After a short 2 night stay in Berlin , I unfortunately had to setup a short 2 night stay in Budapest. This means I had to try and make the most of it. I had booked a 2 night stay with the Wombats City Hostel because I’ve stayed in the ones in London and Munich and enjoyed my stay. Also it’s in a great location and easy to walk to all the tourist sites.
Right after my check-in, I connected with my friend Hamed who is currently living in Budapest to study for his PhD. Hamed and I had been talking online for a period of time and was very excited to meet him in Person. He brought me to a good Turkish restaurant and we walked around the city talking about mostly Politics which is always interesting to gain a perspective on American politics from non-Americans. Hamed is a brilliant guy and he thinks outside the box. His thoughts on Politics, Religion and various topics made me re-think my perspectives because he made good points and I hope he felt the same way from my thoughts and ideas.
After a few hours of hanging out with Hamed, he had to head back to his Dorm, so I decided to walk around the city at night alone to take pictures and take in the city. Of course that’s when you notice interesting things. I saw Hungarians dancing to Michael Jackson songs in a park where there was a Michael Jackson shrine, there was a police incident where they blocked off the street and investigating something and of course, I was offered sex while walking next to the Danube river. All in all, a very interesting first night in Budapest.
The next morning came around and I finally met my roommates. They were 5 guys all from Brooklyn and I quickly noticed that they were cool guys to talk to. Coincidentally, they came from Berlin the same day as me and they even went to the same nightclub in Berlin as me on the same night but I didn’t see them. They looked to have plans for the day but I exchanged information because they were going out in the evening.
During the day, I walked all along the Danube river and was in full tourist mode! The city center is very picturesque and you can understand why they call it the Paris of the East.
During the day I once again met up with Hamed as he invited me to the campus of Budapest University of Technology and Economics. I had lunch with him and my new Syrian friend who is also getting his PhD. The irony of having a conversation with 2 very intelligent men that aren’t allowed to enter my country didn’t allude me. They are a perfect example of 2 people that could provide a huge benefit to our country but because of politics, these potential assets are lost and look elsewhere.
So the evening came around and I met up with my American roommates and the fun began. We all decided to go to a bar first and then head to a nightclub nearby that was labeled as “One of the best night clubs in Budapest”. We were in the bar for a couple of hours just getting to know each other and talking about our life experiences. I truly felt like I was part of their crew and we were all on the same page. I always appreciate when people open up to me allow me to get close and understand where they come from. If I learned anything from us being together is that they are high character guys and fun to be around.
Being that we had some drinks in us, we decided to go to the night club and that’s when all types of interesting moments occurred. On our short walk to the club, we were offered drugs at least 3 times and I made the joke “If you see a Hungarian guy with a leather jacket, he’s probably going to ask us if we want drugs”. We walk into the club and there is no door charge and no one even stopped us. Quickly we realized that there is no door management, you just walk in and walk out. We go inside and have one last drink. The way the club was setup, they have 6 rooms with different styles of music. The bad part was that all of the music was terrible. The “house music” room literally took old pop songs and added a “house” beat to it. Why are people dancing to “Barbie Girl” house mix? In the hip hop room, they played nothing past 2003. I like old hip hop music but I don’t want to hear it in a club. I saw some firsts as well…a saw a grown man wear a fur coat in a club and I counted about 3 guys with Hawaiian shirts on. It was just strange but funny at the same time. Around 2 am the club was filled but we quickly noticed that the club was about 70% guys. Because there was no door policy, this place filled up with men and it was so odd. At that moment, we decided to leave. We found a ruin bar and had some more drinks there for an hour and then got some late night Turkish food to make the hunger go away.
The next morning I checked out early and hung out with the guys one last time as I had to go to the airport in the early afternoon. After saying my goodbyes, I took a Taxi to the airport and quickly realized that there was going to be a delay with getting to the airport. The President of Turkey was in Budapest and roads were shut down all over the place and even temporarily shut down the Airport. My normal 30 min drive to the Airport took over an hour and a half. Thankfully I got there in time for my flight and all was well.
My final thoughts: Even though it was a short stay in Budapest, I had a great time because of the wonderful people I met. My new friends from Brooklyn, I felt a great connection with them and as much as I avoid going to New York City , I would gladly go there in the future to hang out with them. I hope that our friendship can continue to grow from there. My new friends from Iran and Syria are great men and I hope to see them again in the future. The food was good everywhere I went and everything was very cheap. The exchange rate from US Dollar to Hungarian Forint is currently 1 USD to 281 HUF, so it makes your expenses so low. If you are undecided about going to Budapest, it’s worth a visit.