The Danube is a river which floats through the boarders of ten different countries. Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Moldova, Ukraine and Romania. As the waters flow from the Black Forest of Germany to the Black sea, they drift the sounds, the smells, the aura and the culture of every different city and country they pass by. Somewhere in the middle lies Budapest, the so called Pearl of the Danube.
I remember when I arrived in the city to stay as an international student. I was surprised with how fast I started to feel I belong here. Even though I came from Greece, a Mediterranean country which is very different from the ones in central Europe, I realized that in Budapest it is really hard to feel like a stranger. Budapest is a multicultural path that, along with the Danube, links the West with the East and the South with the North.
There are plenty of things you can do here. In Budapest you can stroll around its peaceful parks or visit the local spas, you can discover secrets around the castles or find a pair of vintage sunglasses in a thrift shop, you can seek comfort in the warmth of a delicious goulash soup or grab a gyros on your way home, you can go party all night at a ruin bar or watch a performance at the Opera. But most of all, you can walk around the streets listening to so many different languages and meet people from around the world.
To me Budapest is definitely the pearl of the Danube. I’m not saying that everything –well apart from the buildings- is cookie cut, but I wouldn’t change this sensation of belonging, its multicultural environment and all these options of exploration for anything.