OK, so as it turned out a 3 hour delay wasn’t the end of the story – in fact my flight departed six hours late, so I got to spend the whole day waiting and in transit.
Ah well, at least I made it. I am officially in Budapest.
It could not feel more different from Paris.
Replacing Paris’ pristine museum-like feel, where every block contains a giant carved statue, gold-tipped wrought iron gate, massive and ornate building, or something equally attractive, Budapest looks very…well…I guess “raw” would be an appropriate word. Buildings look well lived-in, walls are overwhelmingly covered in graffitti, and roads have clearly cracked and been patched numerous times over. Outside of central Pest most of the architecture is plain and uninteresting, built for function rather than decoration, and dozens of construction cranes dot the skyline, giving it a far more industrial feel.
But at always, it’s great to be somewhere new 🙂
I should mention that I actually have visited Budapest before, during a month-long European backpacking trip in college (see video here). But it was only for a few hours, just enough time to stroll around the area immediately surrounding the train station and have a quick cup of coffee. This time my plan was to use it as a midway break in the action – a place where, for far less cost than Paris or Amsterdam, I could spend a couple weeks catching up on blogs, working, and preparing for the upcoming Eastern European leg of my trip.
The lodging I’d prepared for the duration of my stay was a private room in the dorms at BME, the Budapest University of Technology and Economics. There, for just under $20 per night, I’d have a quiet place to work, private bathroom, refrigerator, and access to all the facilities of, well, a student dorm.
When I first arrived and checked into my room I was happy beyond description. Although the old and dilapidated building was a far cry from the newly renovated Le Montclaire Hostel in Paris, living on a university campus meant fun young locals to hang out with on the weekends – there’s even a pub right inside the building, less than 50 yards from my door. And while I recently mentioned being somewhat underwhelmed by the women in Paris, I have to say that here it’s even better than Holland – quite a lot better, in fact. Of course that could just be because I’m on campus and 95% of the people I’ve seen are in their 20’s – but in any case it definitely feels nice to be back in the University vibe.
Oh, and the weather feels exactly like Los Angeles: tanktops, flipflops, and not a cloud in the sky.
Yeesh, it’s about time 🙂