One of the main reasons I chose to study in Prague was because of its central location that I knew would allow easy access to the many surrounding countries. This weekend I took a bus to Budapest, Hungary with six of my friends. The bus took 7 hours but only cost us $40 round trip and for even less than that, we were able to stay in a nice airbnb, basically having our own apartment for the weekend in the middle of the city. We decided to jump right into it and as soon as we were all settled, we explored the city. The first day, we walked to St. Stephen’s Basilica, across the Chain Bridge and back, along the Danube River and to the Parliament building. Along the Danube River, we saw the monument called Shoes on the Danube Bank – it was created in memory of the victims that were forced out of their homes during the Arrow Cross Raid, told to take off their shoes and were shot and killed, so that their bodies fell into the river. We spent a lot of time at this monument, most of which we were silent, reflecting on how things were in the central part of Europe during World War II and how lucky we were to have the lives we have lived.
For the rest of the weekend we explored many of the other iconic places Budapest is known for. We went to the Széchenyi Thermal baths which despite the dreadfully cold weather, we all enjoyed. We also went out to a couple Ruinpubs -specifically to Szimpla and Instant. Ruin pubs are basically abandoned buildings that were bought out but instead of having them renovated, the buyers hire artists to come in and paint or create things in them. The result is actually pretty fantastic – lots of things hanging – lights, televisions, bicycles, rabits and lots of graffiti and drawings on the walls and tables. It’s a pretty cool place to hang out and grab some cheap beers (ranging from $1 – $3).
Our last day, we climbed up Gellért hill to see the Liberty Statue in the Citadel. On our way down the hill, we ran into this sculpure of a king and a queen separated. In this portrayal of a tragic love story, we realize that Buda Pest 2 different but compatible halves grudgingly separated by the river. The beauty of it all was nothing far from breathtaking.