After spending three years abroad all I wanted to do this summer was to come back and spend some time in the city I call home. So, I decided that for at least a year I will not move abroad (terms and conditions do apply). However, after enjoying the feeling of being home for a couple of months I really started to feel like I could travel for a while.
There is a big difference between moving abroad and travelling mind you and I feel very inclined to do the latter but not as much to do the former. I feel like discovering new cities, new cultures, new types of chocolate, wafers and other lovely sweets and most of all, new people.
Fortunately for me, a great opportunity came up and I’ve been lucky enough to go to Budapest for a week, a city where I’ve never been before. After having spent one week there I can only say that my desire to travel is even more intense now and I think this truly is a proof of how much I enjoyed Budapest and my time spent there.
Usually, when you go through a bad experience, especially when you are away from home, what you wish for most is to be home or better said to feel safe, just like you would at home. The fact that now, upon returning home, I want to pack again and go to another country highlights the fact that Budapest, instead of making me feel unsafe and crave home, intensified my desire to see more, do more and know more. I believe that any person, place or experience that wakes up in you this desire for growth and awe is something special that should be deeply cherished.
Budapest in itself surprised me in a very pleasant way. I loved the way the city embraces the Danube and amplifies its beauty. The view of the Parliament from the other bank of the Danube is gorgeous, especially at night when all the beautiful landmarks are lit in such way that they become truly mesmerizing.
I was impressed by the bridges and I’ve found a lot of meaning in them, perhaps one that was not given to them when they were planned and built. A more personal meaning. It is often said that the best works of art allow each of us to find in them a new meaning, tailored to the person that we are. Those bridges across the Danube, connecting Buda and Pesta, two once different halves now forming a very homogenous whole really made me want to just sit down and admire them and let my thoughts run free.
I could feel that Budapest was once the co-capital of an Empire. I’ve found reminders of the grandeur that every European empire from the 19th century tried to breed, some that the years could not erase. Not even those of spent in communism.
Speaking of communism, a profound feeling is given by the “Iron curtain” installation that is in Budapest, bearing its name in various languages so as everyone could get the meaning of this painful metaphor right. When confronted with that, one should really take a little time to reflect on the results of the political ideas of the last century and also on the current state of affairs, not only in Europe but across the globe.
I find it great that Budapest encourages people to pay attention to history. I believe wholeheartedly that those that do not know history are meant to repeat it and thus every reminder as such is very welcomed especially in an Europe that seems to be going through an identity crisis just now.
On the same note is the memorial “Shoes on the Danube” which is such an uncomplicated, simple and not at all pretentious memorial that nonetheless says so much and strikes just the right cord. There is a great need for empathy in today’s word and I believe that this memorial does a great job in creating it. If only more people went there to ponder and look at the very small shoes, made of bronze, that are meant to remind us about the death of children that were blindly following their parents towards what they thought was safety. If one thinks of the situation in nowadays Europe, the need for people to go and look at that memorial increases tenfold. Perhaps we’d make better decisions then.
I cannot help but think that there is perhaps one man in Hungary that should truly spend more time there especially before making public speeches or calling referendums.
After visiting Budapest and feeling like I was in the west of Europe I would love to continue discovering Europe. I would like to discover its north and I would love to experience its south. Other than keeping on its bridges a part of me (and for a few more days than it was supposed to, my laptop) Budapest gave me this feeling that I should continue growing as much as I can. What a beautiful feeling to have when you return home from a trip abroad.