Budapest, Hungary 🇭🇺

1. The city is divided by a big river called the Danube River. The west side is called Buda (meaning water) and the east side is called Pest (pronounced pesht, meaning oven).

2. All the public buses are wheelchair accessible. Some of the metro stations are wheelchair accessible, most are not. This means the stations either do not have elevator or have one to three steps leading into the train.

3. Most Hungarians here are very friendly and nice.

4. Practically all the restaurants, grocery stores, pubs, etc. have a step right at the entrance. One grocery store I went to had a sign pointing to the wheelchair accessible entry way, but once I arrived at that entrance, there was still a step leading to the inside of the store. The place I entered seemed to have been a back room for staff members. The young lady working at the store was shocked to see me and acted like an individual in an wheelchair had never shopped at their store before. Even if this was the case, I wouldn't be surprised due to the huge obstacle course of getting in the store.

5. Entry ways into toilet facilities are often very narrow. When I was using the restrooms, I usually couldn't close the door in the stalls. This either blocked the way for other people who needed to use the stalls and/or it caused going to the bathroom to be a spectator's sport. Most people would try to avert eye contact with me while I was going to the bathroom, which was my preferred reaction. Some would try to engage me in a conversation and many more would ask if I needed help, which was extremely uncomfortable and shameful for me because I had my pants down and they were watching me on the toilet seat!!!

6. A few phrases I learned from Budapest: Köszönöm=thank you, zar=close, Bocsánat=I'm sorry; and that's it... Not much to show for the four days I spent here. It is a very hard language to understand. I often had to have them write things down for me for directions so that I would know where they were talking about.

7. The younger generations are pretty fluent in English.

8. The free walking tours for tourists have always been a great experience for me no matter what city I go to, and Budapest did not disappoint in this aspect either. I always meet so many interesting people from so many exciting places. It is a great way to make friends fast! They are usually two to three hours long and give great insight to the history of the city.

9. My favorite attraction was wheeling along the vast Danube River when the weather was sunny. At the bank of the river on the Pest side, you can see the hilly city side of Buda and all the major attractions on that side.

10. On my first hour in Budapest, I asked a fellow metro rider if Budapest was big. She emphatically exclaimed, YES! It has two million people. After coming from NYC and London, I was thinking the exact opposite... But it was nice to be in a less populated city. However, many in Budapest expressed their discontent with the noise and dirty air. Just wait 'til they get to Manhattan...

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