Humans are afraid of dynamic changes in life. What we are most scared of are the beginnings. Only because the steps we take are the ones that irritate our minds, not sure where they would lead us. And instead of enjoying the moment we think of the pros and cons even after we had made the decision. And to compare what was to what is.
I am a little afraid to tell you the truth!
To let go and enjoy the present is hard, but is, no doubt, the best way to fully experience anything.
As I begin my trip in Budapest, Hungary and continue across different continents I hope I get immersed in the culture, meet locals, or other travelers; share stories with them or some local delicacy… to help me begin this new life of mine.So its time to forget my old comfy bed, familiar roads, and daily Starbucks.And its time to stop complaining where I get to sleep, to get lost in unfamiliar streets, and to enjoy small things like the locals.
I walk into this city with open eyes exposing myself to what it has to offer.
Budapest is beautifully crowded with medieval/Gothic architecture postulating its cinematic beauty but reminds you of its dark soviet history. And that remains consistent with small towns within the country.I saw Budapest a few times as I explored parts of Eastern Europe and, each time I saw it, it became more and more beautiful.
Simple; You go through different stages of experiencing traveling as a traveler. The beginning is always the immaturity. This is when you are excited as a traveler but miss the important things. You are too afraid to try different things, and you look for things that remind you of your homeland. Then comes development: you try to take pictures of everything you see as different; and rather than looking at the instance you look about it through your lenses. The third stage, you take small steps. You spend more time looking at a simple thing, and through a naked eye. And you explore!
Let’s go back to Hungary. How should one enjoy Hungary?
Be a local! To enjoy any culture one has to let go of how one used to live, and instead live as the country breathes.
Don’t follow the crowd! Lets try not to be ignorant as we, westerners, tend to see the big things only to miss the important ones.
Take time! if you try to see things too quickly you miss the important details. Maybe it is bullet holes in old basilicas or outside the old city buildings. Traveling must be done slowly.
Get lost! Whether you are are in big cities or small villages, small streets bring glamour to cafes, restaurants, museums, theaters or whatever it has to offer.
Don’t drive, walk! And keep on walking! You get the best sense of understanding the city by absorbing its hidden corners.
Don’t forget about the poor! Explore the rich sides but don’t forget about the poor ones.
Do both days and nights! Remember cities are different in day and night. Don’t only see the pretty sites.
Try to get out to the countryside! You could get lucky and get to explore the country side. There is inflating beauty: farms of sunflower and wheat perfectly placed in a geometrical formation.
And let me tell you, you get shrills. I got lucky on my first trip. I had knowledgeable guides (my Hungarian family) who took me to places I could not even pronounce or took me twenty minutes to find the town on the map. Like Esztergom where you can find the largest basilica in Hungary, and the place where kings were crowned.
We also drove by old check points on the border to its neighboring countries: ghastly ghost towns that had nothing but broken windows, cracked walls, and graffiti tattooing its whole body. There might not be a single sole there but it tells you of its past.
Other than the above, the other highlights happened when crossing over to see the neighbors:
Bratislava, Slovakia (Capital of Kingdom of Hungary until 1783) - The outskirts of the city showed the concrete touch of the soviet era rooting to the center of the city mixed with its historic elegance. In the distance, a white castle stood gorgeously like the ones in fairy tales.
Kittsee, Austria - The country lied only ten kilometer from the border of Bratislava. We crossed it in minutes. The site was attractive with its simplistic elegance; the houses were adorable, and perfectly blended with a contrast of colors and meditative backgrounds.
Pag Island, Croatia - The island was beautifully crowded with trees and flowers. The scent of dirt mixing with the scent of flowers absorbed the island; there was sweetness in the air from the cool breeze reaching from the sea that ameliorated the scenic drive. My tiny hair on my arms sprung up straight, goosebumps standing strong like an army preparing for a battle. It was a view to remember.
Take this guide and move along because one day you might want to see what I saw. And maybe one day you could conquer the Anglo-Hungarian Empire.