Ha, what a feeling, to head back to Budapest. It had always been my dream to come here, as I got older in years, yearning for a connection to a barely recognizable subculture in my life. After all, we were Americans, no doubt about it. I even wrote a paper making fun of all the Italians with their little Horn Necklaces, yes; I am talking about you Jessie Segna, and the Irish, with their Shamrocks and Guinness posters. Let’s be honest, we all grew up third generation Americans, which really means, no real connection to the “other land” except some basic concepts.
For some friends, a damn good spaghetti their grandma made or shepherds pie. But do they know the tongue, no, not at all. For me it was food also, chicken paprikash. Loved the stuff. We had two restaurants in Detroit area that made it. I love Hungarian kitchen more, which was literally a small dirty little spot that had the best food. Hungarian Rhapsody is much classier, but I did not like theirs as much. My grandma would say Hungarian words in anger occasionally, barely remembered by me. But after I hit my 20’s, and early 30’s I began to have a larger interest in my roots. I suppose its normal. I have a travel bug, and truth be told, I always felt like Peru was my spiritual homeland. But after my grandmother died, I started thinking of all the questions I should have asked, even though we did a little Q and A with her. But really, I wanted more and then I missed her food. So I took her memory book and taught my self some recipes. Chicken paprikash was my favorite. And with that bit, I connected with my past, and had a taste for more.
So I had to go, but like I said, back to Budapest, which means I have been here before, which is true. I came 8 years ago, and was here for exactly one day. My dog Pisco, who I dearly loved, got a blood infection, so I flew back so that she would not die alone. It cost a lot of money, worth every penny, but it cut my trip short, and when I was here, it was filled with tears and heart break. But that is the past.
Now, I have a wife and daughter and live in Europe. So of course it was time to go back to the Home Land. We had a week of vacation, and Yvonne was excited and so was I. Traveling with a toddler always has its difficulties, but Skylar was a trooper. One of my favorite movies out was Grand Budapest Hotel, so when we spotted a good travel deal to the hotel it was inspired by, I could not resist. To be honest, $140 a night for a 5 star hotel is a steal, and were we ever not disappointed. Best Orbitz deal that I had gotten so far. A so-so hotel in Ireland is $120.
We arrived around midnight with Ryanair, after spending two days in Dublin so I could run the Dublin city Marathon. Ryanair was a bit of a risk, because they did not give the pilots all their vacation time, and so were canceling a ton of flights. But it worked out in the end.
This may have been the first time I ever had an airport pickup with my name on it. I always think it’s funny when I show up and all those guys have signs. I think, where’s my love as I push through them to get a cab or bus. Come to think about it, I feel the same way when running a marathon, where’s all my signs. Though at least in a marathon I do get a kiss from my wife and daughter midway.
After a 2 and half hour flight our driver was there with his van, and finally, I had my sign. I was loved in a foreign country by some stranger, and it only cost me $80 bucks.
Budapest with love!