Viszontlátásra, Budapest


Dearest Budapest,

The past four years have been fascinating. I’ve lived in many exotic locations, but after a short time, I’d always stop being impressed by their beauty. Not so with you.


It was fabulous to behold a rich, thriving culture of music, dance, and folk art. Please, don’t ever cast this aside, like so many other cultures in this part of Europe are doing.


I will miss the simple bliss of soaking my aging bones in your therapeutic waters.


Most of all, I’m so very pleased to have been able to peer behind your grandiose facade.  When I strolled down your neglected back streets, I didn’t see ruin and decay. I saw potential. The unpretentious eccentricity of your inhabitants was a sight to behold. As was your rapid transformation from edgy and slightly scary to mainstream party central. The only detritus that remains is the filth – piss/puke/dog(?) poop. But I’m even grateful for that, because now I know to always, always watch where I step and be careful not to fall.  I can’t help but be a little sad that the original spirit that had so captivated me has all but dissipated, but I understand that all things must pass. I’m happy that I was able to witness the bizarre spectacle before it was swallowed up by trendiness.


During my time here, I managed to learn how to say basic Hungarian phrases. I could buy things in the market, order off a menu, raise my glass for a toast, and insult someone (although I never did).

However, I never could feel comfortable saying  viszontlátásra, which means “farewell”. I always switched letters around or simply stopped after the first syllable and hoped that people got the idea.

So, Budapest, I’ll simply leave you with a köszönöm. Thank you.

44 thoughts on “Viszontlátásra, Budapest

  1. Ooh la la, what a city! Okay, that city’s name is a mighty tough one. I wouldn’t stop at the first syllable, I’d brake at the first letter! Very nice post and whatta cool stairway pic! Such great captures of this country’s traditional and modern city life clashing and in harmony too, together. Ooh la la!

  2. Slovakia? WOW. I told my friend, who lives in Ukraine, that I would come visit her before I’m 50. That gives me a good 13 years to plan ahead. Haha! Thanks for letting me know that the tongue-twister was a saying and not a city. So glad you gave us a glimpse of the country. Definitely not one I would have thought to add onto my “To visit during my exciting senior years” list.

    • It’s still an interesting place, even though a lot of the grittiness has disappeared. Definitely worth a visit. I’ll look forward to your photos. 🙂

  3. You must be a little ahead of us. We are currently in Poland, then Slovakia and Budapest. Wonderful seeing it through your eyes. We are on the tourist ‘just skimming the surface’ trip, but now I will watch out for the experiences you mention. GG The Reluctant Retiree

    • Hi Gwendolyn. It looks like we’ll be almost crossing paths!

      When you make it to Budapest, I definitely recommend a trip to Szechenyi Thermal Baths. It’s the best bath in Budapest. As for the grungy streets – those are in the 7th District behind the synagogue. Hope you have a fun time here! Slovakia is beautiful as well, but much quieter.

      • Great thanks for the great tip. We wanted to go to some baths. When we are Slovakia we will be in the Tatra mountain area. A place called Nova Lesna. Hope it is a bit cooler there. GG

  4. Good luck and I hope you keep up the blogging from there… Do come back and visit us here! Oh and as usual, fantastic pictures!

  5. I loved following your blog “Postcards…” and I remember seeing that photo of you on the stairs for the first time thinking “everywhere she goes, there will always be an adventure waiting for her.”

    Every city has a unique tempo, dynamics and narrative – you captured it all in your love letter to Budapest.

    “Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” Jane Jacobs

  6. Bratislava bound! Awesome. Here’s a helpful Slovak phrase I just picked up: “Moje vznášadlo je plné úhorov.” – ‘My hovercraft is full of eels.’

    • My goodness. How did you know that I happened to need that exact phrase as we passed over the border into Slovakia? We had to pantomime our problem to the police after they stopped us for erratic driving. I think I’ll have this phrase engraved on a plaque for next time…

  7. You already know that I have a sweet spot for your travels in Budapest, so I will be missing her dearly as well. I can’t wait to see what comes next though! Wishing you the best 🙂

    • Thank you. Yes, you’ve been with me since my old blog. Thanks so much for following along with my travels. I’ll have photos of Slovakia for sure. It’s a different ambiance, but also magical. 🙂

  8. the art of saying goodbye
    (great post – very artsy both the photos and the words)
    good luck in your new adventure…

  9. Budapest is one my favourite cities and you’ve captured it perfectly in your post. The back streets between District V and VII are simply fantastic, I’ve not seen anywhere like it in Europe. Thanks for sharing, I must visit for a second time!

  10. Some places are more connected with humanity than others, and it’s a little sad when such places lose their relationship to outside the conversations they once embraced.

    • I was just talking about Budapest with my husband yesterday. We’ve been gone almost one year, but it seems like a lot longer. However, I think if we went back for a day and walked around we’d be shocked by how much it’s changed since we left. The steamroller of investment is relentless.

      • The story of wanted or unwanted progress never stops, it just pauses until it finds a place to turn upside down and not necessarily for the better or community, just for coin.

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