I loved Budapest, even though my first day didn't turn out so well (as you will read in the story that follows) I read "The Bridge to Andau" by James Mitchner (about the 1956 revolution against the Russians) before coming on this vacation and the story captivated me so that I couldn't wait to see the city. I wasn't disappointed. I liked it better than Vienna. The Danube separates the cities of Buda and Pest and something about a river running through a city is always charming. That is what I loved about Paris also. I have a Picasa Web Album with some select pictures of Budapest if you are interested.
This story is a bit embarrassing on my part but oh well, here it is.
This was the restaurant that we checked out as we moved down the street. I waited across the corner from here.
An event from my 5 weeks in Europe on Sept 23, 2010
I yelled on the streets of Budapest, loud enough for everyone on the street that day to hear me, all the while Mike was sushing me. “Everyone can hear you, he said. “I don’t care if they can hear me,” I screamed. I wanted sympathy, not censure. I wanted understanding, not blame. I still think I was right but not to yell, necessarily.
I didn’t plan to get mad. I had been in control up until the moment Mike finally found me, at least I thought I was. I couldn’t imagine how we had come to this. Isn’t the first rule of being lost to stay put and the second rule to go back to the last place you were together? These two ideas nailed me to a Budapest street corner and I couldn’t move in fear of making it all worse.
We arrived in Budapest after 3 days in Vienna, taking the train for 2 ½ hours through the fields of corn and red roofed hamlets. It was a miserable ride for me. Four German speaking adults, facing each other, sat across the aisle from us, chatting so loudly that I began to be irritated. I was tired and wanted to sleep but the seats were not comfortable. I tried to read but the ongoing guttural German distracted me. We hadn’t eaten since breakfast and it was 2:30 when we arrived and 4:30 before we were settled in our charming flat. We needed to exchange euros into Hungarian money and the place to do it was temporarily closed.
It was 5:30 before we headed down the street to find a restaurant. My stomach was hurting and I was set up for a good low blood sugar tantrum. We spent several minutes on a corner checking out a restaurant menu. Cheryl went across the street to take pictures of a church she said was bathed in the afternoon sun. When she returned she said, “You should take pictures of that church, it is very lovely.” So I crossed the street and moved down a bit out of sight to snap my photos. When I returned they were all gone. I better stay put, was all I could think. I had drummed into my children often the rules of being lost (but obviously not to my husband). There was a street that angled off on the left besides the 4 corner streets and we had wondered about restaurants there...what if they took this street? So, I parked myself by a piece of granite on our corner. I thought it would be good because they could see me from the cross street also. That turned out to be a mistake.
After 30 minutes I started to panic a little. I knew I could find my way back to our flat but it was too early for that. I just couldn’t believe that they wouldn’t come back. 50 minutes later a scruffy looking man came and stood next to the marble block I was leaning on and started to smoke. I moved away and leaned against the side of a building close to the corner. Within the hour I saw Mike far down the street moving toward me. His face was like a thundercloud. He hadn’t eaten either. Two low blood sugar eruptions were inevitable. He started to blame me for not coming on down the street. He said there was a plaza in front of the church and they had been waiting there, thinking that surely I would know that was where they were. I argued the point. How would I know there was a plaza there? How would I even know which street they took? The more critical he became of my decision to stay put the angrier I became. “ Why wouldn’t you come back to the place you saw me last?” I screamed. “I couldn’t move. I was paralyzed with not knowing what to do, surely you can understand that.” But he argued with me, saying he looked up the street and didn’t see me. My decision to stand by the marble block was clearly not the best idea as it put me out of the direct line of view.
I wanted Mike to come running up the street when he saw me, take me in his arms and press my head to his chest. I would cry and he would say, “I am so glad we found you. I was so worried.” ...what a fantasy that was.
We regrouped and found a lovely little restaurant with a patio. We had a nice meal, but I didn’t enjoy it in the spirit I wanted to. There was tension between Mike and me. He told me later that he was more embarrassed for me on that day than he has ever been. That was hard to hear but I can say that I was more disappointed in his reaction to my difficulty than I have ever been. (After 40 years of marriage I doubt that is true of either of us.) His criticism crushed me. The hour alone on that corner was filled with a lot of fear and stress. Then the argument on top of it all left me physically and emotionally drained.
So, why did I write this? (One reason is I needed to vent after the incident that night with my trip journal) I think there are lessons for both of us and one of them is that when the situation is understood there is no reason to blame the other. Another lesson is abiding by the rules of being lost in the future. The lost shouldn’t move and those looking for the lost should go back to the last place they were together. Also, don’t scream in the street just because someone doesn’t agree with your decisions. And lastly, carry some food with you.