Reflections On A Week In Budapest
Budapest is beautiful. Old, a bit dirty but beautiful.
I had the good fortune to spend a semester abroad in college many moons ago. During that time I also had the good fortune to be able to visit Budapest. My how things have changed! I was in Amsterdam last month, I had also been there during college and I thought that had changed. Well the change in Budapest blows the change in Amsterdam out of the water. Like I said it has been a very long time since I have been here and it’s hard to imagine the ways in which a city can change over time.
I lived in Philadelphia for most of my adult life, bought a house there in Fishtown, and moved to Los Angeles. We kept the house and we go back to visit at least once a year. Over the past 6 years the change in the neighborhood has made it almost unrecognizable. So it should be no surprise what over double that will look like. Budapest feels really big, a lot bigger than Amsterdam, and I find it to be much more urban and gritty. It is such a vibrant city, it is densely packed with amazingly old buildings, castles, houses of government, apartments, bars and restaurants.
After only a week here, I feel like I have a good sense of direction in the city. I however do not have a good sense of the Language. I was worried that this would be really isolating, but it turns out so many people speak English. I am trying my best to at least learn the sounds of the alphabet so that I can speak a few phrases with the people I meet. On that subject the people have been very nice. Well the younger people. I’ve met several people out at the bars that I think we’ll hang out with again. They are all very interested in engaging and learning about us and our travels. The older people on the other hand, are very skeptical of us and not to eager to engage. This is to be expected, I just try to be as cheery as possible and say köszönöm (thank you) as often as possible.
As you can see in the photos our apartment is adorable. We rented it, as we will with each city on Airbnb. You can check it out and rent it HERE . I did, as I always do, move things around to make the space more homey. The apartment is in a big old apartment complex. Pretty much exactly what you would expect for an old European building. Very tall ceilings, concrete floors, stairs and walls. The space feels open and large even though it’s a mid sized apartment. The kitchen has everything you might need to cook a nice meal and the bedroom is cozy. Maybe I am just lucky but I can feel at home almost immediately in new spaces, and that holds true for this one.
We are in a great location as well. The apartment is located in the old Jewish quarter, where all of the popular ruin pubs are. More on those coming up. We are a 5 minute walk from the Opera house, we have great restaurants right on our block. There are grocery and drug stores a plenty. Have to say I am two for two at picking places to stay, hoping the trend continues.