Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The most beautiful city in Europe

Note: This was written more than a year ago - how time flies!

Current Location: on the train heading towards Zagreb, Croatia

Yes, you would be surprised that I am not talking about Paris or London or anything like that. In any case, I have yet to get myself there to Paris so I wouldn't know but I have a feeling while I might enjoy these great cities in the western part of Europe, one city will remain enchanting to me and that is Budapest. Learning to pronounce the name itself is already beautiful - 'pest' is not actually pest but pesh. I also learnt that it is basically two city called Buda and Pest coming together but divided by a beautiful river called Danube - pronounced as 'danoob' and not 'danubeh'.

I arrived in Pest late in the evening after a long drive from Cluj due to failing to secure any earlier tickets at all thanks to a rather famous music festival called Sziget - not that I know anything about it but that hiked up the prices of the dorm bed from €9 to €14. That's the thing about Europe in the summer - the music festivals. There's one called Rainbow which is like a more hippie version near Cluj when I was there. I am so used to buying tickets last minute in the Balkans or just getting it on board that I took for granted that soon enough I will be spending my time in countries with a lot of tourist and even my Sept tickets in Italy are crazily running out (Vatican tour, boat to Venice etc).

Anyway, this post isn't about that but rather for Budapest. I have seen the pictures and promptly impressed with it and for those rare times that I wasn't disappointed at all. The hostel was disappointing because it was so big in numbers that it was more like a hotel. But I was lucky to score a bed with a Couchsurfing host and I move to his place the next day after doing a free city walking tour and lunch with a girl whom I met there. We even went to the train station together to get tickets which was another circus because the music festival was ending and everyone is looking to leave.

Meeting my host was indeed interesting - he took me to a thermal bath which is rather a famous pastime for the Hungarians. Aside from the legacy of the Roman and Ottomans, Hungary has natural spring water that made their tap water safe and delicious to drink. But all said and done, I really had a good time here, finally finding a safe haven at my amazing host's place and finding some local to talk to about travel, life and such. As always, I was very sorry to leave. It was way too short and I need to be back

Yes, Budapest I was and still is madly in love with you.

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