I really hate the rain.
My first two days in Budapest the weather was fabulous – like Summer in California – but ever since then it’s been absolutely miserable. My first night out was a blast, after which I’ve scarcely met anyone. I have to say – for as promising as my arrival in this city looked, the experience has thus far turned out to be far less than I’d hoped.
Perhaps a big part of it is the fact that although I am staying in a student dorm, it’s actually been quite a bit more difficult to make friends here than I’d imagined. Normally when I show up in a hostel it’s only minutes before I find other travelers to join me for a drink or a night out in the city, but here everyone seems to have their social circles figured out – and not be particularly interested in someone new. I suppose it could be considered a good thing, as it’ll keep me focused on getting some work done before the next major leg of travel begins, but I must admit that it has felt a bit lonely at times. Which is strange, because I honestly can’t remember the last time I’ve felt lonely on a trip. People often ask me if it’s lonely to travel alone, and my answer is always a resounding “no!” – but here, it has been.
I guess I’m just a social creature, and finding myself in a foreign city on a Saturday night with nobody to party with just feels a bit…off 😛
The other issue with this particular lodging is that, because it isn’t really a hostel, it’s been exceedingly difficult to get information about anything – which bus to take, where to do laundry, whether or not a museum is opened, etc. Only one of the five people I’ve seen at the front desk understands any English at all, and since he’s just a University employee he doesn’t really know much about touristic concerns anyway. Whereas hostel employees are typically full of helpful insights about a city, sometimes even joining the travelers for a bit of local fun, these guys are simply there to keep an eye on the dorm’s security. “Here’s your key, have a nice day.” That’s about it.
But more than all that, by far the biggest problem has been the dismal weather. I just really don’t like rain. It makes me S.A.D. I know loads of friends who prefer cold, wet weather – but personally I just don’t get it. Places that are supposed to be bustling outdoors hangouts are abandoned, smiling people in shorts and flipflops are replaced with shivering locals bundled from head to toe, chirping birds are replaced by soaked jeans and muddy shoes. Public parks, usually full of frisbee games and leisurely picnics, are utterly empty. Outdoor concerts are canceled and pool centers are closed. It just makes everything so much less fun. Or nonexistent. Even the few locals I do know have been complaining virtually nonstop – “Wtf is this, it’s May, where’s the beach weather?? I’ve been sitting on the couch watching TV for days now!”
The sad thing is that unlike them, I don’t have the luxury of sitting here for weeks waiting for the opportunity to do something. Soon I’ll have to leave, and I really don’t want my entire visit to be spent indoors or soaking wet. Part of the reason I came to Europe in the first place was to get the energetic summer vibe. But I just haven’t felt it.
Damn this rain.
Anyway, I’ve been here for five days now and haven’t seen a single sight – so I suppose no matter what I should ride it out at least until the rain subsides enough to see something. My next planned stop is Slovenia, followed by Croatia – and the whole point of Croatia is beautiful island beaches; “The New Greece,” as it’s often called. Rain there would be far more crippling even than here, an inland concrete metropolis.
I just pray this doesn’t continue to follow me, because I’ve already dealt with unexpectedly poor weather in Amsterdam and Paris. I’ve been on the road for more than a month now and it’s really time for this BS to stop.