Sunday, April 26, 2009


In years to come, when I think back to Kemeri it'll be the sound of barking dogs that I hear first, loud and insistent like car horns in some big Chinese city. What little traffic there was moved too quickly on the narrow roads. Church bells rang from invisible spires. Everywhere was the foul, rotten-eggy smell of sulphur.

I walked aimlessly for the first half an hour, finding nothing but dust, before stumbling across what's left of the spa park. Two men in wheelchairs were arguing by a weatherbeaten statue, turned black by the angle of the sun. Paint peeled from walls, metal rusted, weeds grew taller, the lovers' island had tarpaulin over the roof and the only visible sign of restoration was a scribbled line drawn through the graffiti. Through the trees I could just make out of the Colgate-white shell of the Kemeri Hotel, slowly being rebuilt. To the right, by a latticed bandstand, an old woman filled a plastic water bottle from a concrete spring.

A signed path started on the far side of the hotel, finishing at Kemeri National Park and a raised boardwalk that winds around boggy woodland like a toy railway. The temperature was up to twenty degrees. I sat on the grass reading, waiting for my train.

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