The nearest* airport to get to Baba’s village, Kamyanytsa, was in Budapest so Dad, Joshua, and I flew in from our respective cities** and met in the airport.

We spent the next two days being tourists in Budapest. Noteably, Dad got a ticket from the transit police for skipping out on his fare.***

On the third day, very early in the morning, we boarded a train from Keleti station in Budapest to Košice, Slovakia. Our plan was to meet Matt and Marc**** on the fourth day in Košice and take a van with his friend Maxim to cross the border from Slovakia to Ukraine.

Dad before boarding the train at Keleti Station, Budapest, Hungary.

Dad before boarding the train at Keleti Station, Budapest, Hungary.


Our train car had 6 seats, one of which sat a man who did not stop talking for the entire 3.5 hour duration. Among the emptiness in the things he said, one singular thing stood out to me

“spend money on experiences, not things.”

Dad was doing his classic head-nodding. Joshua spent a lot of time looking out the window. The landscape was beautiful, varying between vast swaths of pastoral and intricate green overgrowth. It was like staring at a moving painting—there was a warm cast on everything as the sun was coming up. The clouds were streaky and feathery. Dotting the landscape was the occasional poppy flower.


* Most affordable

** Boston, Baltimore, Washington, D.C.

*** Doak!

*** Matt and Marc had been in Frankfurt at a chiropractic conference which was part of the reason the trip worked out in the first place.