Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Budapest Problem

Our family has been dreaming of Amsterdam.  And, since we've been planning and plotting with determination, it seems only fitting that we should also look into taking a road trip across the country (with stops for Texas BBQ, of course), catching a boat in Florida, spending two weeks at sea with stops in nine different countries, doing our thing in Amsterdam (including day trips on bike to the surrounding countryside), hopping on over to Belgium, cruise down through France - with the requisite stop-over in Paris, hiking in the Alps, visiting friends (and small local cheese farms) throughout northern Italy down to Rome (because how can one do Italy and not Rome?), and then boarding on a plane and having a week-long fling in Iceland (bucket list!) on the return.

Paris, France Summer 2010

This, my friends, is what we affectionately refer to as The Budapest Problem.  We have such grand ideas about traveling because - once we decide to go, it seems we should really go all out.  This phenomenon has been an issue since before we got married (perhaps it has warped out of our dating history - to go out to dinner, one or the other of us had to drive six hours first), but the first time we put a name to it was when we were planning to go to Ireland for two months in 2010 to study Latin.

Blarney Castle, Ireland Summer 2010

Ireland is kind of a awkward place to fly into.  Direct flights are expensive (and not so direct from the US west coast).  So we started to look into other areas to fly into (and add a few extra days of adventure).  There was London (easily accessible to the Emerald Isle either by ferry ride or quick flight).  Or Paris (train + ferry, perhaps).  Brussels, maybe.  Frankfurt.  Milan or Rome seemed promising - we really did miss Italy.  Even Austria seemed like a great idea (we do really want to see those salt mines - and Jordan has seriously fond gastronomical memories of the sausage).  Romania isn't that far away (we knew friends who'd visited and had a glorious time).  Greece would be glorious.  I did really want to see the Croatia coast and those lighthouses.  And - goodness - Budapest!  Wouldn't that be amazing?

Cork City, Ireland Summer 2010

You see how that happened, right?

Versailles Summer 2010

Well, in the end we did end up adding five weeks in Paris and a week and a half more to see France (Mandelieu-la-Napoule is still a fairy-tale-come-true destination for us) with a ferry ride from Normandy to Cork City, Ireland.  When the Latin course was finished, we spent a week and a bit touring Ireland, missed (and caught the next day) a ferry to Liverpool, did two days there just so we could see the football match, and added another day in London before catching the plane home.

Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris Summer 2010

It wasn't Budapest, but it sure was glorious. And so, it's kind of hard to plan any kind of adventure without battling the Budapest urge head on.  Because, really, we have a pretty good story to tell about how that's worked out for us.  So we'll see how it plays out with Amsterdam (my bet is we regrettably drop the two weeks at sea but just won't find the heart to give up Iceland).

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