It’s done. Visa on arrival letter received, plane ticket to fly to Delhi, India this Friday and some hotel reservations, more than usual actually. You see, to actually receive the visa when I arrive, I must show my visa application, with attached photo – aah yes, carry extra passport sized photos with you or find a great print shop in Budapest who will print them out for a very cheap price; my approval letter for a Visa on Arrival; my outbound air reservation – got a cheap flight to Kuala Lumpur – which I can use, or not – regardless, Kuala Lumpur has a major international airport from which I can fly many places; hotel reservations or invitations from locals for all nights I’m staying in the country (I’ll explain more about this in a future article); and, of course, my passport with at least six-months until expiration and a page or two to put the visa in. As you can see, India has required a bit more preparation than some other locations (remember when I went to Mexico three days after the voting closed?) and I sure do hope it’s worth it.
Truth be told, I received my approval for a Visa on Arrival less than twelve-hours after I submitted it. Yes, I could have probably left last week, but here’s the thing. What will be more difficult than getting the paperwork together for India, will be leaving Budapest. You sent me here to find love and, well, find love I did. I fell in love with this city. From its sparkling waterfront which, year round, lights up the city like a tastefully done Christmas tree (no flashing colored lights or overdone tacky red tinsel), to the variety of cultural and entertainment options – opera, ballet, cabaret, jazz, poetry, rock, art museums, bookstores on every corner, historical locations, incredible architecture – which, to me, are on par with New York City. Well, how could I help but fall in love.
And the people; some of the friendliest, most well-read and well-informed people I’ve met in my travels. Sure, here and there, you’ll run into the rude transportation worker or the snotty teenager, but they’re truly the exceptions. I’ve made friends here who will make it difficult to leave. And as for the transportation, the mass transit system is very reasonably priced and can get you anywhere you might wish to go. But the best way to see Budapest is by walking; this city was made for it. And if, like me, you travel without a plan, this city is mecca. There were some days that I actually had a plan in my head about what I wanted to do – a museum, an area to explore – yet when I began walking, I’d look down a street and three-hours later would find myself exploring an area I didn’t know existed simply because I looked to my right and thought, “Well, that looks like a cool street.” If you’re afflicted with ADHD, this is the perfect place for you as, where ever the, “Squirrel!” moment happens, it’s sure to lead you to a new adventure.
So yes, you chose Budapest as the most romantic city in Europe and I’d have to agree. You cannot help but fall in love here. But just like all of my previous love affairs, this too shall end. I’ll continue to love this city, but it’s time for me to find new lovers. To Budapest I say, “It’s not you, it’s me.” You’ll always hold a special place in my heart.
**Note: I’m proud to have been featured in last week’s Detroit Jewish News. If you’d like to read the story and are not a subscriber to the paper, you can do so at the reporter’s blog site http://stacylynngittleman.com/2015/02/26/have-blog-will-travel-follow-the-adventures-of-carole-rosenblat-founder-of-dropmeanywhere-com/