Nom de Plumage

October 15, 2012

The Wise Man of Budapest


Several years ago, I did something so out of character, hoping to find answers to my my life’s purpose and direction. I was in a depressed state and needed help. So, I turned to a tarot reader. I have never been to one prior and so I had no expectation of what to expect. Maybe, this was not going to be the answer, but I needed all the help I could get. She was a lovely woman and made me feel at ease. Her description of my character, was spot on, but what I really needed to know was where to next? She emphatically kept saying that I need to travel (which I have done) and secondly, that I will a man who is ‘king of the mind”. Why is this introduction so important? You will see.

My story continues……..

Warren arrived early with the promise of showing me the sights of Budapest. I explained to him that my camera had just recently died in Italy and I was therefore without one and vey upset that I would not be able to capture the beauty of Budapest. He was very kind to offer his fancy Canon camera for the day. So, it is thanks to him that I have some photo’s and what’s more important is that the photo’s are sublime. Amazing what a great quality  (and expensive) camera will do.


What I would really like to do, is write down the amazing stories that Warren related to me about his life. But I cannot because they are not my stories, nor is it my life and therefore I have no right. Plus he promised me a signed  copy of his biography.What I can write, is that Warren is a photographer, who left Australia at a young age to pursue his dream. He has seen the ravages of war in raw and Afghanistan and miraculously survived the 2004 Tsunami and remained to help with the relief effort. He has met inspirational people and done some amazing humanitarian work.This is all but a snippet of this mans amazing life. Only in his early forties, he has lived the life of two men. I have never felt so overwhelmed and insignificant, as I did then. My life is so boring compared to his.

Exploring a new city through the lenses of a photographer, he was able to show me the beauty in everything. An old abandoned Turkish Bath, is nothing but crumbling rubble and yet Warren made me see the beauty in the old wooden doors and beautiful stone walls. Facades on old buildings that I would otherwise walked past, he opened my eyes to the scars of WW2 and the bullet holes left deep in the walls and in the memories of many. Through his love of humanity, I would see the homeless not as ugly drunks, but people with humour and intelligence.


There is nothing more compelling than to walk the sights of Budapest with your tour guide, who is actually a foreigner and yet can relate with passion and conviction, the history of his new country. Warren could relate tales and show me sights that no guide book would mention and for that, I felt very privileged. We went to St Stephen‘s Bastion, a symbol of beauty and history that overlooks the city below. Gellert Hill is perfectly situated high above the city and here the outlook over the whole city was breathtaking. But below within the caves of Gellert Hill, the homeless dwell, out of sight. The weather cooled dramatically so high up and I was cold even though I wore a thick jacket with a scarf. But Warren, was dressed in shorts and T-shirt. I know not what kind of blood pumps through his veins, but I wish I had some because my hands and feet are perpetually cold all year round.


After all the walking and talking, Warren did promise  lunch – albeit a late one, the mother of all creations – langos. How can I describe this icon that all Hungarians love. Forget Goulash being the national dish, this should be the national dish. In a nondescript street, in an obscure little shop, is one man who makes langos. How to describe this delight? It is the fatty fuel that late night drinkers need to stop their cravings, it is the national food that all Hungarians salivate over and it is something that all tourists should experience. It is all things fatty and delicious. Savoury dough, flattened and deep fried to a golden fluffy crisp the size of a small dinner plate, then laden with fresh garlic, sour cream and grated cheese. It is disgustingly delicious. But, I am ashamed to write, that I could barely eat three quarters of this monstrosity, as it sunk straight to the bottom of my stomach and just sat there. I did not eat for the rest of the day, but it was so worth it!

To end, I would like to share an unbelievable moment in this day. Warren and I spoke of many things in our lives and I related many things about me. But when we stood overlooking Budapest below, Warren asked me the most profound and life changing question. “What am I going to do about my writing?” I stood in disbelief because of everything that I have mentioned about my life, I never mentioned my dream of becoming a writer. I asked him how he knew and he replied that everything about me is writing. I speak writing. Nobody has ever observed that or even told me that. It is thanks to Warren, that I am writing this blog and relating my journey for people to read. My journey is not more special than the countless travellers that have come before or after me, but it is my journey and that is why is is special. He made me realise that and through his encouragement and belief, I have started to write.

So to go back to the beginning of this blog. I mentioned that the tarot reader said I would meet a man who was “king of the mind”. Well………. I will let you be the judge.

To you my friend……..thank you.



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