Thoughts on Life, Art, Photography, Technology, Teaching and Travel…..
It’s hard to believe this is my last day in Europe. The past month has been an amazing and personally enriching journey. I’ve met some incredibly unique, interesting and very creative people along the way. I’ve also seen and experienced more than I’d ever imagined thanks to my colleague Roberto Muffoletto and the various guides who shared their time and knowledge of their cities and respective counties we visited along the way.
Every day was an adventure with its own set of challenges for us to navigate. Each city we visited has been different with its own character and charm. Budapest is no different, although it’s very different from Krakow and Berlin. Not better or worse in my opinion…just a different look, feel and energy.
Budapest doesn’t seem as bustling and high energy as Krakow for example – it has a more relaxed pace to it with a rich and long history. You can still see traces of the ancient cities (Buda and Pest) near the Royal Palace for example. A visual reminder of just how old these Eastern European cities are.
One major thing I have learned from my travels is that people are relatively friendly and helpful where ever you go. The biggest challenge is overcoming the language barrier. Learning a few simple words and phrases in the language of each country you travel through goes a long way in breaking the ice with people – especially when you are asking for directions, searching for a bathroom (WC) or ordering food and drinks.
I’ve especially enjoyed roaming the European cities, museums, art/photo galleries and countrysides in search of visually interesting photographs and/or just soaking in the sites, art, photography, architecture and urban landscapes. One thing has become very evident to me over the past month and that is artists, photographers and supporters of the arts take the arts very seriously and have a lot of respect and appreciation for artists and photographers. More than I have noticed in the United States.
I’ve grown as a person since retiring from my teaching job just 4 short months ago. I’ll admit I’m ready to get back home and begin preparing for my part-time online teaching for the Spring. Art, photography and travel are my passions and sharing that passion and knowledge with my students feeds my mind and soul. I still have many more years of teaching in me even though I have retired from full-time employment. The beautiful thing about teaching online is you can do it from anywhere in the world so more travels are in store for this wanderer in the near future.
One thing that stands out to me as I visit each European city is just how old they are. They have hundreds if not thousands of years of rich history behind them. You can see it in the architecture especially. I also have noticed that Europeans (for the most part) take life a little less seriously than we do in the states. Life is slower, less stressful and more relaxed from what I can see, although the bad economic situation is impacting everyone around the world. Things like elections, politics, and ideologies don’t seem to create the divisiveness and anxieties they do in the states.
This has been an amazing and “once in a lifetime” trip for me as I mentioned in a previous blog post. It began in Amsterdam and then a train to Arnhem Holland, another train to Berlin, Germany to Krakow, Poland then a taxi to Northern Slovakia and from there the European Month of Photography in Bratislava. I now end my month long sojourn here in Budapest, Hungary.
I have seem great art, photography, architecture, in addition to meeting so many wonderful and creative people along the way. My personal perspectives on life have been broadened by this expansive travel experience. Hopefully I will be in a position to return to Europe for the European Month of Photography next year.
I’ll blink today and next thing I know I will be on a plane flying over the ocean for home. So for now I’ll finish packing my bag and head downtown Budapest to enjoy my final day in Eastern Europe and this great city of Budapest.
Footnote…I just returned from my last day in Budapest. Ended it at the amazing thermal water baths. What a relaxing and therapeutic treat and great way to put closure on my adventure. All packed and will wake up at 3:30 to catch my taxi to the airport. Here are more photos from my time in Budapest. Enjoy!