Thursday, 1 July 2010

Budapest. Where else...

....would you be able to see just exactly how long ago the last metro train left, as well as when the next one will arrive, hear the reactions of football supporters to every move of a football team like a wave from one end of a long street to the other on a warm summer's World Cup night, or come across a practice for a top fashion show in the middle of the street? Where would Rod Stewart play to a crowd of thousands in Heroe's Square with free ticket entry, in a concert put on by a mobile phone company (they do one every year - last year, Elton John). Where would you find a supermarket in a stunning wrought-iron building, sharing space with a flea market, or a very venerable cafe with beautiful painted walls and ceilings tucked up at the back of a book shop with a glass roof?
Perhaps I should say, where else? I've stood next to knights in armour selling chestnuts while watching bopping bands across a crowded street while rickshaws pedal past, seen singing vicars in the underground and marvelled at the frozen Danube. I've attempted to buy glass from a small shop with a padlocked gate (presumably glass is dangerous!). The winters are bitter, but made worth it by the Christmas markets and snow as well as warm and welcoming shops, cafes and bars. The summers are hot, but then you can eat out, the ice cream is plentiful and to be honest, who doesn't need a bit of sunshine? Spring and Autumn are often perfect. This is a working city with a quirky heart, loads to see and a lot of life where the best thing you can do is just walk and take it all in - can you tell that I love it?