Thursday, 29 September 2011

Back in Budapest 2 - Night Life!

Budapest is an incredibly pretty city, but at night, the city takes on a new aura. Last year, it was cold and breezy, the Danube chilling me to the bone. But this year, it was a joyful time to wander through Hungary's capital city at night. The warm weather, the memories of the previous year and the lack of sleep from the road trip made Budapest magical, almost tingly to the feel!

The buildings are lit up, the people throng in the streets, the capital takes on an air of beauty. After all, being one of Europe's premier capital's, Budapest is a beautiful city to wander through at night. And you have to put Budapest into the concept of its history ad location. Hungary, remember, is an isolated country linguistically. Hungarian is really, only spoken by Hungarians. Unlike Polish which has similarities to Slovakian, Czech and Serbo-Croatian, Hungary does not share its language with any other part of Europe (the Finnish link is a tenuous one). This means that culturally, the Hungarians are that more self aware of the status. That they are very different and unique in Europe. This is reflected in their history both recent (bloody) and further back.

And Budapest's glory days were during the height of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. While the jury is very much out on whether this was a good thing for Hungary, in terms of Budapest's it was a time of great civic splendor. Some of the most magical buildings stem from this time period as Budapest became one of Europe's fastest growing cities.

Modernisation has kicked into Budapest. EU money, but Hungary's own burgeoning economy has seen the capital rapidly develop. Much of the Pest side has been pedestrianised, and despite the hordes of tourists (guilty!) wandering through the Eastern Quarters of Budapest is surprisingly serene. There are some great places to eat and unlike a stroll in say, London, the people of Budapest are far more civilised when it comes to socialising!

Of course, the place to head to at night s the Danube. Budapest glistens along the river at night, and the views from any of the bridges are spectacular. My poor photography (and awful camera) does no justice to the spectacular views that you can witness all along the Danube. Across the river, the bridges splinter and cut across the dark waters. And on either bank, the great buildings of Budapest shimmer in the light. The Parliament, the Castle, Gallert Hill, the Pest's entertainment districts. Even at night, the river provides a useful navigation tool to the lost traveler who attempts to negotiate the streets of this beautiful capital city.

As you can read, I am intoxicated by Budapest. Hungary's capital is one of the prettiest places I have visited and at night, the city takes on an ambiance that cannot be described by mere words, or by my awful pics. It may be a long time before I return here, so I will takes a couple more days to blog about this impressive city. And after that, I have to take you, the reader, back on my road trip. Oh yes, after Budapest, there was a lot more travelling that I managed to accomplish...

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