The "Oh sh**, I traveled to 10 countries in 2014" Review- Part 4 (#6 Budapest, Hungary)

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...

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...





The "Oh sh**, I traveled to 10 countries in 2014" Review- Part 3 (#5 Copenhagen, Denmark)

I love when travel tales come together. Do you remember Pil, the Danish girl I met in Otavalo, Ecuador? Well when I was preparing for my July 2014 Europe and Japan trek I was working out how to get to my first destination, Budapest, in the most economical way possible. I found a flight with an 8.5 hour layover in Copenhagen and I asked Pil whether she thought it was worth coming for such a short period of time. And even though she said the city would be dead because everybody and their mother would be heading out to the ginormous Roskilde music festivaI, she said I should totally come. That's all you gots to tell me. My flight headed out at 7:15am from Newark and had a stopover in Stockholm, Sweden before ending up in Copenhagen. And the only thing that broke my little traveling heart was that I got no passport stamp for Denmark, in spite of leaving the airport and wandering around Copenhagen for the day. Oh well. I put my luggage in a locker and Pil and I rolled out (which reminds me, this is a really helpful site for how to make layovers work with lockers, things to do, transpo, etc. -The Layover Guide). I was so damn tired but my primary short-term goal was to enjoy Copenhagen and make it to nightfall in Budapest without sleeping so I could get caught up to Euro-time.

The Little Mermaid in Danish

I've said it before, I LOVE being abroad with someone from the country I'm visiting. Besides just getting to experience things I would probably never without local folks, shit is just more efficient. All the time I would've taken to figure things out was eliminated as Pil and I combed through Copenhagen and in a matter of hours and I felt like I had a nice little sense of the city. This is going to seem like an overly simple description but I was just taken aback by how nice Copenhagen was. Like that's all I kept thinking, "man, this place is so...nice." All picturesque and clean and functional. Ya know, nice. 

Nyhavn, Copenhagen, Denmark

The bike game there was off the chain. Get it? The chain. Yuk yuk yuk. 

Copenhagen: Taking bike racks to all new heights

Bicycles in Copenhagen

And ya gotta love the African Diaspora.

(But peep the irony of the first shot below)

A coke and a smile. Thanks, Pil!