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“Wherever you go, you take yourself with you.” -Anonymous

It’s been said that others can know us better than we know ourselves. A close friend once told me that because I’ve resolved all those thorny “adoption issues,” I would now be free to live my life. Resolution? Being “over it”? Could that be possible? At the time, I thought that my friend was being overly optimistic. Wasn’t it true that the feelings of abandonment and alienation would never vanish, that freedom was an illusion? However, maybe, just maybe, my friend was right. Last night, I returned from nine days aboard a Viking longship, sailing on the Danube River through Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania. I opened myself up completely to new experiences, to learning about countries that had been just names, to people and cultures previously unknown. Welcome to this account of my five-country odyssey through Eastern Europe.

I went with Viking River Cruises, an excellent travel outfit that hires superb guides in every place you visit. The formula is simple: sail mainly at night, tour about on foot and by bus every day. Our first day was spent in Budapest, the capital of Hungary. An enchanting city that straddles the Danube, Budapest used to be two cities: Buda and Pest. Buda is on one side, and it’s full of Art Nouveau buildings, castles and palaces; modern Pest (pronounced “Pesht) is on the other. The magnificent Chain Bridge, along with eight other bridges, join the two-cities-in-one.

Herewith, a pictorial travelogue illustrating my journey’s beginning…

Open air arts market near our Hotel. Lunched on goulash and bought handcrafted stationery.

Open air arts market near our Hotel. Lunched on goulash and bought handcrafted stationery.

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Bomo Art booth  – journals to book marks, hand crafted, no two alike!

Leaving Budapest for Kalosca. Just outside the Sofitel Hotel: flower-filled park and military statuary.

Leaving Budapest for Kalosca. Just outside the Sofitel Hotel: flower-filled park and military statuary.

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The famous Chain Bridge, Castle District in the background (Buda in the background). About to set sail for Kalosca.

Budapest took my breath away. It is historic, quite beautiful, endlessly fascinating. On a personal note, I feel that the previously divided nature of this capital symbolizes my adoption journey, a kind of coming home to unity. However, Budapest is just the beginning. Please stay tuned for more chapters of this adoptee’s Eastern European travelogue.IMG_0021Here I am with Tina, artist/businesswoman whose book arts boutique (www.bomoart.com) was a highlight of our first day in Hungary.

 

 

 

 

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