I’m currently in Budapest for work, because that’s the kind of thing that happens in my life now. Did you know that this city is split into two sections by the Danube river, with one side referred to as Buda and the other as Pest? I didn’t either! We have so much in common! (Disclaimer: the most fascinating thing to me about reading about Otzi in college was discovering that Italy and Switzerland share a border, so maybe it’s not super shocking that European geography frightens and confuses me.)
I’m here for a conference, so this trip will be more about actual focus and less about trolling the city looking for the tastiest pastries, but I managed to sneak in some sightseeing this morning. Like most places in Europe, the architecture and history just astounds me. In Los Angeles, preserving Art Deco buildings from the 1930s seems like too much effort. I cannot believe the centuries that are on display in Europe. It is incredible.
Two things I discovered in the three hours I wandered:
1) An unexpected and completely awesome perk to touring by myself with just a purse and no visible camera is that people trying to sell tours or trinkets leave me alone. I’ve got no backpack, paparazzi lens, or large group of chattering Americans to clue them into the fact that I am precisely the demographic their bosses would love them to force flyers upon. It’s a marvelous loophole. Such a discovery.
2) I (/maybe all women?) am (/are?) a hot commodity here. I can sometimes be a pretty big downer about cat calls and obnoxious unwanted attention from strange men, but being so fresh from my Norway experience, where I was literally a bridge troll in comparison to most of the population and where approximately zero percent of the Ken dolls parading the streets were interested, it’s nice to have a bit of an ego boost. It’s Compliment City over here. Love it.