Beautiful Budapest

My first stop in what I termed in one of my careless Facebook updates, “My European Conquest”, was Budapest. I started out with very superficial knowledge about the city. It is the capital of Hungary, it is the capital of baths and spas, and it has a beautiful Parliament. When I entered the train that would take me to Budapest, all I could say to myself was “I’m travelling”. ‘Travelling’ includes all things special for me. The moment I stepped out of the subway and onto the open in the city, I knew it was special. All places have a soul and if you’re receptive enough, you can check if it is congruous with you in a jiffy. The three days I spent in Budapest are so special that I am sure the sight and memories of the place will linger on for very long. And, by virtue of the DSLR camera that I have finally managed to grasp, the sights the place offered to me will stay on, though in miniatures. Pictures are of course the best souvenirs. They are saturated with memories. When memory fails, look at the relevant picture to let the memories flood back.

Budapest is an architectural marvel. Baroque, Eclectic, Rococo, art-nouveau all manifesting their majestic best in a single city can be overwhelming and can induce speechlessness. Separated by the river Danube, Buda and Pest are two very different entities of a single city. While Buda has a rocky and uneven terrain studded with structures more traditional, Pest lies on plain land and hence easier to negotiate. Pest is a blend of ancient and modern, a mix so perfect.

 

The River Danube, with Buda on the left and Pest on the right.

We were five of us who had travelled to Budapest. While two of us, Nasser and me had our hostel in Pest, our friends were at a hostel across the river in Buda. Technology failed and the two groups failed to communicate and hence meet despite being in the same city. That is a hint towards how separated Buda and Pest are despite being one. The two and a half days that we spent in Budapest, we walked as much as we could and at times even pushed ourselves. We got lost a number of times but always managed to find our way back to familiar places. After all, isn’t getting lost the best way to find oneself! Most of the times our incentive to the long walks would be “grand meals” that we would promise ourselves. The food touched my soul. There were so many options that I felt helpless and miserable when I had to make the decision; and i’m quite sure Nasser felt the same way when he passed on the baton to me. I still believe his claim that I “needed practice at decision-making” was actually just convenient for him! I disliked the thought of having to miss out on ‘the other option’ and being the reason for it! Since we shared immense interest in food, we ended up blowing up an indecent amount of money over food. We both agreed that it made no sense to travel to Hungary to eat hot-dogs and sandwiches to save money for other things. What ‘other things’, we asked!

The Hungarian Goulash has a ‘family-meal’ feel to it
My first meal in Budapest. How i wish it would never finish! ‘Pike perch fillet with dil shrimp ragout served with parsley potatoes.’

Sailing on the boat down the river Danube was the highlight of the trip. We had to make a short race against time to catch the last boat of the evening; the gates closed right at my heels. What followed was a 30 minute dream. Passing under the bridges and sailing past the Hungarian parliament is a feeling to which words can’t do justice. All I know is, I kept my senses alert to be able to absorb the cool river breeze and all the shapes and colours available in sight. The Parliament is majestic.

 

Colours.

As the sun began to set, it bled bright and intriguing colours all across the sky, over the structures on the either side of the river and on the river. The way all of them reciprocated to the setting sun almost made it look like a conversation! The boat left us at the Margaret Island, which is in the middle of the Danube. We walked along the banks of the river until the sun had set and night had taken over. The night lights lit up and like magic the city turned golden against the royal-blue sky. It left me gasping for air. I gave up and sat under the bridge, staring at the perfect frame it provided for the Parliament on one side and the castle on the other side of the river. The Chain Bridge looked like a gorgeous gold necklace, and the Parliament was of course astonishingly enchanting.

 

That magical moment. The Hungarian Parliament and the Chain Bridge.

I repeatedly mention the parliament because, it demands that. I took many pictures of it, from different angles, with different frames, just to remind myself of how mystified I was at that moment. I would strongly recommend every one planning to go to Budapest to spend one evening by the riverbank just to soak in the view.

When it was time to end the trip, my entire being was exhausted. I absolutely love this feeling. Isn’t it great when you crash on your bed and fall asleep instantaneously! I missed out on the famous and sought-after Budapest baths. I don’t regret of course. I believe it is best to have unfinished business with your favourite people and places. It takes you back to them soon!

 

Advertisement

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s