Where: Budapest, Hungary
I didn’t visit Budapest. It’s more like I survived Budapest.
This whole city may quite literally be insane. It’s beautiful and old and most definitely insane.
Hungary has a fascinating history, and it is evident when walking around Budapest. The architecture blends between different ages, showcasing the different empires and countries than have claimed it as their own.
Budapest also made me realise that I really love cities with rivers cutting through them. Walking along the riverside is always an enjoyable exercise, and when its in the middle of a major city, you can really feel its pulse.
However, back to the insanity.
Budapest is known for its ruin pubs. These buildings were bombed during WWII, but afterwards the Hungarian government either couldn’t or wouldn’t pay to repair them. So, instead, some enterprising person decided to leave it as is, and start partying in them. Throw in some suitably decrepit décor, like rusty bikes and broken lamps, and voila: a ruin pub is born.
There are dozens of these types of bars, selling the native Hungarian alcohol (palinka?) that tastes almost as bad as you’d expect. My memories in them get hazy after around 3 in the morning, but it involves some fusion of dancing, bar bets, shisha, and late night doner kebabs. I don’t think I ever got more than 4 hours of sleep before dragging myself out of bed to go explore the city some more.
Looking back, it was only on the flight out of Hungary that I was able to truly relax. Budapest is great, but it is exhausting.