“Asia begins at the Landstrasse.”                  -- Prince Metternich In 2017 I made it down to Austria from Berlin for a long weekend in March to research the Balkans in Vienna. I stayed in Ottakring, Vienna’s balkanized 16th Bezirk, interviewed various musicians from the Balkan scene and  found a city that was then, as ever, a gateway to the East. While making our ...

From Budapest to Belgrade is eight hours. You travel along the Pannonian plain; the great plain of Hungary; Transdanubia; the westernmost steppe in Europe; all flatlands and fields, and the heat doesn’t let up in your non-air-conditioned compartment, as you pass by dusty, flyblown  villages with sweep-wells in a sea of wheat and cornfields.  At the border to Serbia a burly ...