Last month I booked a last-minute ticket to Budapest and Vienna for my spring break, and it’s nothing short of a miracle that I actually boarded the plane last week. Why? Well, I accidentally booked the ticket under Cocoa instead of my legal name (which I haven’t gone by in a very long time, so it was an honest mistake). The sole reason I was allowed to leave Florence was that a professor of mine was gracious enough to vouch for my identity at the airport. Lufthansa still couldn’t change the name on the ticket and I was told I might get questioned in another airport, but surprisingly I didn’t run into trouble. I didn’t even know these things were possible.
Another factor working against me was the fact that, at the time, I hadn’t gotten a copy of my Italian permit of stay. For those fortunate enough to have never needed to register with the italian questura, it’s a long and frankly ridiculous process to get a permesso di soggiorno, even with the backing of a school. Think the DMV except about 17 times more tortuous and staffed by angry government officials with whom you can only sort of communicate with. I filed for my permesso at the end of last year, and one would think that would be the difficult part. However, for some reason, the real issue was returning to the questura just to pick up one simple ID card. I tried to do this a few days before I left but had no luck; this past Thursday I went back with more success. It was an eight hour ordeal, but… at least I’m legal now? Unlike when I crossed national borders multiple times two weeks ago and somehow no one bothered to check my passport.
I mean, how sketchy would that be? Some random girl traveling with a ticket booked under someone else’s name and no permit of stay? I swear I’m usually not this much of a mess when I travel.
Actually, that’s a lie. I’m always a total mess when I travel.
Anyways, back to the point: Budapest and Vienna. When I visit a new place, I have a tendency to put a lot of pressure on myself to take amazing photos while I’m there, sometimes to the extent that it takes away from my enjoyment of the city. It’s a habit I’m trying to break, so this time, I refused to take a photo of a single landmark and spent the vast majority of my time sitting in cafes. It was an excellent life choice. Italy doesn’t have a cafe culture like Hungary or Austria or even America with our overabundance of Starbucks on every corner. Here, you drink your espresso down like medicine while standing at the bar and go about your day. However, in Austria and Hungary, you are allowed (if not encouraged) to stay a while and linger over your beverage without fear of getting any dirty looks from the barista. Over this little trip, I drank an absurd amount of coffee and read as many books as I could. Admittedly, I also took a lot of pictures… just not of castles or landmarks. There are enough photos of Schonbrunn palace in the world.
So, here are some pictures from the trip I risked getting detained on a layover in Germany for. Thankfully that detainment never actually happened, but even if it had... maybe this trip would have been worth it? (Okay, I can't say that with certainty. If getting detained in an airport is anything like the Italian questura, I definitely would have preferred to stay home.)