Welcome home, to Budapest!

August 18, 2012 § 1 Comment

We took it slow heading into the city. The road quality shifted a little towards the bad end of the spectrum and there was so much visual stimulation. I found myself overwhelmed by the size and quantity of the advertisements lining the highway. The billboards extended passed the traditional billboard-sized frame into some sort of do-whatever-you-want territory. I remember seeing one advertisement that was composed of one normal sized billboard framed by one 3D structure making it look like you were looking through the window of a house.

As we closed in on the city center, I simply fell in love. Budapest is absolutely, positively beautiful. The Danube river is alive with beautiful, foggy blue-green waters and numerous ferries. There are stunning, ornate buildings lining the river, as well as buildings carved into the rocky hillside and buildings with exposed brick. To me it is the quintessential European city – old, saturated with a rich, rich history, yet pumping with a modern pulse. As soon as we crossed the bridge from the Buda side to the Pest side, all of my fears, worries and stresses simply melted away. At that moment, there was no turning back. There was no point in fearing what was to come because there was no stopping it; it was coming whether I wanted it to or not. I was only a few minutes away from my new home with my best friend by my side and an endless sea of possibilities ahead of me.

Skjalg built up the excitement by announcing personal points of interest:

“This is our street! That’s our grocery store! That is our apartment building!”

I’d grown completely silent after we’d crossed the bridge into Pest. I was in a combined state of shock and excitement and overwhelmed by the constant supply of new information. This isn’t just the street that our vacation hotel is on or the grocery store that we will shop at for the next week or two. This isn’t momentary – this is it. My entire definition of home has been wiped clean and everything I am experiencing now is in the challenge to fill the empty space where “home” used to be.

Our street is right off of one of the main roads, but still relatively quiet. The doors to our apartment building are enormous slabs of carved wood that have been painted black. They open to a wide hallway that is separated into two parts: the first for trash bins and then four steps leading up to the second where the mailboxes are. A few steps further brings you into a tall, stone courtyard with large green plants. Each floor has its own walkway made of red tile and framed by a black iron fence. All of the apartments are accessed by this walkway and many of the tenants have created little gardens that weave through the iron fence in front of their apartment. It’s a beautiful little paradise in the middle of the city.

The elevator is an experience, to say the least. There is only enough room for two people and it feels very…raw. There is wood paneling on the inside, large metal doors at each floor and then smaller wooden ones inside the elevator that must be closed in order for it to move. The buttons resemble on/off buttons you find on heavy machinery and are quite fun to push. We live on the fourth floor, which is really the fifth – the first is really the second and the ground floor is labeled as “fsz” (which Skjalg pronouces “fissshhhhh”). I guess floor numbers really depend on what country you are in and sometimes even what building you are in.

Our apartment is PERFECT. I loved it from the first moment I came in the door. The ceilings are extremely tall, possibly four meters high (12 ft) and there is plenty of natural light. I could go in to more detail but will wait until I have taken some pictures. I could not imagine a more perfect fitting place for us at this point in our lives 🙂

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