In Which We All Run into a Bridge

Budapest City Park

Thermal Bath in Budapest (Not the big one)

I didn’t write for a while because my family was here. My parents came out for two weeks and my aunt and uncle came out for one. It was the easiest two weeks I’ve spent in Italy and so, naturally, there are no good stories.

Skipping ahead, I came home to find Paldo had been shaved, Donatella’s laundry was hanging to dry in my room, and there was no toilet paper to be found. Donatella and I have also become engaged in a silent battle over my window, in which I open it all the way and she shuts it saying that she “thinks I’m cold”. I’m pretty sure I’m not cold, but maybe Donatella is right.

When my parents were here, I told them of my plan to go to Budapest and my mom said, “that’s so cool, I just read an article about how American women sometimes get snatched out of taxis and are never seen or heard from again” (Thanks, Mom), so I had that to think about on the way over. Actually the way to the hostel was fine. I took a shuttle from the airport that got me almost to the exact right place. My flight was more of a problem. About five minutes into the trip from Munich the stewardess came on the intercom and said, “We’re running a bit short on oxygen for this trip. If anybody starts feeling lightheaded or nauseous PLEASE say something”. I thought this was weird, because if they had extra oxygen to give out, why not start with that? But nobody passed out, so I think Lufthansa airlines is going to call that a win.

My hostel is great. It’s the most social place I’ve stayed at yet. There are drinking games every night at 9 (which my tiny liberal arts college did not even remotely prepare me for) and then one of the staff members took us to a bar and then a club. Actually, I was originally worried the hostel would be too social for me. When I checked in the woman at the desk gave me a wristband with the hostel’s address on it and said that it was “in case I needed help getting home” and I felt like I’d accidentally leveled up on a video game I only partially understood how to play.

If I was going to do my study abroad trip again, I’d spend more time traveling alone. It’s not hard to make friends in a hostel. There are all sorts of interesting people here, a doctor, a philosophy PhD, a journalist, a soap vender and many many students.

On my long walk of the city, I came to one of the bridges with a railing low enough and flat enough for people to sit on. The only problem was it came to about my shoulder, so I had to run jump and splat onto the side to get up. Then I stayed up for a while, enjoying the sunshine and the view of other tourists sprinting into the side of the bridge on either side of me.

I think if Vienna and Prague had a love child, it’d be a lot like Budapest. I like it a lot and also I’m a little upset that cities in Europe have started to remind me of one another. I’d like every place I got to feel completely unique, but it’s hard when you’ve been traveling around a lot. It’s so easy to travel in Europe that I think it’s a little too easy for the novelty to wear off. I understand now the people who travel to European cities and spend their time partying all night and sleeping in until the afternoon. When you travel a lot it becomes more about making the experience right for you, not just experiencing the place. For me, this means enjoying the parks more. When I first got to Europe I didn’t want to be anywhere that didn’t feel unique to the cities. Now I go further away from the centers, trying to see what places are like for the people who live there and not just the tourists. There are some lovely parks in Budapest.

My friends are coming out tomorrow sometime.I almost wish I was going to be here the whole time by myself. I think it’ll be harder to talk and meet new people with them around, but I’m sure it’ll be nice to have friends here too. Tonight the hostel organized a very cheap cruise that we’re going to be taking for two and a half hours down the Danube River.