Routes of Passage

budapest1Someone getting to know a new country may go through many rites of passage, which sometimes take the form of routes. For example, it’s important to learn how to take public transportation from the airport to your destination. Why? It’s about one-tenth the cost of a cab, it’s more fun, and once you know how to do it, it’s easy (or can be). So I was excited to take the bus to the Budapest city center.I was going to take the metro from Astoria to Keleti, but I walked instead. This picture, taken from the bus, gives a sense of the ride.

Another important route has been vertical, through a glass elevator at the Baross City Hotel. When I ride, I feel swept up into an unassuming elegance. The Baross is low-key, as far as hotels go–comfortable but not fancy, gracious but not unctuous, and one of my favorite hotels yet. It seems to hold several eras simultaneously, through its neoclassical architecture, mechanical and electrical engineering, internet connections, and daily comings and goings. Here I am not sure what the rite of passage means, or where the route may take me, other than up and down in glass–but I’m enjoying it. I have some jet lag but must get some more sleep, as I leave for Szolnok early in the morning.