We’re off on our next Grand Adventure. The trip to the airport was uneventful. Along the way we stopped and picked up a new lens, a Fuji 50-140, about a 70-200 equivalent on full frame. More on the Fuji system later.
The first leg of our journey had us flying to Frankfurt, Germany. Our plane was new and beautiful, one of the Untied 777 Polaris jets. I learned that United has retired it’s 747’s and there was a cute little memento celebrating and remembering the 747. The crew was friendly and accommodating. The flight passed quickly and I managed to get a few hours of sleep. I watched a documentary film on the life of the great Toshiro Mifune. It was narrated by Keeanu Reeves, and quite good.
Next we flew to Vienna and rented a car for our drive to Budapest where we’re spending our first two days. I’d downloaded a copy of the “Grand Budapest Hotel” by Wes Anderson to celebrate, just like I watched his “Darjeeling Limited” on our way to India last year, I’ve seen all his films before but they are brilliant, entertain and get me in the mood, One of my photography mentors had all the Wes Anderson films on his iPhone. When we were sitting around at lunch or just hanging out he would pull out his phone and scroll to a scene then wax poetic about it’s beauty, complexity and symmetry, such a great experience.
The drive from Vienna to Budapest wasn’t too bad. I like driving in Europe as the drivers seem much more “with it” than drivers in the US I don’t know why, maybe it’s because they seem to have fewer distractions and driving seems less like a chore. There was no traffic and we had a “never lost” so it was easy, and after leaving the Vienna airport only one main highway and here we are. It was kind of funny, we had to buy road stickers, kind of like local tax certificates to drive in Hungary and the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic was easy since we were able to buy it when we picked up our car, the sticker for Hungary had to be bought at a gas station on or near the Hungarian border. We kept our eyes peeled for the Hungarian border, guessing where it might be. We weren’t sure what to look for since most of our long distance overland travel tended to be by train, and that’s easy, you just give your passport to the conductor, kick back and relax.
So what does the Austro Hungarian border look like? It looks like a truck stop with a dozen little shops lined up selling paprika, and the surface of the road changed from smooth blacktop to something rough and bumpy for the first kilometer or so, then back to a nicely paved road. Crossing the border we found a gas station, purchased our sticker and continued on our way. As we approached Budapest, the “never lost” did a great job of keeping us on the right path. There’s always the fear that the computer will take you the wrong way and you’ll end up lost. Not this time. I was so happy to see the Danube and the bridges as we wound our way through town.
What is the goal of the European portion of our trip? First and foremost we want to have fun and continue our exploration of this part of the world, for myself I’m excited to see the cities in a historical context and continue putting the pieces to gather, I’m a student of western civilization and I want to understand more, the long view and context, that’s my thing. Christy loves to explore, be curious and enjoy new experiences and food, and she’s always doing research for her grand science fiction novels.