I headed from Copenhagen, Denmark to Budapest, Hungary on July 3, 2014. The problem with writing this retroactively is that there are particular planning headaches about which I can’t give you great detail because I only vaguely remember them. Hell maybe, that’s for the best. But I’d like to help you avoid similar headaches if possible. For this Euro/Japan adventure I had to make reservations for 5 different spots (stayed in 6 places by the end) and because I can be a littllllle, let's say persnickety, I had to spend a great deal of time weighing between different locations and costs. But guidebooks and websites can go a surprisingly long way, even though they don't compare to the word of someone whose opinion you trust.
So for those of you that don’t know, Budapest is the capital of and largest city in Hungary. Budapest was once two separate cities, Buda and Pest, before unifying in the early-mid 1800s. I had no clue and it only became clear when I was fortunate enough to have a friend of a friend tell me the following when looking for accomodations:
"She should probably look for a place around the 5th, 7th, 13th or some parts of the 8th district. Main thing: She should look for a place in Pest, not Buda."
The city is broken up into hella districts so this was quite helpful info. I settled on one of the two Maverick hostels, Maverick City Lodge (24-26. Kazinczy Utca). It was cute, clean and hip and worked for the two nights I was there. I didn’t do much the first night but catch up on sweet, beautiful sleep.
The next day I met up with my fellow Columbia University doctoral candidate sistren, Yesenia, and her partner, Mark, and we ran around Budapest 'til we basically tuckered ourselves out. We stopped at the Jewish Quarter which was near my hostel.
We made our way to the Danube River across the Chain Bridge and saw Buda Castle.
From the other side of the bridge we walked around historic Castle Hill in Buda.
These definitely required some historical context which we were clearly lacking.
We saw the lovely Matthias Church...
And that this is encouraged...
And why not get flipmode style on the edge of the Chain Bridge over the River Danube? Why not?
In search of a café I came across more folks of the African Diaspora getting their hustle on. And I love it but hmm, "Afro Exotic Beauty Shop"?? But hey, I don't know what it takes to make a way for a person from The Continent up in Hungary. So let me not knock your perpetuation of Afro-exotification. As long as there's not some European behind the operation like, "yeh, let's call it that!" :-/
And of course here we have what should seem like a sadly familiar representation of the Black woman if you've read other posts of mine. Cofesa is a Spanish company apparently. In this one she's sort of Josephine Baker meets Aunt Jemima. Womp womp.
Later that night we went out to eat with a woman studying in Budapest, Natalia, and then hit up what is part of a very cool looking bar scene in Budapest, the ruinspub. Is this part of some gentrification/displacement process? Don't know but it definitely has all the trappings of it. I hope not though because they were so damn funky. I believe the one we went to was Szimpla Kert "Simple Garden" (VII., Kazinczy u. 14.) one of the oldest and most popular ruins pubs in Budapest. Why I don't have any of my own pics from the spot, I don't know.
But it looked something like this...
Budapest was a lovely city from what I could gather from my quick visit. It was great having cool company to explore with for a bit. I know that there was so much more to see and I really wish I had hit up one of the classic spas. Maybe there will be another opportunity one day to get my Budapest bath on.
And I'm not ashamed to say that in the end, one of the things I appreciated most was seeing this in a restaurant...