This week’s drive to Hungary to join the World Rainbow Gathering was slowed by a sightseeing detour along the castle-dotted banks of the Rhine in Germany. The girls were eager to meet up with the friends that we knew would be in Hungary, and we were delighted to be reunited with people whom we hadn’t played with for over a year and half!

The gathering was held on beautiful rolling hills outside the small village of Bercel, very close to Budapest. I appreciated our meander in and through the centre of that old city, although the traffic was pretty hectic. It’s been interesting to pass through so many countries on our way here — each one has characteristics that sets it apart from the others. Austria is by far the prettiest country with the best roads, and in contrast, Hungary feels like a return to the developing world.

World Rainbow Gathering, Hungary, September 2014
We arrive at the Rainbow Gathering as everyone is circling together for an evening meal. It takes a little while to spot our friends in the crowd of thousands.

The Rainbow Gathering was held on S.U.N. Festival land which means that communal facilities were already established, and artists had left several years-worth of sculptures across the landscape. We parked outside the main gathering area and wandered in to the circle each day. The girls were eager to play, and Brioni and Lana covered themselves with mud which meant that they were forced into a chilly pond to wash off.

In Australia, it’s vital to camp next to a clean freshwater source for drinking and washing, but in Hungary water was trucked in instead. I spent a lot of time looking at the resources and facilities — hoping to learn some tricks to improve our Rainbow Gatherings in Australia. Instead — after consulting with other Australians who could help me make comparisons — I determined that we’re already doing a better job, albeit with less than a tenth of the people attending, and instead we should focus on improving our established methods for handling food preparation, water sourcing and hygiene.

Lauchie talking to us on the grass, Rainbow Gathering, Hungary, September 2014
It's wonderful to have this time to catch up with travelling friends whom we last saw in Australia.

Photo © Nicole Delaine. Used with permission.

We had last been with Nicole in the February Rainbow Gathering in Tasmania and Lachie at the Easter Confest. Other friends from Tasmania were in Hungary too, and Kieran, a UK-based friend that we hadn’t seen since Melbourne in early 2013. It’s wonderful to maintain a close connection with a tribe of people who are also travellers, and extra-fun to meet up on the other side of the world! Rainbow Gatherings are such an eclectic group of people that you never know who you’ll meet and when you’ll next see those people again.

World Rainbow Gathering, Hungary, September 2014
We laugh at the juxtaposition of two very different types of mobile homes!

Photo © Nicole Delaine. Used with permission.

When the rain started pouring, we decided to leave — especially as the forecast predicted several more days of it — but I was hesitant to take the now muddy track back to the main road. It felt like we were stuck, and I resigned myself to staying in place for a while, but after some encouragement from Lachie and others who had successfully driven out, we made it out, filling our campervan with happy hippies (and their dog) who needed a ride to the closest village.

Now that we’re on our way again, we’ll continue with our planned itinerary that will slowly return us to Denmark. One of the most difficult things about driving through so many countries is that I’m unable to get an internet connection unless I purchase a SIM card in each nation. So for the next couple of weeks, I’ll give up trying to stay connected online with friends and will revert to living in the moment with the girls as we tour the most child-friendly attractions in Europe.