As you know, I spent a couple of weeks at my friend's flat in the summertime, and although last November's familiar gloom had changed into scorching heat, Budapest felt the same to me. The same air of dripping decay and sense of sleepwalking was still there (I think I mentioned it earlier), and it caught me after a few days. Not sure if I've still fully managed to shake it off.
My impression of Budapest can be seen in a few details. Black cats lurking in the streets, the bygone glory and slow ruin, red wine and velvet pillows, white lace curtains, chipping paint and Bela's piercing glare. Rows of beautiful houses stretching as far as the eye can see, and all those bulletholes in their faces, reminding how history is always near. And you can never know what the streets bring into your sight. Whether it's those unnaturally large spiders dangling in the bridges between Buda and Pest, or even a coffin on the sidewalk!
But I don't think most people perceive the city so grimly, I just seem to look at everything through very dark glasses. Heart-shaped, but dark.
I ran on the street in heavy rain with my nightgown on and listened to a live jam session at a former Soviet slaughterhouse. Had a lovely picnic at the Buda Castle courtyard at 1.am., when there's no other soul to be found, except for the bats circling in the air above. I showered in candle light when the light-switch stopped working and climbed the infinite stairs of St.Istvan's church to get that spiraling photograph. I looted the various second hand shops and markets, filling the suitcase up with old medical bottles, frames and vintage robes. We even went on this incredibly cool caving expedition under Budapest (would have scared any claustrophobe to death!), and I kind of earned the title of tempestarii, because each day I mentioned thunder it seemed to suddenly form and flash the sky blind.
And most of all, I hanged around the city with Laura. Roasting pine seeds in the kitchen in the morning, and having weird conversations with complete strangers in the ruin bars. Indulging in so many glorious veggie dishes that my hedonism chart must have increased by a few numbers! I still didn't visit any thermal spas that the city is famous for, but maybe the city will lure me in again someday.