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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Budapest, Magyarország



Budapest was cool. Well, it was quite freezing actually and so doing walking tours and being outdoors for long periods of time wasn't very pleasant, but the city is full of character and has a lot of what I feel the creative hipster kitty cats of North America are craving.

Non-commercialized bars and clubs, art installations, dank little pubs, abandoned warehouse ruin bars, graffiti, fun street fashion, amazing European architecture, and a pretty relaxed culture bring together a very interesting place to visit.





I really enjoy the hostel environment. It's like speed-dating, only it's speed-friending instead. You're quickly getting to know and connecting with those around you because they could potentially be your best friend's and family for the next 24+ hours, and it is nice to have that sense of community while traveling. I have been meeting many kindred spirits that are on a similar quest for adventure, and I find connecting with them very inspiring.




In Budapest I found myself surrounded by Australians. What's going on Australia? Why are you invading Budapest?

My Father's side of the family is Swedish and Hungarian, so visiting Budapest was exciting, as I was getting to visit my Hungarian roots. I saw many versions of my Dad and brother walking around. The biggest problem I found with this was: the food KILLED me. My stomach was enraged every day, until I realized that Hungarian's put sour cream in everything, and I can't do dairy. No more goulash and all was fine with me again.



Roasted chestnuts agreed with me just fine :) And they're charming to eat while you stroll around.



Eating Mexican in Budapest is fun. There isn't a big Hispanic population in Berlin, so I had been missing my taco or burrito fix. This place had a cute Frida Kahlo cartoon as their mascot.


I highly recommend going on a bar crawl, which I did through my hostel. The bars in Budapest are INSANE - in a good way. I loved them. Try the Palinka, and ladies be warned: Hungarian men get extremely loaded. I would like a bodyguard the next time I go out here...




This one bar goes around selling carrots at a certain point in the night. Why? Because they think it's funny.


I didn't get a chance to play an accordion while I was here. I did see a bizarre illustration of a band of cartoon animals and the squirrel was squeezing an accordion. I forgot to take a picture of it though, but they looked a lot like this rabbit and dachshund:


Right....and.... I was delighted to see this poster of this Canadian musician that I know - Socalled, who I'll classify as "Yiddish hip-hop". Josh Dolgin plays the accordion well :)






When there's nothing left to do what does one do? They go take a bath. The Szechenyi bath house is pretty fantastic. Many different indoor and outdoor mineral pools. I came out of there VERY relaxed.


It is mixed, so there nudity isn't an option - unless you were in Berlin I suppose. That's fine, I enjoyed it all the same :)




SHOUT OUT:


I'd like to give a special shout out to the coolest person I have met on my travels so far. His name is Gary Ramsey, and he is a 71-year old American, who is a retired US military air force member. He befriended me as we both exited the bus as we arrived in Budapest. He had no accommodations booked, and so we shared a very expensive cab (don't hail a cab in Budapest, they are notorious for ripping you off) to my hostel, where Gary was able to then stay at as well.

Gary is full of great stories, and hilarious jokes as well. His life story has been pretty fascinating, and it continues! I haven't come across any other travelers who are doing what he is doing at 71! I find this very inspiring, that an adventurous spirit can be nurtured at any age. ROCK ON GARY!


A Hungarian sunset, as I departed and headed towards Vienna, Austria....




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