Saturday, July 6, 2013

Budapest (by which I mean "BudaBest")

Budapest is a city full of wonder, and anyone who tries to tell you differently is attempting to sell you a western European timeshare. I found myself regretful of the fact that I budgeted so much time for Vienna and Prague when I could have been learning Hungarian while sitting in a thermal bath.

Budapest has a rich history full of people writing over its history, which is fascinating. Somewhat ironically (given this comment,) one of my favorite parts of the city was the presence of not only one, but two fantastic exhibitions at the Museum of Fine Arts: portrait photography by Helmut Newton, and paintings/sketches by Egon Schiele (yes, again!) (yes, my point is that neither of these artists were Hungarian/affiliated with Budapest.) Also, Budapest has an excellent zoo. The sloths roam free in this gigantic sloth-forest, and you can pet them and feed them pineapples and they will look at you with their tiny, gleeful eyes and readjust their babies--which look like gangly and affectionate pot scrubbers--on their back and make their little enthusiastic sloth noises.

The above is one of many European monuments devoted to protecting the public from the plague! We saw this shortly before going to the thermal baths. Apparently bacteria love 38 degree Celsius bathing water, and so I am uncertain of the efficacy of this sculpture. Despite this, I found the thermal bath experience super soothing and not at all awkward or overpriced.

Budapest is the land of the "Ruin Pub," and given my love of deteriorating things/elderflower syrup/absurd items chained to the ceilings of commercial establishments (EX: desks, mini golf scenery, 1950s vehicles,) I was an enormous fan. Szimpla was probably my favorite bar ever. If you are ever in Budapest, go to this bar. Also, go vintage shopping. Also, take the trek up to the castle and look over the city. Also, wander around aimlessly (and bring both an umbrella and sunglasses with you.) Also, stay for a week... or just buy an apartment there. I think it is a solid investment!

Now, I am in Cambridge. Stay tuned for more tales of adventure and intrigue!

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