Elevated, in both dream and physical state. Our bed holstered effortlessly in the middle of the room. I hear nothing, I see nothing. The air still, dry and bleak. After last night, I can not contain my excitement for today.
Our first full day in the beautiful, rustic city that is Budapest. Rolling over I poke Danielle in the ribs, waking her suddenly. We both rise, shower, get dressed and have breakfast, all in perfect sync, knowing each other’s routine, familiar with the others movements, creating a beautiful symmetry to our morning flow.
Before we leave I look up, still in amazement how something so simply built could hold two adults and not collapse. A structure that to the eye would be deemed unstable and unsafe, especially for us to sleep on top of. I suppose it adds nicely to the comforts of this home, so quaint and warming. Everything close enough to be convenient but spread out enough to provide ease of use, all just a few feet away.
Don’t Know Where We’re Going
We head through the kitchen and out the door, twisting the key in the lock behind us. Our feet retrace the steps of the previous night, following the pavement around to the morning struck court yard, greeted by the giant wooden doors that allowed us access. Denying the outside world the same privileges. The air and sounds of the streets beyond still so quiet and muffled, like they don’t exist. As I drag the doors open, sounds of people, cars and music force their way into my ears without consent. It’s so
As I drag the doors open, sounds of people, cars and music force their way into my ears without consent. It’s so lively. Energy bouncing off the passer-by’s as they go about their everyday life, I just take it all in. We start our journey by heading up the now already so familiar street’s, bars and restaurants still open just like they were the night previous, leaving me unsure on whether they actually closed. Towards the city centre is where we are heading. No plan, no route, no goal. Today we just flow with where the adventure takes us.
A Little Taste Of Home
The streets of Budapest give me a sense of comfort, a sense of belonging, a sense of security. Passing shops and restaurants that I normally see throughout areas of England, now here, sprawled across the faces of buildings: Starbucks, Costa, KFC etc. It’s strange to think I’m now in the heart of Europe, walking these streets, breathing this air, along way from home yet I’ve never felt closer. We head towards the river, wanting to find the places we discovered when walking yesterday. The white stone walls, the rustic red roofs, the mesmerising architecture, I remember it all so vividly, like a perfect painting etched into my mind. The narrow roads leading us down towards the water, towards the castle. Once across the bridge, we follow the river down until we reach the base of our intention, the base of the castle on the hill.
The Great Buda Castle
The area surrounding the bottom of the castle is flooded with people, like a fleet of fish migrating through the sea, packed, compressed and bursting at the rim, moving as one. All waiting for the opportunity to skip the twisting path that guides you to the top. Why not walk? Why miss out on the beauty around us? On a beautiful day like today the small, confined metal box is the last thing I want to be crammed into. So walking it is, like we even had a choice.
We arrived at the top twice as fast as the people queuing down below, making me feel smug about enjoying this magnificent view without them. We made it. The castle radiated heritage and maturity with the stories of its past, with guards nearby putting on shows of power and authority as they protected this priceless structure. As far as buildings go, it was beautiful, well worth the status of a castle. Camera out and pose struck, the first shot of the day commenced.
Where To Next?
Adventure is running its course through my blood, filling me with excitement, eager to get to as many sites as possible before the day is ripped away from us. My feet feeling the exhaustion from the miles covered already. We walk through tiny streets, expecting to find some hidden gems and undiscovered territory, we don’t. What we do stumble upon is a sight beyond words or expression. A place so rich and of value to the city of Budapest. An area that simply took my breath away.
A place by the name “Fisherman’s Bastion”.
White is the colour that covered this place. Not a normal white, but a clean and refreshing white. A white that resembles marble or perfect teeth, a white to be proud of, a white to be impressed by. It was on the floors, the walls, the roofs, anywhere and everywhere. Making the area here so bright and illuminating. Sunglasses were a necessity but unfortunately tucked away, replaced by a curious camera, itching for that perfect shot.
We climb the narrow, dark spiralled stairs, straight up to the top of the vantage point. Gently I run my fingers along the smoothly carved walls, gliding with each step like it had all been sanded down into perfect curves. Around and around we go. The sound of footsteps echoing and bouncing off the walls. There’s an archway at the top, supplying little to no natural light.
This is our direction.
The sun laughing at our exhaustion as we step out into its brutal heat. Both of us red faced and sweating. We are on top. The vantage point doesn’t seem high up but from here we are able to look upon the whole of Budapest, all its joy and wonder. Around us, tourists are taking selfies and posing for that perfect picture, wanting to savour their moments here forever. We do the same. Analysing each and every possible photo opportunity, making sure we have them all. Danielle went off and became the model as I hung back and had my finger on the trigger, rapidly snapping up the world as it was.
These moments will live forever.
The End Is Near
We wait, and wait, and wait. Still no sign of movement. This line extending to the great beyond and more. I hate waiting. The salty breeze pinches at the sleeves of my shirt, commanding the hairs to stand up, all in formation. I can taste the salt on my lips, as it’s carried down my throat. We are on the edge, the edge of the Budapest river. Waiting might I add, waiting very patiently. This line is so poorly structured, people on both sides of the path, some standing, some sitting, all blocking the traffic of passersby. Again, what I call a European line. The children around are getting restless, we are getting agitated, and the line has started to move, slowly.
We shuffle along, eagerness easing out my pores. Step by step we push forward towards the ramp leading down to the floating platform. Wobbling left and right as I stagger midway. Finally, we reach the edge of the barge, boat slightly brushing against the wood, hesitation in my step. The ticket gets stamped, a casual greeting is exchanged, and Danielle and I are off finding our seats, bracing the comfort ahead.
The sunset cruise begins.
Romance On The River
With the slight sway of the boat and the gentle rhythm it provides, I find myself feeling relaxed and strangely at ease. The tangerine coloured sky setting above us, rays of yellow, gold and orange reflecting off the windows of the buildings we pass. Light saturating Danielle’s face. My heart skips a beat.
A low croaky hum accompanies us as we cruise on down the river, the noise barely audible over laughter and conversation emitting from the deck. A short, middle aged man, dressed in a smart white polo and blue washed out jeans approaches us for a drink order. Smiles are traded. My body slumping against the metal frame of the boat, using it as a support system to help fight the fatigue.
We glide through the water like a knife to butter, passing historical monuments on both sides of the river. Some big and some small, all causing my eyes to expand at their sheer beauty and awe. Budapest has a lot to see and a lot to do, so this river cruise was a must.
The silhouettes of the buildings in front create a well-worn and overworked density to the atmosphere around us, helping to bring the energy of the city down, down to a level I can relate with. Today has been amazing. So much wonder, so much love, a piece of me buried deep within the foundation of the city.
This place is ours.
Go check day one of this phenomenal trip to Budapest out here.