The End of Budapest — Cracking the Code

As my time here in Budapest winds to a close, it’s so strange to think that this is the last post I will write from this semester abroad. This blog, as of December 17, contains 74 posts; 65 of them have been written during my numerous European adventures from August to December 2012.

It has been a wonderful semester, and there is a small bit of sadness alongside the happiness and anticipation of returning home. I have always known that I am an “abroad” type of person — I  take extreme joy in foreign cultures and especially foreign languages. This semester has been no walk in the park, full of challenges that tested (and, I believe, refined) my character like ore through a furnace. The peace and quiet of being home is something I’m greatly looking forward to, but I know that I also can’t deceive myself into thinking that things will go back to exactly the way they were.

One cannot truly experience the world without coming back changed. As G.K. Chesterton said, “The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.”

I think that many people assume that I named my blog, “bythepathlesstraveled,” after Robert Frost’s famous quote, “Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by.” Certainly that thought was an influence, but the real quote that I appreciate more, and the one off of which I base my attitude, is one from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

This semester has been full of those moments — moments when I follow the trail only to glance sideways and, taking note of a speck almost unnoticeable, say, “I wonder what’s over there….”

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I could certainly ramble on about what I’ve “learned” through this semester or how much of an “integrative traveler” I’ve become, in the words of Richard Slimbach. But, aside from the little blip above, that’s not really my style. 😉

Instead, I’m going to leave my final thoughts on the trip up to you. I traveled Budapest one last time, collecting specific pictures of specific places or things. It’s up to you to “crack the code” — find what these pictures have in common or what they’re trying to communicate. Good luck!

By the way, if someone from Calvin College cracks this code before New Year’s Day, which also happens to be my birthday, I swear I’ll buy you lunch at Johnny’s. 🙂

Ready set GO!

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A bus stop.

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The southern railway station.

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The tram stop closest to where I live.

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The stop of origin of the busiest tram line in Europe.

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The metro stop after which a famous brand of TuroRudi is named.

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The suburban railway station to Szentendre.

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The street on which I live.

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The popular thermal baths created by the Ottoman Turks.

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A board directing visitors in the direction of the departing tram.

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The golden Latin script on the Basilica of Saint Stephen.

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The bus that runs to the immigration office and the Tropicarium.

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*****

Good luck! It’ll probably be a while before I post again, as I’m going to get some good ol’ R&R back home. December 19, 3:15AM — the day and time that will forever live in infamy as the day that I depart this great city for good.

Don’t be discouraged, though! I’ve got plenty of adventures abroad just waiting to happen in the next few months and years, including at least two trips to Japan! Stay tuned! And in the meantime, enjoy my January series of blogs, which will wind down my time in Europe with some travel tips for new travelers (and maybe some random stuff thrown in there too!). 😉

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