I think I often forget how lucky I am. I have gotten myself to a place where, when I get antsy, I can hop on a plane for very little money, and in a few hours, land in a place with a new culture, new food, a new language, and new people.
A couple of weeks ago, SB, some new friends and I did just this, and we landed in Budapest!
I pretty much immediately fell in love with the city. We stayed in the greatest (and cheapest) hostel in the Jewish District, which was insanely artsy and eclectic. I mean, our hostel was right across the very narrow road from a place that appeared to be an electricity museum, but happened to be a night club inside of an old electricity museum. How cool is that?
Since we are such thrifty travelers, we opted to go on the free tour, sponsored through our hostel. Our guide was amazing, and despite the insane cold, we walked all over both Buda and Pest, crammed our heads with history, interesting new vocabulary, learned some quirks of the city (there are statues everywhere, which can be rubbed in different places for different forms of luck), and absolutely stuffed ourselves with goulas soup, paprika chicken and mountains of noodles smothered in sour cream, followed by zillions of pancakes!
The city was great, but I think my favourite bit was our stop at the Shoes on the Danube Memorial. During WWII, Jewish people were rounded up and lined up on the edge of the Danube outside of the Parliament building. They were asked to remove their shoes, as they could be re-used or re-purposed, and were promptly shot. Their bodies fell into the river, eliminating the need for graves. Poignant doesn't even begin to describe the memorial.
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