As I approached the daunting day of my 50th birthday I wanted to do something special so that I would always remember. I did not share this thought with anyone. This is my own personal journey. To me, life is like a river. The river of life bends and turns, swiftly passing through time and sometimes drifting slowly enough to catch your breath and enjoy the ride.
With two of my children living in the states and my husband traveling on my birthday for work, I was beginning to understand that this birthday would just be another day. My daughter here in The Netherlands and I decided, no big deal we’ll just go to our favorite quickie Eindhoven restaurant, Soho. I had also decided on the day of my birthday I might just have a nice pajama day. No going out.. Just me, a cup of coffee and a book. The day was beginning to sound perfect.
The eve before my birthday, I was already geared up in my jammies at 6:30pm ready to give into the calm, when my phone rang. I missed it the first time because I was doing laundry. It was my husband asking for some help with something in the den. Ok, sure, not a problem. I went down to his office to get the papers he was asking about, chatting about my exciting day of laundry when he asked me to take care of what was in the papers. I opened the envelope and out fell a plane ticket and money and an itinerary of activities. Apparently there would be no pajama day; I was flying out in the morning to meet him in Budapest, Hungary.
As I sat there in shock, my mind a blur of what was happening, he carefully explained what was to take place. I was flying out in the morning. My daughter was already set to go to her friend’s house. Our wonderful neighbors were going to babysit our puppies. I was to pack very lightly because he already had a few dresses and shoes waiting for me in Budapest.
After we hung up the phone, I ran wildly through the house wondering why I had not done the laundry that day (oh yeah, I was out having fun with friendsJ). Packed a few things and then tried to sleep. Flying to Budapest from the US was never going to happen for me. That’s why it never entered my mind. But, flying out from The Netherlands for 100Euros.. You bet!
The flight the next morning was early. As I stepped off the plane in Budapest I found a man with a sign that held my name. He taxied me to the hotel all the while I sat in disbelief of where I was. I was in an area which kind of frightened me, an area that used to be behind the Iron Curtain. Luckily all that has passed and what has immerged is a country that people all around the world are now able to visit. I’m so glad too because the beauty of the city I was in was stunning! Cities like this were meant to share with the world.
I went to the patio outside for lunch to look out over the Danube River and Royal Palace across the river in Buda. I was apparently in Pest looking towards Buda. What I found as I toured the city was that Budapest was really two cities that had been combined. To me, Pest was a flat area bustling with busy people working and shopping. Buda on the other hand was hilly, calming and relaxing and meant to be enjoyed. But they had one thing in common… The Danube River. This river that divides the two cities has a strong current. Ferries, cruises, working and pleasure boats cruise up and down the banks of Budapest. People of the city all flock to be near it as well. Restaurants filled, parks full of children, people just strolling up and down the sides. This beautiful river was meant to be enjoyed and it is.
As I settled in for the night after a wonderful dinner with my husband out on a boat, I looked out to the river. Budapest, the city where old mingles perfectly with new. Budapest, a city with two sides separated by a river as strong as the people who inhabit it. With the flat lands of Pest and the rolling hills of Buda, a perfect blending of harmony is formed.