As I head home, I’m left with a few thoughts that haven’t previously been blog-worthy.
First of all, the people in both countries were warm and welcoming, and most people spoke fluent English. This made me feel a bit guilty, as I didn’t really try to learn any of the local words. I used a couple “thank you’s” on occasion, but had to look them up every time.
The food was remarkable. It was down-to-earth and comforting. I know people who would have issues eating there, however, because they use a lot of sour cream, and sauerkraut also made frequent appearances. Additionally, much like Germany and Austria, they love their dumplings here.
I can’t wait to get home and make something with paprika!
I want to address the issue of currency. Slovakia was easy – they’re on the euro. Hungary, on the other hand is on the fiorint. Current conversion rates are ~310 fiorints per euro. Why am I mentioning the euro? Well ATM’s in Hungary dispense both currencies, and both currencies are accepted everywhere.
It might seem easier to just use the euro, but this is wrong. If you go to Hungary, absolutely DO NOT pay in euros if you don’t have to. Most vendors are offering a 270 or 280 fiorint per euro conversion, which is frankly terrible. And you’ll get fiorints anyway, as they only give change in the local currency.
I’m sitting in a Delta A330 as I write this, and I’m thinking about what the future holds. I expect there will be fewer entries from me in the next year. I am reconsidering how I spend my vacation time, and so will probably have fewer major trips.
I haven’t blogged this in the past, but a friend was once in a bar and an elderly couple informed her that she should have visited as many countries as her age. I’m torn as to how I even feel about this. It’s a nice measuring-stick, but doesn’t address the fullness of ones experiences.
If it is, in fact, worth counting, I’m nowhere near that target. I’m not even halfway there. Depending on the definition of country (I’m counting Grand Cayman, Bermuda, and Vatican City, although all three are debatable) and duration of stay, this trip has brought me to 20 (I still can’t count France, as I haven’t eaten a meal, nonetheless spent a night, outside of the airport).
Then again, perhaps it’s a useless metric anyway, as Florence and Puglia might as well be different countries.
I like the count, however, as inspires me to visit new places. This means I have a lot of catching up to do, but it needs to be done right. Italy is coming up again in the fall, but that doesn’t really check of boxes on that particular list. After that, I don’t yet know. There are plenty of opportunities for scuba in the Caribbean, and I still haven’t been to South America. Back in March, my gracious host in Genova strongly advocated for South Africa. Finally, India has been on my list for far too long. Perhaps, some day, I’ll even go to France.
For now, my next destination is home. And that’s a great place to end a journey.