Berlin, Budapest, Tel Aviv.
There I went, with my backpack, my camera, and a mind full of fantasies about what the next two weeks might be like. When my shoes were still white, my SD card empty and my diary excited to get filled with stories.
Just a couple of minutes ago, my mum and I were standing in front of these overfilled supermarket shelfs, trying to figure out what muesli bars are best to take. And within a split second, I found myself in my rideshare to Berlin, staring at an endless star-studded sky and letting my imagination wander.
I was flying from Berlin because it was cheaper than Hamburg. And I was flying with layover in Budapest, because that was cheaper again. Being sweet 22, I did not care about neither accommodation nor sleep during a 16 hours stay which I used instead to discover a gorgeous city.
Luckily, I live in such a connected world that I was able to meet a friend’s friend who showed me around. Zsófi and I spent the afternoon strolling the surprisingly sunny Buda side, enjoying views and food and exchanging stories of how we got where we are. After we separated, I went to the Pest side, walking along one of the more crowded streets, simply observing.
So, my first thoughts about Budapest. Funnily, the escalators seem to move faster in Budapest than they do regularly. Some streets reminded me of Helsinki, others of San Sebastian, others of Stockholm. The weather was comfortable enough to wear sandals…
Just a bit later I actually had the funniest tinder date ever with a guy from Hamburg. Just by chance we found out we’d be in Budapest the same time, so we met up here. First thing we did? Well, regarding the progressing time and my wishes to still see more of the city … we visited a church. I adopted that behavior from a friend; even though I’m not religious, whenever I’m in a new place I go to see the church, sit down for a moment, escape all trouble and noises outside, breathe, before continuing to explore. This time, it also was somewhat funny and continued my good time in Budapest.
Right after, in good manners, we went to a nice viewpoint to have a beer, later went for some Hungarian food and after that to a typical crowded kind of courtyard made up of several small bars, full of lights and music and plants and decoration. It was marvelous, and everybody seemed happy, and nobody alone.
We met more people with whom we spent the night, we crushed other teams in table soccer, we danced, we had interesting talks. Things twisted, and the evening happened to turn out very unexpected but special (no I didn’t end up with my date, haha). However, I met another beautiful soul that night with a very inspiring mind… At 3 am, I went to the bus and off to the airport. I was pretty damn tired but satisfied. And actually proud that I didn’t fall asleep, missing my flight after all.
I slept most of the time on the plane, when I was not tried to be relentlessly converted to Catholicism by a very loving father on his way alone to discover the Holy Land. In Tel Aviv, still feeling the Hungarian 7°C, I was welcomed by 33°C and a hell of a blue sky. So I took my time to get changed. I was actually amused by duty free adverts – given the possibility to buy fridges, ovens, vacuum cleaners and whole kitchens.
So I went through security. And of course I can totally understand why they need information about my job, my studies, my accommodation, my friend’s name and address, my relationship status, the jobs of my parents. “Ah yeah I’m staying with airbnb, sure.” Better not mentioning I’m going to live at a random guys’s place I met on the internet.
Finally, I was there, and looking for the right way to the train station. I got some cash, a ticket – and just missed the second to last train going to town. It was Yom Kippur, just THE Jewish holiday, meaning around 2 or 3 pm life shuts down. Completely. Nothing goes. No public transport, no shops, no restaurants, no cars, no electricity, and the serious people fast for 25 hours. Lucky me, I catched the last train to town, surprisingly found the right bus towards my host straight away, still payed enough attention to get off the right stop, amazingly remembered the way to the apartment. I was stunned by the view and the actual closeness of just 50m to the beach. Dream come true.
I waited in front of the building trying to figure out which apartment it would be (as if they would have functioning bells or names on the signs). A guy entering the building saw me and simply asked at which couchsufer’s I’m staying, good start. So I went five floors up to the top apartment that I would see way more often during the next two weeks than I expected in that moment.
So, it was Yom Kippur, and I still half unconscious from lack of sleep. Since there wouldn’t be much to do anyway for the next 1,5 days I decided just to take it easy and really arrive in this place. I swam, I took photos, I slept, I talked to interesting people.
In the evening, we went to my host Hezi’s family for a quiet evening together. I’m sure the neighbors didn’t mind us cooking and the guys noisily playing playstation in the middle of the night at all. I slept – again – and when we left, I pulled it together and actually used the opportunity to experience the advantages of Yom Kippur to its fullest extent. While Hezi walked, I was taking the bike (my foot, you know…), and we would stroll through the biggest streets of a city like this, would sit on intersections with eight lines coming from each direction, would ride down to the highway, lie down, watching stars. It was magical.
We spent the following day just as relaxed, and in the evening we went to Hezi’s family again to celebrate end of Yom Kippur and fasting with a fabulous dinner.
Just two days in Tel Aviv and I had already found a bunch of amazing people I could imagine to spend my whole holidays with. Everything was just about right, in the right place at the right time 🙂
To be continued.