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This post is about a 12km walk within Budapest. My friend Marisha aka Brad has come to the rescue, and we’re taking it real slow.

And then the day came. I didn’t feel ready yet, but maybe I just didn’t know what being “ready” was supposed to actually feel like. My back hurt, and so did my foot, I was constantly nervous, and during the nights leading up to this day I had kept waking up, confused and terrified, not knowing where I was.

Brad to the rescue

I felt relieved when I heard that my friend Marisha had decided to join me for a little while. She and I had become good friends in Georgia a few years earlier, and my cats Coco, Toto, and Gogra were living with her in Tbilisi.

We referred to each other as Brad, a mock-word that came from “brat”, Russian for “bro”. We were the Brads, and obviously we were obsessed with the city of Bratislava in Slovakia. If only we could walk there together!

why’d you leave the keys upon the table?

Leaving Budapest ended up feeling a bit like leaving Beijing. When I explained to the landlord that I wanted to vacate the apartment this Thursday, he told me something that I had heard before.ย “Just leave the keys on the table!” he said, which were the exact same words my landlord in Beijing had used 16 years earlier.

A different world in a different era.

So Brad and I loaded up the Caboose, strapped the new camping chair on top of it, and then I went back into the apartment and left the keys upon the table.


The sky was friendly and the city seemed calm. We walked north, crossed the Danube on the Margaret Bridge, and then we continued on our northbound path.

My physical therapist had told me to go easy on myself, especially in the beginning. I was supposed to walk only about ten kilometers each day, to take long lunch breaks during which I would do my stretches, and to avoid camping whenever possible.

Of course ten kilometers meant that one day of walking wouldn’t even get us out of Budapest. We made it to the outskirts, though. First the fancy facades of the old town gave way to something that had more of a suburban vibe to it. Then everything was crushed by blocks of grey prefab buildings. And then it was suburban again.

We took our long lunch break in a small park, where I released the power of the camping chair. I dutifully did my stretches, and after some bread with eggplant spread I actually managed to get in a half hour of sleep. Everything hurt, but not much more than usual.

Then we walked the rest.


the walk within Budapest:

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