– That’s the sound of us zooming down the last hill into Budapest. The long descent into the beautiful city makes us forget the knee pains and leg cramps a few minutes before and we’re shouting out our glee as we ride into Budapest in a great mood.
(Side note: If you hit a child-sized pothole at 50 km/h and don’t even die, you’re really happy that your heavily packed touring bike is confirmed indestructible)
As we bike across a bridge in the golden hour – aiming for a hostel where we’ll stay the following two nights – a beautifully lit city sparks at us. My gaze wanders across the magnificent parliament building when Quentin discovers a familiar face on the bridge – it’s Jack! Small world…
Budapest amazes me from the first second on, in its own special way. It doesn’t have the imposing, clean appeal of Vienna, neither the charmingly dirty chaos of Berlin, but rather a mysterious Aura, as if the city was still deciding if she wants to unveil her secrets.
After checking into our labyrinth-like hostel, we went out to walk the streets for a while, get a feeling. Even though the controversial election will take place he next Day, the mood on the streets isn’t tense. The pleasant evening air seems to absorb all tension.
The next day we explore Budapest. Definitely worth a visit is the Jewish quarter, and in particular the street where you can find the street food market as well as Szimpla Kert. At the street food market we try Lángos, a hungarian specialty made from fried dough, shaped like pizza and with similar toppings. A couple meters from there, we walk into a backyard and suddenly we’re in the middle of Szimpla Kert, an open multi-floored complex combining bars, cafes and dancefloors into a big chillspace. We’re in awe looking at it, every inch of surface space covered in either art or plant life, and the whole thing, a clearing in the city jungle, brings to mind the picture of a paradisical oasis. Accordingly, the beer is surprisingly cheap and there is immediate consensus among us about where we are gonna spend the night after we finish our city tour.
We don’t want to call it sightseeing, because we’re less about staring vacantly at all the sights in the city guide and more about getting a feel of the city’s spirit, take a dip in the life there. We’re walking a fine line there, because of course we’re also interested in impressive architecture and some special landmarks. Anyways, in the evening we end up in Buda, the hilly quarter of Budapest, from where you have a fascinating view over the whole city. Another point where Budapest shines. While we watch over the (big!) parliament building across the Danube, we have the luxury of enjoying another beautiful sunset.
The next morning, we leave Budapest behind, returning to what has become our everyday life: A firm grip on the handlebar and a leather saddle under ya bum.