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Budapest: A Locale Most Exotic

Filed in Blog, Hungary, United Kingdom by on December 12, 2013

Study abroad really should be labeled “travel abroad.” It is an incredible learning experience but, at least in my case, much of the learning comes from the adventures you take. Living in England is wonderful because it means jetting off to foreign countries takes only a couple of hours and a quick change of currency. The furthest I have traveled so far has been Budapest, Hungary; a beautiful Eastern European city that seems frozen in an older age of grand buildings and curving rivers. What I initially assumed would be a rather gritty, crowded city transformed into a romantic mecca of European culture and art.

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The Central Market in Budapest. Don’t go if you’re hungry and don’t want to spend tons of money!

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An old city, a beautiful city!

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Buda by night

Although it seems secluded from much of Europe, I met TONS of Erasmus students (European study abroad students, for those not familiar with the system) in Budapest, all willing to meet new people and explore new cultures. I don’t think I have ever been in a room with so many different languages being spoken — I even tried out my high school Spanish on a Madrid native and managed to hold the semblance of real conversation (at least for about two minutes of his time). There’s something very freeing about being in a place where people welcome and accept anyone they meet — as though nationality and language barriers don’t matter and anyone will enjoy your company and conversation. I experienced this more strongly in Budapest than in any place I have traveled, or even England for that matter. Perhaps because no one I met in Budapest actually speaks Hungarian, it seemed like it was a language free-for-all and the more diverse languages and dialects that could accumulate, the better.

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One of many castles I stumbled upon — complete with a moat, turrets and even a skating rink!

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Szechenyi Bath House

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Casual library study at a Budapest university

I mentioned the sense of culture that Budapest contains, and shockingly (although Salzburg is in close second) I think it held most clearly the grand visions of a European city I had before traveling abroad. Several friends and I went to the Hungarian State Opera to see “Otello.” What a beautiful place! Although the opera was in Italian and had Hungarian subtitles, prompting much confusion on our parts as we could hardly remember the story of Otello from 10th grade literature classes, the experience was a wonderful one. Everyone seemed to be reveling in the grandiose opera house, as it really is a magnificent place. Along with the opera we visited several castles in the city and even a bath house. It is a wonderful city worth venturing to — and really, don’t worry about the language barrier because English is as welcomed and pieced together as French, German, Italian, Hungarian, Polish and any of the other multitude languages I picked up on while abroad. Szeretem Magyarországot!

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The state opera house — what a dream!

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Parliament by night

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I took several memorable trips after this locale most exotic (Harry Potter studios anyone?!) and will recount them in my next several posts.

Until then, cheers and the best of British to you!

Comments (1)

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  1. Lorna says:

    It is a very strong statement you made “There’s something very freeing about being in a place where people welcome and accept anyone they meet — as though nationality and language barriers don’t matter and anyone will enjoy your company and conversation.” Thank you for sharing your experience with me.