After my trip to Prague, I was headed to Budapest. Every person I had talked to ensured me that if I loved Prague; I would fall head over heels for Budapest. Needless to say, I was excited beyond belief because the Czech Republic is like a fairy tale. I imagined old castles and cobbled streets, just like Budapest’s counterpart Prague.
So when I got to Budapest I was disappointed.
I was miserable.
I hated it.
And I felt guilty for acting like a spoilt brat.
And here’s why:
Budapest is a lot more cosmopolitan than Prague; a lot more modern; a lot bigger, and a lot busier. It is the London of Hungary. So completely different from the historic old town feel of Prague. I had this vision of Budapest and when reality did not meet this expectation, I felt let down.
I also happened to go during the summer when many young English teens are inter-railing. You would think that this meant I would meet and make friends with a number of people. You would be wrong. Inter-railers like to travel in groups, and will only socialise with other people at night at a bar. They will not ask you to join them on their daytime outings. So, unlike in Prague, I was alone for most of my trip.
This brings me on to my hostel. I was staying above one of the biggest nightclubs in Budapest, which was not a problem; I can sleep with noise. But it was hot and antisocial for the most part. The worst bit was when I was asleep at 3am, and two northerners slammed open the door, smacked the overhead light on, snorted some coke, starting yelling, and then left. Leaving the light on. Talk about inconsiderate roommates.
All of these contributed to my nightmare trip to Budapest. I didn’t feel welcome or comfortable.
And I felt selfish for not enjoying my time in Budapest. Some people don’t get the chance to travel. Some people aren’t as lucky as I am. And there I was feeling sorry for myself. But then a friend told me, “you don’t have to like every place you visit,” and this really hit home, as I had the impression that I would fall in love with everywhere I went. But in reality, there will be a point in your travels where it just doesn’t click. And that is fine.
Now, just because I had a bad experience in Budapest does not mean that the city itself lacks. Budapest has the Roman baths, a huge parliament building, ruin bars and much more to see. And I think if people had not hyped up the city so much and compared it to Prague, I would have enjoyed it a lot more. Most people enjoy Budapest more than Prague, so this shows that one’s preconceptions of a place can break it or make it.
Will I go back? Maybe. But this time with friends, not solo.