Budapest between ruin bars and opulence

Time to talk about a place I was not instantly into. Time to talk about Budapest.

I have to admit, I had my expectations up pretty high when I arrived in Budapest. I was hoping for the edgy hipster charm I had experienced – and loved  – in some parts of Melbourne and Berlin combined with beautiful architecture.

And I got a lot of beautiful architecture.

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And stunning Danube views.

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Furthermore Pest is definitely a hip and creative part of the city with a great nightlife. Even just the ruin bars should actually be worth a visit in Budapest, there is so much to discover.

 

And have I mentioned I love streetart ?

 

I should have been perfectly happy and in love. But unlike everyone else I was just not feeling it.

Until the last day when we took a stroll along Danube, drinking some wine and listening t0 some buskers. Unexpectedly that was the moment when the magic happened to me, so sometimes you might have to give a destination a bit of time.

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Tips for your visit in Budapest on a budget:

  1. Find cheap and cosy accomodation in Pest. It is a nice part of the city with many options to eat and go out. And the city centre of Budapest is compact enough for you to reach all the sights in Buda by foot anyways, if you do not mind walking a bit. It gives you the chance to discover a bit on the way.
  2. Eat in Pest for cheaper options.
  3. Visit ruin bars like Szimpla Kert at day and night time. A visit during the day gives you the chance to have look at everything while it is not so busy, there are a lot of cool details to see.
  4. The castle offers beautiful views and a nice scenery and so does Fisherman’s Bastille. The latter gets very crowded though.
  5. Climb Gellerts Hill for sunset.
  6. Take that stroll along the Danube at night. It will be worth it.
  7. Get lost in Budapests nightlife and drink a shot of Palinka.

 

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Lisboa

For some reason Portugal had never seemed too exciting to me. Lacking any knowledge of Portuguese culture I would have prefered to go to Spain anytime.

Then I got to know some Portuguese people, went for a visit and now happily admit: I was wrong. I liked Lisbon more than any Spanish city I had been to.

My expectations were not too high and we probably had the worst weather possible but still:  There are places you go to and you are enchanted. Lisbon was such a place to me.

 

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In January the narrow streets of Alfama were basically deserted, at least we were the only tourists to be seen.

And then there is the mixture of tile work and walls full of graffity. The almost stereotypical view of old ladies putting up laudry and the sound of Fado.

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It is probably just one of these places you have to experience, pictures do not do justice.

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Marrakech – or how to define authenticity

To me Morocco had always been a dream of colourful suqs and the smell of spices.

And Marrakech was the first place I got the chance to go to. It is interesting how much my perception of the city differed from what I had heard about it. Friends had depicted Marrakech as a tourist trap far from an authentic experience.

But when I arrived the first thing I did was genuinely getting lost.

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And I saw people. Couples going for an evening stroll. Families having a picnic in the park.

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People trying to make some money by talking tourists into buying completely overpriced products.

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A crazy mixture of old men riding their donkeys and car emissions, of beauty and dirt ( I am pretty sure the dirt was part of the beauty though).

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Then there are Marrakech’s many rooftops which sometimes seemed to offer a glance into local life.
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And the small slightly dodgy looking cafes selling the most intense mint tea. I have never regretted my lack in French skills as much as in that moment, sitting among locals trying to chat with me.

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On the other hand I avoided Djemaa el Fna.

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I’d much rather sit in a cafe listening to the muezzin’s call.

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In the end it is all a matter of perspective. To me in these moments  Morocco was a different world.

Melbourne – my first love

Did you know  you can fall in love with a place ?

Melbourne was the first place abroad I lived at for a while. And to this day I miss strolling through the streets, looking at street art, small cafes and OP shops. Admiring the concentration of human creativity.

 

If this place does not turn you into a hipster nothing will.