I had the opportunity to travel across different parts of Europe last year and savoured the experience. And like travellers before me, I also found something to love about every city that I visited. But when it came to Budapest, it was love at first sight and it was the river Danube that created that magic feeling.
My love affair with the Danube started much before I even set my eyes on the river. The reason was the piece of music, “The Blue Danube”, that I learnt as part of my piano lessons, as a school-girl. My sense of geography was poor those days and thanks to the composition, the Danube existed in my imagination as some magical river.
Not in my wildest dreams, did I ever imagine that I would actually set foot in the city through which the Danube flowed and enjoy a long ferry ride across it. It was a speed boat that our hosts had arranged and it was a joyful feeling to sail across the Danube while trying to hum the tune. Once the boat picked up speed, one had to hold on for dear life, but that only added to the sense of exhilaration and enchantment, as the waters mirrored the magic of Buda and Pest and the Chain Bridge that connected the two cities.
I am sure that it must have been my Fairy Godmother from the land of magic who also ensured that I got a room on the 7th floor of a hotel, facing this beautiful river. On all the nights that I spent in Budapest, I would pull the curtains wide apart, so that I could go to bed, seeing the Danube and look at it the first thing in the morning, as I woke up. With the palace, the churches and other buildings reflecting their twinkling lights on the Danube, those nights in Budapest seemed like fairy-land and I wished that I could live in this city forever or at least return to it again and again.
While the Castle Hill and the Royal Palace, looked imposing when their lights were picked up by the Danube as also the Chain Bridge, it is the House of Parliament building, which held my attention. Bearing a strong resemblance to its British counterpart, the building is grandeur personified in its construction. I walked around it in awe, with my ears wide open to absorb the guide’s narration. How fortunate were the politicians who had the privilege of conducting their business in these surroundings, I thought.
Could one ask for more memories to treasure about Budapest and the Danube? Sometimes one doesn’t need to. Entering a little café, adjoining the church, there was an orchestra, making beautiful music with a piano-accordion, in lieu of a piano. I just pulled a chair and sat down rapt. It was only a matter of time before the mellifluous notes of “The Blue Danube,” wafted into the air. I could not sit still anymore. There were no men willing, so I just pulled a sporting lady friend from our group and we waltzed in and out between the chairs, to the magical tune of my growing-up years. The orchestra and audience may have looked on in amazement at the two crazy Indian ladies but I was oblivious … for my eyes were gazing out into the distance, through one of the windows, as the Blue Danube, flowed silently, touching my soul. I lived my dream in Budapest and I hope that I can go back to relive it.
About the Author: Melanie is a Bangalore-based Independent Writer, who loves to travel and write about her experiences. For Melanie, life is one big adventure but there is nothing quite like travel to widen one’s horizons, says she!
Share your Place of Inspiration in our Travel Writing Contest. First Prize $1000usd cash, free entry!