He and 21 other ambassadors and diplomats used a system of safe houses and diplomatic papers to offer refuge and immunity to thousands of Jews then in danger under anti-Semitic laws.