human behavior

Built Budapest

Posted in Foreign Impressions, Travel by humanb on March 20, 2012

My husband and I went on something of a whirlwind holiday last year.  Over four weeks, we travelled to 10+ cities. This was a new form of travel for me. Whenever I’d travelled before, I’d gone to one place and squatted for at least two months. How else could you come to know a place, its rhythm, the priorities and perspectives of its people?

Well, as it turns out, it doesn’t take all that long to get a sense of a place. And there’s something to be said for first impressions. 

The Itinerary:

Beijing – Paris – Munich – Budapest – Bucharest – Istanbul – Israel (multiple cities) 

I’m neither a tour guide nor an historian, so if you want to understand these cities properly, buy a travel book. Or Google them.  Or better yet – visit them and squat for two months.

These are just some of the images that struck me – that helped to shape my first impressions. I think they speak for themselves.

*    *    *    *    *    *

Budapest, Hungary

After an overnight stay in Munich, we took the train to Budapest for an equally short stay.


The Danube divides the city into Buda on the western bank (in the foreground) and Pest on the eastern bank (in the background).

Hilly and largely residential Buda is more lauded in the guidebooks for the vibrant colour and quaintness of its buildings and streets.

But I preferred Pest.

The buildings in flat and commercial Pest struck me as moody and soulful.

And the view of Pest from over the Danube at sunset is as pretty as a postcard. Almost mythic.

But neither city really impressed itself upon me – no doubt in large part due to my shamefully short stay. I had no occasion to interact much with people, or to explore the internal built environment, so I can say very little to recommend it.

But I can say nothing to criticise it either.

Next up: Rediscovering Semmelweis

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