A trip down memory lane and beyond - Budapest
(Image courtesy of Unsplash)
14th April 2021
By Anni Bray
Budapest was the holiday that started the next chapter of my life, titled ‘I go on holiday without my parents’ and it blew all of my expectations out of the water.
To set the scene, this was the year of A Levels, those dreadful exams which we all want to forget. It was January, I had a glass of wine in my hand and it was pouring with rain; I was feeling a bit rough. I took out my phone to do a bit of idle scrolling when an email for ‘Festicket’ popped up. Curiosity led me to open my emails and an ad for ‘Sziget’ was showing on my screen. This turned out to be an incredible music festival in Budapest and my favourite artists just happened to be headlining. My music taste is quite weird, I like Ed Sheeran and know all the lyrics to Tove Lo’s ‘Habits. Stay High’. This seemed like the festival for me. Therefore, I called my partner and said ‘we are going to Budapest’. To be fair he was a bit sceptical but Jack Whitehall’s ‘Travels with my Father’ had equipped us with just enough knowledge on Hungary and that ‘Unicum’ was the drink to go for (as it turned out, Unicum was not to my taste!).
That July, once exams were finally over, we were on a plane to Budapest. I’d never felt so uncertain about getting on a flight before. I had to worry about where we were at what time and if we’d get there. To say I was anxious would be a huge understatement. But then, we landed. The hot air hit my face as soon as I got off the plane and for the first time on the journey, I was excited. The week ahead of us had a lot to look forward to. When we reached our hotel, I knew this would be different to our holidays with our families. No meals in restaurants, no strict time to eat breakfast and no plans for our day, apart from our festivals and booked activities.
Mostly, we ventured into the ‘Buda’ section of the city. Budapest is a city made of two halves, separated by the river Danube. ‘Buda’ is the restaurant and club portion and ‘Pest’ is very residential; and weirdly has all the main transport stops. We found cafes, pizza places and a brilliant bar we had to revisit. During our stay, I had booked ‘Sparty’, a crazy party in Budapest’s hot springs. It was as insane as it sounds, we partied till 3am in a naturally heated spa with a load of people our age and drank the country’s famous beer.
Unfortunately, I was woken the next day by the dear cleaning lady getting into our room, it was 1pm. Thankfully, it was festival day so sleep was very much in need. We got ready and headed towards ‘Budapest’ metro station. A word of caution, when getting public transport in Budapest, expect the vehicle to move the instant the doors closed. Very unlike the London tube’s policy, I may have fallen on people a few times! Sziget was held on an island in the middle of the Danube and the view walking across the bridge was breathtaking. The festival was packed and the crowds went wild as the first performer came on stage. We danced to Martin Garrix for around three hours. We weren’t done yet, though! We found a pop-up club just a few hundred meets from to main stage, oddly sponsored by Unicum. We danced till our feet were tired. I was poured me into a taxi and we made our way back to our hotel.
The experience we had of exploring a new city was far more interesting than I could have imagined. We gained a new perspective on this city and its hidden gems. Once Lockdown is eased, my recommendation is finding a city which you would normally overlook and go and explore.