(Key: YT thoughts are in Italic, Ben's typeface is unchanged)
While avoiding to stand out as tourists which we quite obviously are, we first observe then embrace the culture and etiquette in the cities we visit. To do so, we keep tally of reoccurring style in fashion, ways of commuting and hue in dishes, then try our best to experience them in the most authentic way possible. It’s spying under broad daylight. We have fun keeping count as well as keeping our eyes peeled, noticing different quirks in each metropolis we occupy. Here is a quick follow up on our previous entry, which you can find here.
First stop: Münich
Our experience with people from the Bavarian city has thus far been very limited, therefore our expectations were as well. Some of our more obvious guesses found footing, such as foam-topped lagers and sausages of all kind. Mmmmmm…. sausages….! On top of that we saw nothing of the social stereotype that implies German’s can be cold or unwelcoming. It may had something to do with the fact that we were traveling with YT’s adorable pocket sized mum, but anyone we encountered was laid back and friendly with a sense of ease about them. Also we counted like 23 man-buns including Ben’s doppelgänger.
Hopping on a Hungarian overnight train across the boarder made a dazzling first impression of what the nation bears. A blending of European aristocracy with its Communist past. While its itchy-carpety seats reminds Ben of numerous school trips in his childhood, YT is fascinated by the half-whimsical half-dated decor of the sleeper coach. We arrived at Győr the next morning, shortly after a small complimentary breakfast served by our train monitor. Our agenda for this little town was pretty loose meeting up with friends at meal time, and that is it. There were a lot of reminiscing while chowing down on white paprika, Hungarian craft beer and street food among our company. To YT’s amusement she started noticing a certain fashion trend among 50+ city-dwellers, which is the socks and sandal combo. In case you see it on runway in coming seasons, you heard it from us first.
The Capital was another beast altogether. It is relatively big (525 km²) compare to nearby capitals (Bucharest, 228km² | Vienna 414.6km²) with a young population distributed over 23 districts. The major ethnicity is unsurprisingly caucasian. The reason why we are mentioning this, is that we can feel people’s confusion as they stare on. YT may not be the most Asian of Asians, but her petiteness, dark hair and yellow complexion sticks out like a sore thumb. As for Ben, people’s looks were equally puzzled as they conversed with him in Hungarian. It was easy to ignore these stares at first, though it comes a point where its mentally draining to keep reassuring yourself to be comfortable in your own skin, quite literally. Exploring the city however was such delight! Ah, the amount of hipster bikes, bonny pooches and fluffy dairy products that makes a lactose intolerant girl cry milk tears. All in all, the past decade has done Budapest a lot of good though it still has some catching up to do.
Last stop: London
Finally, wether on purpose or by mere chance, we left the best for last. (It’s okay, we’re allowed to be biased.) Though there may have been a lot of developments and changes made to the cityscape, they were invisible to us. We were simply too caught up in revisiting and enjoying the city that moulded us so significantly in our early 20s when we lived there for almost half a decade. The vivid squares (parks) littered with suits having their take-away lunch; the unwarned on again off again drizzle; the myriad of authentic food prepared and served by equally versatile and colourful faces. London possesses a quality that we haven’t been able to spot anywhere else during our travels; it’s in a league of its own. And though we might not live there now or in the near future, somehow, just somehow, we’ll keep coming back to it.
That's our not-so-short review of our hasty Tour de Fort. Stay tuned for some quippier, more specialised posts coming next week on #TravelTuesday .