A bridge for the people…

After a late night in Zagreb and a good night sleep, we continued our journey. Next destination on our list was Budapest. While looking at the road to our next city, we discovered that there is a huge lake on our way. And it’s not just some ordinary lake – we’ve spotted lake Balaton.

Lake Balaton is quite famous lake in Eastern Europe. Not just because it’s an amazingly beautiful place that has an incredible view and extraordinary clean water to swim in. This particular lake is famous for its parties. Every now and then you can find restricted areas around the lake where you have lots of fast food stalls, cocktail bar and restaurant next to one other. You enter a total different world. A world of lightly dressed women, cocktails, music, dance floors, music stages for artists from all over the world and more. These are the places lake Balaton is famous for (at least for europeans).

So we did what every reasonable human being would do and made our halfway break there – in the city of Siófok. And it turned out to be as imagined. But we wouldn’t be critical explores if we wont write about the obvious and because of that even more disturbing things that catches your attention if you look close enough…

As Siófok is a city which is known to be a party community the local businesses have adapted to a specific target-group – the drinking and party-tourist! So you for sure won’t be surprised that everything is more expensive than it has to be. Even the exchange-rates on foreign currency are quite interesting. Sadly there is not much of Hungarian culture to explore as it’s about party, celebrations and tourists which come there to do exactly that.

After getting something to eat and have a short break with our feet in the lake, we continued our journey to Budapest, the capital of Hungary which is known to be one of the most beautiful cities in eastern Europe, so our expectations were high as you can imagine…

Entering Budapest was quite a time consuming story as we first got to the wrong part of the city due to a highly confused Penelope who loved to yell at us “ROUTE RECALCULATION!” (I thinks it’s clear that I mean our Navigation-system 😉 ). And on the other hand we managed to get into a traffic jam once we finally found the correct route. So after approximately 20 moon runs we made it to our hostel which turned out to be a very interesting place.

It seems that the place we were staying is normally a student home. You know, a place where students live during the semester for a reasonable price. Here they might find a profitable solution for the semester break – renting out the empty rooms to tourists. But let’s just say it was quite interesting…

So after arriving and taking a short power nap and a stop at one of the most awesome Burger restaurants there is (this Jack Daniels Burger was a love letter made to your senses) , we decided to take a short car-tour through the city to mark the spots we want to see the next day – and guess what – we fell in love with this stunning city. With one place in particular – a bridge – Szabadság híd (Liberty Bridge).

Sir Isaac Newton said once “We build too many walls and not enough bridges.” and he was right. Especially these days. Some people might say now that he obviously never went to Budapest, as there are lots of bridges which connect Buda and Pest over the Danube. I’m quite sure he meant it in a metaphysical way and exactly this is the reason I chose this quote as well as the headline for this post. If you want to find out why, keep reading, we will get there soon 😉

After walking around the city center at night we went back to our hostel with lots of plans for the next day, which will turn out to be quite extreme…

Well rested we stared the day which will enter the history as “THE DAY WE WALKED ALMOST 30kms”. First stop of the day was Café Ruszwurm, one of the oldest Café house in this city and while we were there we walked around the old town and beyond. So after walking quite a bit we decided to make a short break and look around if we can find some company which we did. At a coffee shop next to the St.-Stephans-Basilika we meet Steffi, one of the funniest people we hung out with. Steffi is from Taiwan and was on her way to Prague, to participate in some project for her studies. We ended up hanging out with her the whole day.

So after recharging our batteries and getting some new company we decided to search for one urban legend – the music fountain. A huge water-fountain which plays music while presenting an incredible show. And after wandering around the calm and peaceful Margit-sziget (Margit-Island) we found it and it was worth every step it took us to get there. But see for yourself on our Instagram 😉

While chilling at this surreal fountain we remembered that our friend from Zagreb, Anastasia is also in Budapest at the moment and so we decided to find her and get something to eat. Preferably something traditional as Sid would say. By this time Sid officially outed himself as the explorer of traditional food along the way. If it is traditional he needs to have it 😉 – Said and done and now we were four…

It took us quite a bit to find a place where we can get awesome traditional kitchen as the restaurant we desired told us that there is no free spot and everything is reserved, even-though the whole thing was empty, but hey their loss, isn’t it…

Instead we found a nice place with the best and friendliest service we’ve ever experienced and the food – people the food was amazing. And we even learned something – if the waiter says that the chilly is hot better listen or you will end up like me. We all tried a little bit and as it didn’t felt that hot, I took a bigger piece (approximately the size of a thumbnail) and i regretted it probably the instant i took the bite – should have listened to Sid but as John Dewey already said “Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes.”

Strengthened we started our journey to the liberty bridge with the intention to climb it and – guess what – we succeeded and even met some new people even if it just was a short “hey” five meters above the ground. But before we will come back to the bridge to hear about the awesome social touch and to the explanation of the quote and the headline we continue our journey through the day which will now bring us up on top of the Gellértberg, where we visited the Szabadság-szobor (statue of Liberty). Here i need to ad that we really made our way up there through sweat and blood. Instead of the easygoing concrete road we decided to take the path through the little forest and it turned out to be quite intense. When we finally made it up there (Special congratulations to Anastasia for walking up there in her flip-flops). we’ve lost around half our weight in sweat and Daniel looked like he just had a huge fight. The official story is that he fought of evil invaders who wanted to take over the city and won (unofficially my nose just stared bleeding, but we won’t get lost in detail here 😉 ).

After climbing down that hill we arranged to meet up later that night for some drinks and our paths parted for a few hours.

Later that night we went into one of the famous ruin bars for a beer and they indeed are unique. It appears to be a huge cellar split in several different rooms with bars, live DJs and dance floors, but as we had a second destination we wanted to go, we left after a beer and went to the desired liberty bridge. As we lost Anastasia on the way we were just three but it was still quite awesome. We had lots of wine and nice conversations. The perfect end to a long and adventurous day.

So now we get to the story of the bridge you – dear reader – were waiting for…
Already on our first night we witnessed something extraordinary. The whole bridge was closed for traffic and all over the bridge were people sitting, chatting, drinking and enjoying the night. They were sitting on the sidewalk, on the bridge and on the street. A peaceful get-together of all sorts of people, old an young, local and foreign. A place to connect or to say it even better, a place to build bridges. Bridges that connect people from all over Europe, people from all over the world…

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