1st June 2015 – Budapest, Hungary
11 months had passed. Or rather, flowed quietly like the Danube.
I pinched myself, and watched the sun burn my skin.
Under the shade of a fountain next to a basilica,
I found recluse, and made peace with my evil twin.
It has been 11 months!
People say you look back at the end of a long travel, and remember all the great places that you have seen. And those images float through your head. Well, people are wrong. I don’t recall much of the places that I have seen, amazing as they may be. But I do recall everyone who was part of them.
There was the little princess Khaleesi, in Fiji and the Polish explorer Maciej in Vanuatu. The awesome Kiwi-korean Yeoni, who showed me around Wellington. Victoria who joined me in Kolkata, Maldives and Paris. Tanya who hopped behind the crazy motorbike rider in India, and met me again in Budapest. Jessica and Ming, who surprised me with a birthday cake in Nepal. Clara, who rode from Varanasi to Pokhara with me on the worst roads ever, and then met me again in Bratislava. Ibo, Taskin and Isa who made me family in Turkey. Eijaz and the other friends who drove me around Dubai. Aurelie, who let me explore the southern coasts of France. Even recently, Margarita, Guntis and Riina in the Baltics. Barbara, Ana, Anita, Masha and Marina in the Balkans. Any plenty, plenty of other wonderful souls.
Don’t let people tell you otherwise, it is always the people who make the essence of any travels. And I met another similar soul today, in the form of Abigail.
I’ve been meeting people on couchsurfing too much, but Abigail was a tinder match. Well, I am a single guy who travels the world. Did you think I wouldn’t be on tinder? Of course, I am! And I’ve met some awesome people on tinder, even in Budapest. But Abi was interesting. An art historian studying law. That was a potent mix of intellect and interest.
So, we decided to get some mid-day wine. As crazy as it may sound, we bought ourselves some good local wine, and sat under the St. Stephen’s Basilica, sipping it under the shade of the fountain, dedicated to St. Stephen’s wife Gizella.
I have one more month, before I take a little rest. For today, I am simply going to celebrate that fact.