My first proper night in Budapest….
I rose from my twenty minute power-nap at around 16:30 and proceeded to power-walk down to the river to catch the Chain Bridge all lit up before it got too late. (And by too late, I mean too late to feel safe walking around on my own in a foreign city, 5-7pm: safe, 7-9pm: safe-ish..but 9pm onwards? NO LONGER SAFE).
I arrived at the river just as it was getting dark. I took it all in, every bit of beauty, and headed up to the Elisabeth Bridge to get the best views of the Chain Bridge, vlogging as I went.. (WATCH BELOW). I know I am going to over-use this word often over the next few travel posts, but it truly was magical.
After I was done being all zen by the river, whilst intermittently documenting the experience – and moving swiftly away from a suspicious looking man stood near me on the Buda end of the Elisabeth Bridge, I practically legged it down the bridge away from him..- I sat in a Starbucks with a peppermint tea journalling and just being for over an hour (I”m not Starbucks’ biggest fan, for various reasons, but I saw warmth, and toilets and WiFi and I was not in the mood as the cold got colder to hunt for some no-doubt delightful independent coffee shop..). Also, given this was only day one, I was still getting used to being by myself, and coffee shops are full of, well, people on their own, so it was sort of a comfort to be sat amongst all these people. “See! I’m on my own, journalling in a Starbucks by the river, in Budapest..I AM DOING THIS!!”.
I made my way back to the hostel and noticed a group of people sat around in the foyer. – Something about the way they were sat suggested they had only just met..“This is it!” I remember thinking. The moment Jo had told me about (Jo, world-traveller and writer, visit her blog TravelsUntitled..). The moment where you have to approach a bunch of people you don’t know, and basically make friends with them.
I went up to my room and freshened up. “What if they do already know each other and I just look like an idiot?”. “Well what if you don’t even try?! Do you really want to sit up here reading Siddhartha ALL NIGHT?!”. (*Siddhartha, great book).
So I went up to them and asked if anyone was sat in the big swivelling chair (I mean no one was sat there, it was evidently empty so it was pretty clear what I was trying to do..). “You can sit there” one smiling girl replied. And that’s pretty much how I met Ruby, Henry, Phillip, Maria and Tobi. (My instincts were right, they had all just met that evening). We went for drinks and all the laughter and words I hadn’t had a chance to spill out during the day came out that night. It was brilliant. Even the music in the bar we ended up in (which was more like a house) was on point. We sang a bit, with passion. A woman came up to us as she was leaving and said these exact words into my ear “I love the way you girls sing..” which – as you can imagine – lit me up for the rest of the trip.
The night concluded with the four of us sitting in the foyer with our trumpet cake. (Something I really think they should bring to the streets of London during the winter months..) It was the perfect way to end a day of solo-adventures – surrounded by other solo-adventurers.