What Bucket List?

I will admit I had never before heard of the Széchenyi Medicinal Bath in Budapest before. And I wondered that the only thing from Hungary considered worthy of inclusion in Mini-Europe was a spa. I does look interesting though – maybe I will check it out in the next European vacation.

So this is what it comes down to. So many places. So little time. And a pandemic.

Every traveler has a list of “must-sees.” I’m not quite sure of the “must” part, but there are some places I would still like to visit.

Living in Germany for four years I thought I would cross some of those places off the list. My wife speaks highly of Prague and Berlin, but I have never been there. I’ve heard good things about Budapest and Tallinn, but haven’t made it there yet. First it was time, then the pandemic.

I had thought that living in Europe would open up the travel horizons. Work hard all week, spend the weekend somewhere exotic, taking advantage of cheap airfares.

That was the theory. In practice, more often than not the work schedule just didn’t permit it. My normal work week was Monday to Friday, but my wife, interacting with refuges, worked weekends. Frequently I would join her in that. We rarely found time for two days off in a row.

No complaints – we did move here to work, and you never know what a job will really be like until you start it. We did manage a couple of trips to Rome when our son and his wife lived there. And spent a winter weekend in Vienna. in 2018.

But that was it. We didn’t even travel in Germany. There just never seemed to be the time, given that we spent a month reconnecting in Canada each summer.

In early 2020, knowing that our time was limited and we would be leaving Europe sometime in the next few years, we reseolved to try a little harder to see a few new places. Then the pandemic hit. So much for that plan. Borders were closed. We couldn’t even travel to France – though we could see it from the hill behind out apartment.

So now we are saying our goodbyes. Our time left here can be counted in hours, and not many of those. No last minute trips, just last-minute packing. And more goodbyes.

Already we are planning for next year. If travel restrictions are lifted and the world returns to some sense of normalcy, then a trip to Europe is in order.

Of course then there will be the problem of balancing visits to new places with returning to see the friends we have made here the past four years. Once again I expect to have places on my list that we don’t get to – people will be a priority.

That is the way it should be.

So forget the bucket list. New places are nice to see, but in the grand scheme of things it is people that are important. Even this introvert knows that.


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