May 06, 2009

On Budapest

It already feels weeks ago since I was in Budapest, while in reality it's only been about 8 or 9 days. I haven't managed to write anything about it yet, and having seen so many other places in between I'm finding it difficult to think back to it. I wonder how people on a 6-month RTW do it - and not let each city go up into the next one. Or maybe that is what happens but no one wants to admit it...?

The weekend in Budapest started out with an important realisation: I had assumed we were seeing Hungarian friends of M. in Budapest. Until she said - on the airport transfer into the city - that it is kind of exceptional that two Pakistanis are living in Budapest. That's when something clicked: uhm, who exactly are you talking about?
So the boasting to my colleagues that I would see the 'real' Budapest didn't come true - or at least, not in the way I envisaged it. I haven't had one bite of Hungarian food either, but homemade Pakistani food tastes great.

It was still a very good weekend of course, with lots of sunshine and kilometres of walking the city and hearing stories from T and B to go with them. The city really is beautiful, something of an older Paris but with maybe a little more life to it. I think that's mostly because everything isn't as perfectly restored yet as it is in cities such as Paris.

The division into the two parts is interesting. I knew that it was Buda and Pest but hadn't realized the two sides are so different. Pest really is downtown, busy streets, lots of big buildings, long shopping streets - everything a city should have. Buda, across the river, has the green, the lush trees, the hills with castles and palaces - and also the posh areas to live in.

Thanks to friends of B & T we also found the funkiest teahouse possible, and a couple of very cool cafe's. One of which caused major deja-vu. I still have to figure out what caused it, it was surreal walking around Szimpla but I cannot figure out at all which city, which place was so much the same.

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