The Last Book to Budapest

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by Tim Burdick on 29 August, 2015

Every summer, we need beach books to enjoy as we lie on the sand and soak up the sun. But, what is the perfect book to read on a plane, in a car (if you don’t get sick), on a boat or a train?

The good news was my five day vacation to visit Budapest and attend the Sziget music festival. Our family would take a train. The seven hour journey would be spent reading and relaxing. The bad news was: Czech rail tickets sold out! WHAT! Our evening turned into a headache as Katka attempted to piece together a route to Budapest. Each time, the Czech rail web page blocked our journey plans. THEY ARE Evil!


In the morning, Katka suggested, “Let’s drive. It’s cheap, less headaches. We can bring all of Oliver’s stuff.” Sigh, yes it would be easier, but she would drive without any relaxing couple time. In the backseat, I would be the navigator, Oliver’s formula and water provider the entire 500 km to Budapest.


Our Hungarian adventure started at 8 am. Being in the car with my wife, son, and good books, all three together is a challenge because you want to talk to everyone or read. This was a tough choice. Until we got out of Prague, I chatted with Katka and dangled a rattle over Oliver and made him giggle. Then, he fell asleep and I finished reading Son of Neptune. Near Brno, as I was feeding my squirmy son, the curse struck: a traffic jam! FLAT TIRE! The next two hours were spent along side of the road or in a garage- fixing a tire. After a quick lunch, I slept through most of our journey through Slovakia (seriously, it’s a small country).

From the Hungarian border to Budapest, it was 178 km of corn fields, wind mills and occasionally patches of dried, dead husks of sun flowers. Oliver slept most of the way and I read a few pages of The Martian at a time (Yes, it’s true. Babies sleep a lot). Taking breaks to talk with Katka (if I didn’t risk waking him) made the trip go much faster although Oliver didn’t enjoy his car seat too much and we needed to stop along the way.

Finally, we made it to Budapest which was a maze of tunnels, side streets, and reconstructed road ways. But, we reached our hotel! It was a miracle. I don’t know how, but I got to chapter 6 of The Martian before I collapsed and slept for 9 hours.

What a trip!

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