A Love Letter to Budapest
You escaped me five years ago on my first tour of Eastern Europe and while I was upset about it then, I am even more upset about it now. I did not even know what I was missing all these years.
How could I have missed out on your architectural beauty? I fell in love with your wide boulevards and narrow streets, your elegant architecture and classic bridges. Your Parliament building left my mouth agape and I found myself climbing to the top of your Castle District for better views. When I got to the top of Buda, I was captivated by the unobstructed panorama of Pest as well as the Danube running through the two halves of the city. They call you the Paris of the East, but to be perfectly honest, I am far more enamored with your beauty than that of Paris.
Your culture was refreshing after coming from Prague. Your slower pace and more relaxed streets allowed for intimate exploration. I was able to experience the true energy of your city without having to dig through mobs of tourists. Lovely and romantic, you have not fully succumbed to the trendiness and modernity as other cities have done. You have managed to retain your old world charm while still keeping your edge. Your edge, the locals claim, comes from losing every war your country ever participated in.
You fascinated me with your nightlife and my biggest regret was not making it to more ruin pubs. I tried to pick up a few phrases of your tricky language to “Cheers” fellow patrons, but I could not muster anything coherent. The next day, I sought solace in your renowned baths and while I found them overwhelming at times, they did heal my aching tourist bones.
You appreciated the love I was showing you and reciprocated. After a long day of exploring, you showered me with your annual wine festival. As I wandered through the courtyards of Buda Castle, I was pleased I had decided to change my afternoon plans to taste my way through your wine regions. As the cloudy morning turned into a sunny afternoon, there was nowhere else I would rather have been than drinking wine while overlooking your gorgeous views.
Our time together was far too short and you can bet that I will be back for a longer visit soon. I still have more strudel to consume and more wine to taste. I want to enjoy your café culture again and interact with more of your warm and friendly people. And that view from the top of Buda Castle…I could look at it all day.
Thank you for being easy on the eyes and the wallet and for sharing your European charm with me. While you may be overshadowed by larger, more saturated cities, you have the charm and I hope you never lose that.
I will be back, Budapest! And here is to hoping it is a short separation.