I often tell myself: Be more spontaneous. Just do something without planning it. Let me tell you, that’s harder than you might think, especially when it comes to traveling! But when my sister told me she wanted to visit Budapest for a day, I jumped at the opportunity and decided to join her.
We took the earliest train from Vienna and arrived at ten o’clock. We didn’t really have a plan or list of things we wanted to see/do, so we just strolled around. We found some great vintage/second hand shops (crema, Szputnyik, Bolhapalota) where we hunted for treasures – and found some, like beautiful sunglasses and awesome vintage buttons. We also payed the big market hall a visit, were my sister found some nice bracelets for friends – a lucky find, as most souveniers you could buy were just super cheap and not really pretty.
Of course we also crossed the Danube and went up the hill to Buda and the monuments there. All very touristic though! We enjoyed the view but returned gladly to the other shore, were we found the beautiful Café Gerbeaud. We sat there for at least an hour, writing postcards and enjoying the sun. Afterwards, we just continued to wander around, visited the Jewish quarter, ate some fresh Baumkuchen and took plenty of photos – mostly of buildings. Budapest has wonderful historicism and art nouveau buildings, all very unique and unlike any I’ve ever seen – and so many in just one city! (I love art nouveau…)
The day ended with sadness, though. We caught the last train back to Vienna, which was completely full – the corridors next to the compartments were full of people, there were families with small children as well. We din’t find a seat and were a little angry at first – standing for 3 hours was not what we had payed for. But we realized how lucky we actually are once the train stopped and the police entered – they looked for people with no passports and literally cleared the train of all refugees who tried to get to Austria secretly. It was terrible. I felt so helpless, but what could I do to help these people, right now, in this situation? I felt guilty when I returned to the compartment, finding it nearly empty and being able to take a seat. Indeed, we are lucky to live in a free country, being able to travel freely and, most importantly, live in safety and peace.
If you followed the news, you’ll now that only a few days later, the situation escalated, with people boarding trains like crazy, trying to get out of Hungary and through Austria to Germany. I actually sat in a train a week later, going form Vienna to Salzburg, sharing a seat with two small Syrian children…. They are probably the age to start with school soon, I can’t stop wondering what happened to them as they went on, trying to find their luck in Germany.
I’m sorry if this post slightly went off theme in the end, but the current refugee situation in Austria is urgent and something that is important to me and keeps me awake at night. I hope you don’t mind – on the contrary, I hope people do mind and look at the problem and do at least something to help (which is, thank god, indeed happening now)!