Saturday, July 11, 2015

It took me more than a month to experience for the first time Budapest nightlife. I mean not bars, clubs, and kebab joints—although those, too, are aplenty—but rather strolling the city after sundown, after the darkness descends upon the ever sunny Budapest.

Certainly I’d been out in the city after dinnertime? Why, of course. But with sunset closer to midnight than dinnertime, I often find myself heading home at around 9:00 p.m. to rest in order to begin the next day with the same zest.

To stroll a city late at night, I believe, is what weekends are for.

For the first time since my feet touched the sacred land of the Magyars, I was out and about bustling Pest—east of the river Danube—ignoring bar after bar as I arrowed towards the waterfront.

At a night-time glance, Buda and Pest are to one another a contrast of what defines city and suburb. On one side you have Buda, which at night is inky, still, and calm; its only illumination the impressive Buda Castle and the majestic Matthias Church beside it.

But on the other side there’s Pest, which, to residents of Buda, must seem like that annoying roommate who never wants to sleep when you do—or when normal, functional human beings do. Its waterfront dotted with restaurants, bars, and restaurant-bars, Pest is the noisy neighbour who never shies away from hosting the biggest and loudest house party on the street.

Walking in Buda at night, looking across the Danube, I truly understood why Budapest, or perhaps Pest in particular, attracts so many different types of tourists. Young and old, men and women, artsy and party—there’s something for everyone, even a fast turning Ferris wheel that stays open long after bedtime.

Perhaps most awesome of all Budapest’s buildings is—unsurprisingly—the parliament, which looks amazing during the day and even more remarkable at night. On that note, I’m still struggling to find an explanation for the swirling birds atop its spiral dome.

As a city with such a rich variety of activities by day and by night, it’s no wonder all the hipsters are flooding the city.

Just one question, though: if all the hipsters come to Budapest, when does it become so mainstream that it sends them packing again? JSF.

P.S. Some say (Jeremy Clarkson voice), I am a bit of a hipster myself. But I cannot possibly be, since I’ve just pointed it out.

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