Buda+Pest

I am fatigued and I have a slight headache. Beside me, there are two women talking in a language that I don't know. I fear that they are going to talk for the whole 1 hour and 40 minutes we have to fly. As we take off, I am grateful for the familiar noise which drowns out their voices. I sleep.

*

There are a lot of things that I did not know about Budapest and about Hungary. I did not know that the Hungarian Forint was the monetary means of exchange and that you could spend your Forints in a Tesco or Costa because I did not know that these brands existed outside the UK. I did not know that before Budapest, there was Buda and Pest; still separated by the Danube River.

I did not know that I would fall in love with a Donut shop at Pozsonyi út 22 where I would daydream about my imaginary life as an artist in Pest, spending some of my evenings in ruin bars with my artist friends debating why everyone dislikes tourists. Perhaps, just like my Airbnb host, we would all never have bothered to learn Hungarian even though we would have lived in Budapest for 10 years.

I did not know that after a shot of mistakenly served Palinka, all I would remember the next day was 50% and why apple cider remains my best friend. That I would find my favourite bar. My favourite because of the plants that will serve as inspiration for my future home. Even though I expected to be inspired, I did not know it would come in my new favourite bar under the drunken haze of Palinka, as I frantically searched for a pen to write down an illustration idea on the receipt of my apple cider.

This is the Budapest I saw and also did not see because of the fog.