What can I say? Budapest was… simply divine. The vivid cultural fabric, extreme arts emphasis, and pounding nightlife really give Lisbon, Madrid, and Paris a run for their money. I walked up and down posh Vaci ut and Andrassy ut until my legs nearly gave out and biked around kitchy Erzebet ter and valiant Hero’s Square so many times it made my head spin. I ate the onion baguettes fresh from the oven in the metro stops. I ducked into contemporary galleries where the curator walked me around discussing an exhibition till my head grew dizzy.
And a side note: their sewer covers are drop-dead gorgeous. I’m not kidding. I had to pause and stare, and even take some pictures (forthcoming).
I’ll miss the overpriced tall brewed coffee (a tiny espresso is just NOT enough), magyar wines, the ultra cool hot spring-fed baths, catching the Tour de France on the big screen TVs in Burger King on Vorosmarty ter, the striking view of St. Itzvan’s from the hotel room, partying with expats from Nigeria, Jordan, and Iran. And an architectural masterpiece around every corner.
But perhaps most striking was that art was everywhere. The city bled the arts.
The easiest example of this is a striking 1904 Art Nouveau building right at the foot of the most elegant bridge linking Buda and Pest that now houses the Four Seasons hotel. And within the building are Mamikon Yengibarian’s Tumbling Doll sculptures. I had discovered this Hungarian artist before visiting (see this post), and he did not disappoint. These sculptures scream 1) Giacometti (is it me or am I on a Giacometti kick?) and 2) the weeble wobble — striking and playful, a good metaphor for Budapest itself.
There was so much more like this that I missed, which, lucky for me, just means I have a great excuse to go back.