The truth is I have never been abroad until now. Three months ago I arrived in Budapest and finally I could call myself a traveler. I remember my first month here, I was extremely excited, and my friends teased me, because everything I saw seemed to me flawless. The big colorful parks, the impressive bridges, the glorious buildings blew me away. But as the days were passing by and I started to become a resident in this city, and not just an enthusiastic tourist, I realized that maybe sometimes I was overreacting.
If someone asked me to describe the city with a phrase, I would say, Budapest is the city of contradictions. In daytime, people seem extremely busy and serious. I remember the first time I got onto the tram and I started observing the people: the carriage was in a complete silence and the expression on people’s faces was neutral. As I come from Greece, this seemed unbelievable to me. Similarly, in Budapest, when you make your orders in a restaurant or pub, most of the time waiters are smileless and unfriendly, they just want to take your order and get done with it. Generally there is a melancholic vibe in the air.
But when the night comes, the neutral faces become emotional and ecstatic! The first thing I noticed here was that especially on Friday and Saturday nights, the tram always smells from beer. People of all ages with big bottles of alcohol and glasses from home enjoy their drinks on the tram. Red faces struggle to find their balance on the moving tram. Drinking here is a ritual, not a celebration. The funniest thing was when one night I was in a very famous bar downtown with my friends and we ran into a waiter who works in our favorite restaurant. We love this restaurant and we visit it almost every day, but we hate the waiter because every time he comes to take our order he doesn’t even stare at us and has an expression of boredom on his face. And now we saw him dancing like crazy and expressing emotions!! We couldn’t believe it!!
But the question still remains: why does the city come alive only at night?