The last 2 days have just been go, go, go. Finding the time of day to stop and consolidate my thoughts wasn’t possible, so I have to combine Day 83 and Day 84 together in a single post.
After a great meal on Day 82, we woke up early to grab breakfast at the hotel and make our way to a series of work meetings. The heavy humidity hit us like a wall. We decided that we would play it safe and take a taxi. Schlepping luggage on crammed public trams during rush-hour would not have been a very easy way to start the day. Granted, we replaced that with a taxi driver who didn’t seem to care to pay attention to the road very much and by extension couldn’t be bothered about little things like red lights. To our benefit, we arrived 20 minutes earlier than expected.
After a long and productive set of meetings, we broke for the day. We decided to go sight-seeing around Budapest with whatever limited time that we had (approx. 4 hours). I had the added challenge of not being able to check-in through the Eurowings app or website, so we had to advance our timetable slightly.
Oh my gosh. I am in love with Budapest. Dubbed the “Paris of the East”, it truly felt like I was walking down a Rue in Paris. The architecture styles of buildings in Budapest are an eclectic mix of Neoclassical, Baroque, Gothic, Renaissance, and more. I’ve never had more fun looking at buildings.
I also didn’t realize how large the Danube River actually is. We only had a chance to see it at night the night before. Crossing the bridge by foot, I was amazed at how wide the river is. We got off the bridge as quickly as we could though, because the heat from the sun was burning our necks. We escaped via a tram that was passing through and made our way to a public 24-hour locker storage to store our bags to lighten the load.
After meandering through the city streets, we eventually popped our heads inside of St. Stephen’s Basilica. Another “Oh my gosh” moment. It was beautiful inside. We sat down for a few minutes to oooh and awe at the paintings and fixtures across the interior walls and ceilings. An usher requested us to exit just before the evening mass started. As we left the basilica, we realized that we entered through a back entrance, completely bypassing the ticket line for entry. Whoops.
After walking to the edge of the Danube, the group split up. One group (including me) wanted to grab a beer, while the other group wanted to cross to the other side. After enjoying a nice cold beer on a very hot and sweaty day, we walk-sprinted back to the lockers to grab our bags before heading to the airport. We landed in Stuttgart at about 12:00AM.
I’m sad that I didn’t get to explore Budapest longer, but I am definitely coming back again.
Today was the last workshop scheduled as a team. Fighting my grogginess from the late night arrival, I wanted to see everyone in person one last time before I head back to the Sunnyvale next Wednesday. We needed to cover some important technical topics, which started with making sure our common / fundamental understanding was in place. I honestly underestimated how much time we would need for the first task of the day. What I thought would be 30 minutes ended up taking 3 hours, but we definitely needed that consensus because so many things build on it. I personally walked away from that session having a better technical understanding for the next set of targets we need to hit. I’m glad that we did it. Suffering through the heat with no AC, we charged into follow-up topics in the afternoon after lunch. Taking things back to fundamentals helped us to align again. By the end of the day, we didn’t cover everything that was planned, but I think it was a good opportunity to get everyone back into one room and to reiterate targets and goals with the added progress made over the last few weeks. I’m a strong believer in getting to a white board as quickly as possible. Truthfully, this workshop invalidated some of the assumptions and misunderstandings I myself had about certain targets, but I’m glad that the rest of the team was able to fill me in, despite my incessant questioning and prodding. All in all, I was really happy that we got a chance to have everyone in the same again.
After the workshop and after saying good-byes to team members who I won’t be able to see before leaving next Wednesday, I got home, took a shower, and went to Hans im Glück for a burger. My legs felt really heavy on the walk back home as my body was preparing itself to sleep. I plopped myself on the couch and woke up an hour later before moving to my bed.
The last 2 days have been jam-packed. My head is filled with so many things currently that I’ll need to spend some time summarizing and writing things down today. This trip has been nothing short of amazing.
Frieden und Liebe ❤️ (translation: peace and love)