I don’t want to go to Budapest.

There, I’ve said it.

I feel the pressure is mounting on me: Karen wants to go. Her family wants to go. My friends want to go.


I am a learned man, but if truth be told at this very moment in time, I could not tell you for sure where Budapest is. My guess is Hungary, but I can’t tell you where Hungary is, either.

As regular readers know, I’ve traveled extensively on Grateful Dead tours. But I’m pretty certain the Dead never played Budapest — now that would have really been a long strange trip.

I think there are Cossacks in Budapest, Cossacks who battle Hassocks on horseback and camels and people who wear turbines on their heads.

My preferred vacation destination would be the “’70s rock and romance cruise” on the Celebrity Infinity beginning February 15. There are concerts from 10 AM until midnight.

Check this out, seriously: Todd Rundgren, Randy Bachman, Cheap Trick, John Lodge of the Moody Blues, Don Felder of the Eagles, and America, just to name a few. That’s right, we would literally be able to sing along with “been to the dessert on a rock with no pain I ain’t got time to give you Lorraine” and all the other hits from the 1970s.

You say Budapest? This cruise starts off in Miami and goes to (gasp) Samana and Labadee, which are like Budapest except the donkeys are toilet trained. The cruise ship also stops at the Dominican Republic, where we can drop our kids off to live in cages (see how they like it) so we can get stoned out of our minds for a week without worrying about them.

Why go to Budapest? “The culture and the arts,” Karen said.

Want culture? Perhaps she didn’t notice Edgar Winter was booked on the cruise. The last time I saw Winter he weighed about 73 pounds and he had the skinniest arms I’ve ever seen. But he played a mean blues guitar. His tattoos weighed more than his torso. That was 40 years ago.

There will be karaoke, which is funny when you think about it, and “Dancing with the Stars” (I hope I can get a slow dance with Edgar — for his sake) and of course, all-you-can-eat goodies like brownies, hemp sandwiches, Nutella, PB& J, and the like. You know, gourmet stuff.

Rita Coolidge will be there. And with Bachman there, you can be quite sure we’ll be “Taking Care of Business!”

According to the travel guide, here are the top things to do in Budapest (note Rita Coolidge is not even on the list):

Cruise the Danube River

Rest legs on Chassock

Go Truckin’ on Bourbon Street

Make a list of all the subtle nuances that make Austria, Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova and, of course, Hungary, so unique yet so alike at the same time.

Did I mention Marrakesh?

I’ve been to a lot of big cities in America. In most of them I checked into a hotel, went about my business (or pleasure), and moved onto the next joint. I don’t miss the road. I like to wake up in my own bed. If I ever do decide I want to travel though, I’m gonna do it in the Volkswagen van. Isn’t that the trend?

I remember once when I was a bartender, a patron was discussing a restaurant she favored in Paris and I noted it sounded like a similar place in Florence. After discussing the menus for a while, she left. “I didn’t know you were in Florence, Murph,” a guy at the bar remarked. “I haven’t been to Paris, either,” I answered. Truth is the only foreign country I’ve been to is Mexico (Cancun), and my first three meals were at the Hard Rock Café, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and Taco Bell. I feel, I gained a real understanding of the people and the culture.

Someday I’ll have a bucket list — you know, a list of things I want to do before I die. I will try to put “visit Budapest” on the list, but I’m pretty sure it will be far below Rita Coolidge.

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