It's always exciting to do things for the first time, and there have been many "firsts" for us recently: first visit to Hungary; first time in Budapest; first 'cruise' on the Danube; first taste of 'unicum" and first time meeting up with more virtual friends, as well as the pleasure of reunions with those we've met in the flesh before!
Where to start? Well, a while back some of our photography friends were talking online about meeting up in Budapest in October. At the time, we had no idea whether or not we could make it. However, when Steve's condition was confirmed as stable in September we thought it might be fun to join the party. When we met our friend Giuseppe in London shortly after Steve's assessment, he convinced us that we should join him in Budapest, along with others known only to us at that time by their names and images.
It was an amazing gathering of virtual friends from all over the world. As well as Giuseppe from Italy, we met Ralph from Switzerland, Isa from Germany, Carolyn and Gerry from California, Gustavo and Carmen from Mexico, Budi from Indonesia, and Agnes who lives in Budapest and co-ordinated the meet up. We were the UK contingent, along with Jenny from Windsor. We are almost neighbours in England, but it took the trip to Budapest to bring us together! And here we all are, having a feast on our first night to celebrate this wonderful occasion. Thank you Budi for sharing the photo!
Our five days in Budapest involved lots of eating and drinking with the group, including our introduction to unicum (a herbal digestive liqueur, which is the perfect finish to a tasty meal!)
Although we were meeting most people for the first time face-to-face, it felt like we were good friends from the start - how special is that? We would love to see you all again, where ever and when ever the next meet up is organised, subject of course to Steve's health. In the meantime, if any of our photography buddies are reading this post, we have a guest room and would be delighted to welcome you to Oxford if your travels bring you to the UK!
In between all the socialising, we managed to fit in some sight seeing - lots of walking; riding the trams, buses and metro, the funicular railway and the public transport boat service to see Budapest from the Danube.
We enjoyed spending time in the Szimpla Bar, one of Budapest's "ruinpubs" where the Sunday Farmers market was in full swing;
|Szimpla ruin pub|
|Tired after giving strangers lots of free "doggy hugs'|
|Street musician, Budapest|
|Street artist, Budapest|
|Relaxing by the Danube|
|Palace of the Arts, evening|
|Parliament building by night|
|Fisherman's Bastion, Buda|
|lunch at Buda Castle|
|On the Danube river bus|
|The "whale" CET building which will house events, bars and restaurants when it's finished|
|Foyer of the Palace of the Arts|
|Staircase, Palace of the Arts|
|Ziggurat building, the gallery of the National Theatre|
|The huge atrium at the Paris department store|
Less than 48 hours later and we were traveling again, this time to Bristol for an overnight stay with son Jack so that we could take part on the "24 hours in Bristol" photo shoot. More walking about.....Oh, our aching feet! But a good opportunity to enjoy some of Bristol's amazing graffiti and the harbourside area by day and by night.
|Wall art, Stokes Croft|
|Millennium Square, Bristol Harbourside|
|Millennium Square by night|
One of our fellow bloggers, Tess, mentioned today how you learn to plan three months at a time when you are a meso sufferer, and how much you can pack into that time window. With trips to Budapest and Bristol and meet ups with so many buddies, it feels like we have crammed a month into a week! However, it's good to be home and we need some time to catch up with the everyday stuff and news from the other meso warriors....not to mention all those photos to look at and process!
Big hugs to all our friends, especially those on chemo, waiting to start chemo, waiting for the results of chemo, or just having a tough time. We have been very lucky in recent months. Our thoughts are with those of you who have not been so fortunate. xx