Budapest, the Sequel

On the way to Budapest Pete and I swim in Lake Balaton, the largest lake in Central Europe. Balaton was a detour on the cycle route Sam and I were following, one we didn’t take on our route out of Budapest. Pete and I will be back in that city soon, just as soon as we are done with our post-picnic relaxing in the sun.

Again I’m returning somewhere and it seems to erase the time in between. Where is Sam? Did I dream the past month?

Back in that same flat in Pest, things are the same, but different. It transpires that our host from before is having problems with his flatmates. There is a huge argument the night we arrive which centers around us and which room we should sleep in. I go to sleep with earplugs. Pete isn’t so lucky.

The next day things are better and we at least seem to be getting on with everyone here. It’s nice to be in a familiar place and among friends, even if they are fighting with one another.

The main reason we are here is for some seminars with Keith Dowman, the Dzogchen Master who is to lead the retreat we will soon be going on in the Hungarian countryside. I want to get a feel for what he’s like before we go.

I have to say that I find Keith harder to follow than James Low, who we heard talk while we were in Berlin. He assumes a lot of prior knowledge and throws Buddhist terms around without explaining them. After the talk one day we go to the pub for a drink with some of the others, including Keith. I spend a long time talking to one girl who was on the retreat last year and has now become good friends with Keith as a result of a “strong experience” she had there. It’s this conversation more than anything else that convinces me to go on the retreat.

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