From Turkey to Hungary and Beyond: Inside the Refugees' Journeys to Europe

Refugees received a warm welcome in Austria.

In Istanbul -- and these days, mostly the coastal town of Izmir, Turkey -- human smugglers take thousands of dollars to get refugees a seat on flimsy, rubber boats headed for the Greek islands. With the boats overcrowded and hardly equipped for the high seas, 2,400 people have died on the water this year, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

That offer has led to a crackdown on refugees by neighboring Hungary, which forced many refugees to make the 150-mile trek to Vienna, Austria, on foot.

Here is how refugees are being welcomed at different stops along the journey:


In Turkey's upscale, coastal towns of Izmir and Bodrum, people were nice and sympathetic. Refugees slept everywhere, including parks and streets.

But the Turkish police are cracking down -- they cleared certain parks and used force with smugglers on beaches.


In Greece, refugees disembarked and were greeted by Frontex, the EU agency that reinforces and streamlines cooperation between national border authorities, and by kind, local authorities.

At least one small island had a medical tent and a place to register.

At several restaurants, respectful waiters provided extra food and water.


In Serbia, the authorities controlled the long lines of tired, frustrated people without brutal force.

Serbs pulled up cars to deliver a bag of apples and water to passing walkers. Some people are offering up beds, showers and clothes when they can.

The families stopping in Belgrade are largely middle-class English speakers and are sleeping in the city's main parks.


For days, Hungarian officials blocked refugees from leaving the country by train, forcing people instead to make the 150-mile trek to Vienna, Austria on foot. Local Hungarians provided donations as the refugees walked.

Early this morning, Hungary's government provided buses to bring people to the Austrian border.


About 4,000 people crossed from Hungary into Austria on Saturday and they received a warm welcome, including beds and hot tea.

The wet and weary travelers were exhausted, but smiling, waving and cheering.

Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila said he would open his home to refugees beginning January 1. Sipila told Finnish broadcaster YLE that his family lives in Helsinki and they're not using their house in central Finland.

"Taking refugees direct from camps allows a safe route to the UK, rather than the hazardous journey that's cost so many lives," he wrote in one tweet.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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