I hadn’t been to Budapest in 12 years and back then it was summer, I was young and had not traveled that much, meaning I could get enthusiastic about pretty much anything. I remembered it as untouched by tourists, “underdeveloped” in terms of shops and restaurants, but lots of fun. I rediscovered it invaded by hoards of tourists all huddled up from the cold, poorly dressed and way too loud, or maybe it was just me, I thought I had a serious case of fatigue until I got my period and realized it had just been hormones. Oh, well. Maybe the disappointment came with the fact that Hungary is Romania’s neighboring country, but at the same time there’s no language affiliation, so that my perception is raw, not mediated by any common ground or “familiar glasses”. The services are so bad that it’s not even funny, I like to think we’re much better at it in Bucharest, but I’m not sure, it might just be because I’ve always gone the extra mile to be nice, and that I speak the language. To give you an example, we walked into a coffee shop where it said “open”, but the door was closed with grating doors (not locked, though) and the barista said “it’s closed, duh, that’s why we have the grating doors like that!”. Not, “we’re opening in half an hour”, not anything. Once you get used to it and stop expecting any kind of kindness or smiles, Budapest is waiting for you to discover it. You can go to the spa, as we did, at Szechenyi Bath, the biggest and prettiest one (although I’ve only seen pictures of the others), ask for towels and slippers and be told you’ll get them inside, just to get inside and realize you should have bought them by the entrance. And so you walk around barefooted and wet and you’re so annoyed you can’t even fathom there can be such lack of courtesy, but then you sink into the pool, and you can see your own breath and start feeling so happy you forget about the rest entirely.And I felt like that with it all. The Christmas market was so crowded on Saturday that I almost had a panic attack, but on Monday it was sheer joy to walk around with a cup of mulled wine in my hand, taking pictures of all the goodies and wishing I was 5 again. On our last day we crossed over to the Buda side, the one with the castle and the old town. Such a pretty sight. It was raining heavily and we got into a fight because he was wet and I only cared about taking pictures! I can only imagine how annoying it must be to go on a holiday with me, ’cause even though I perceive myself as being flexible, I only want to do what I want to do. Haha! Budapest by night is a sight for sore eyes. Such grandeur, such splendor! You’d have to be an empire capital to pull this off. Tucking our coat closer, we walked by the Danube and hoped we could come back with a baby. I’ve started my IVF treatment and I’m all hopes and all hormones. 🙂 More about Budapest in the next entry!