I travelled from Sered, Slovakia to Budapest, Hungary by train. And I found myself in the absolutely massive Budapest on Wednesday afternoon. To be honest, I was not impressed with the city. Despite the many buildings with impressive architecture, there were many that need attention and care, as they look run down and it is rather saddening. I also found that Budapest has a massive noise pollution, as there are sirens from ambulances, police cars and fire trucks every 5 minutes, the sound bounces between the buildings for miles and miles. Additionally people honk their cars much more here than in the UK. This made me feel as if the city is in a never ending crisis. I also found that there are so many smells that can hit you in the nose, from food, through car emissions to excrements – all of this can be across 5 metres.
The other thing that definitely has had an impact on my experience of Budapest is the weather. If people say that the English weather is unpredictable, I would say that Budapest’s weather thew me off significantly, as it kept changing rapidly for most of my stay.
I ended up exploring Pest more than Buda, as I was overwhelmed by how big the city is, how much there was to see and do. So the change from Sered to Budapest was substantial and I did not feel like I can cope with it as smoothly as other people can. This did bring my mood down and I regretted leaving the peace of Sered for the havoc of Budapest. Big cities have this effect on me, I could once again reflect on the fact that I am more of a nature person and appreciate open spaces, green areas, peace and harmony more than the rush, the buzz and the constant motion in big cities.
I arrived on Wednesday afternoon, but although I wasn’t tired and could have gone to explore the city, I chose to spend time with my Couchsurfing host Virgil at home, just chilling out and chatting. In the evening there was a big storm, with lightnings, strong wind, rain, and thunders. We stood at the window, poking our heads out, discussing strange, controversial topics, and admiring the insane storm outside.
I started the day bright and early, as I went to the shop to buy fruit and yoghurt to make my host Virgil a healthy breakfast of his choice, and spin the wheel and continue the kindness I experienced in Sered by my host Dado and in Prague by my host Dan and his family. Soon after breakfast I went out to see the city. I walked towards inner city, got myself a coffee and continued my walk to and across the river Dunabe. The views from the bridges were nice, but no where near as impressive as in Prague.
I walked up to the Citadelle and sat down to relax with the views of the city in front of me. This did not really improve my gloomy mood…but I didn’t really know what to do next so I sat there for a while, staring into the distance, being somewhere even further lost in my thoughts…until a man in his 40 asked me if he can sit on the bench too, then started a conversation once he had my agreement to share the bench. We ended up chatting for a while before we walked to town and sat for dinner together. I found him to be an interesting person, an Indian who has been living in Dubai for many years and has established a life between his home and host countries that seemed to be balanced and he appeared satisfied with.
By 9pm I was tired, so I decided to go home and rest.
Since I did need a hair cut, I went to a hairdressers salon, rightfully more terrified by hairdressers than dentists…as I have had so little good experience of walking out of a hair dressers salon comfortable and happy with what has been done to me – despite my clear instructions accompanied by actual pictures. Needless to say once again I walked out with something very different to what I actually wanted – and I admit it, I was and still am angry that despite being a client who has gone to receive a service I still need to pay for the atrocity done to my hair…
Disappointed and grumpy once again I took off to the biggest or most known hot springs bath in town. On my way there I was contacted by two couchsurfers who were up for joining me. We met up, and went for lunch at a Turkish cafe before the baths. I guess I should mention that the few times I ate out I found it to be somewhat expensive and not that impressive. I might have been at the wrong places – or as they call them tourist traps, but even during my week in south west Hungary with Angloville I didn’t find the food that good. I wonder if it’s a standard issue or a tourist issue.
It was really interesting to spend time with the guys I met via hangouts, they were both in their early 20s, both have been brought up in India, but one of them was originally from Afganistan… It was interesting how he identified as Indian and was a hindu. As someone who is fairly confused when it comes to national and cultural identification, I felt the experience of speaking to him really interesting and enlightening.
We had fun in the pools, playing games and discussing deep topics. As I mentioned the weather had its moment of random rain, enough to wet our towels. It was about 8pm when we left the baths, and I bailed on their invitation to join the party at their hostel later on that evening… I feel like a pensioner at times like this. So I went back to Virgil’s flat to spend the evening writing for my blog.
It was so difficult to get out of bed this morning, I felt so sleepy and tired, but it was the day of the Angloville tour of Budapest, as well as an opportunity to meet some of the other participants, so I didn’t want to miss out. The tour lasted a few hours, and we saw some good architecture and buildings I haven’t made an effort to see in the previous days, which was good. It was so hot that being in the sun for too long just felt like the way to get a heat stroke, so I kept going off to hide in the shades. After the tour we had a nice lunch and discussed the Angloville program.
People planned how to spend their evening and considered going to bars and clubs, but guess what – I bailed once again. Instead I wondered around town for a couple of more hours, observed the planes taking part in the RedBull airrace and went home to write, pack my luggage and sleep.
I was happy to be leaving Budapest- going someplace in the middle of nowhere.