Budapest is a lively city. There’s no other word for it. From the hotel room, even on a Monday night, cars seemed to be buzzing by at 2 AM. In parts, it is beautiful too. But there seems to be an incredible sadness in some of the East European countries that one can’t really put one’s finger on. The architecture from the communist era is functional, bare and ugly. It stands as a constant reminder of the efforts to destroy the joys of being an individual. But unlike Prague, where the older buildings are somewhat airy, the ones in Budapest felt heavy. The balance was utterly lost.
While walking by the Parliament building in the city, it seemed rather cold as you walked closer to it. Near it there was another communist-era building. Two old men started talking about how it was in the communist era, and that dissenters were taken to that particular building, killed, ground to little bits, and the remains were thrown into the Danube river. At another place, an old man, probably senile was ranting about the people killed by the government.
Added to this was the constant onslaught of graffiti. I love well-done graffiti. But in some places, you know that is a desperate need to be passionate. To break through the monotony of uniform subways, and scream into the streets. I swear I almost heard Simon and Garfunkel humming Sounds of Silence while walking about the city sometimes.
Yes, Budapest is beautiful. The sun was bright, but there just wasn’t enough cheer in the city. It’s hard to describe it. The morbidness of the city is all pervasive. It invades all your senses. However, the children in Budapest were a delight. They love the camera, and it was impossible to not click. And perhaps it’s their giggles that add some element of frothiness to the city.