Wandering the sun-baked cobbled streets of Budapest, age has had a more aggressive effect on some buildings than others. Construction and regeneration is prevelant across the cityscape, but the modernistic glass fortresses sit awkwardly against the sprawling expanses of tatty terracotta townhouses of the suburbs.
Searching side-streets for our accommodation for the week uncovered some usual establishments. Artisan coffee bars were most welcome, but the red-upholstered radical communist bar was a little more intimidating and clearly less frequented by tourists. Both were within a stones throw of our room, which was 65 steps up a dusty and cracked helical staircase, hidden by a sun-bleached door, hanging precariously on iron hinges.
No signs marked the entrance, and only deciphering a scrawled annotation next to the selection of brass buzzers lead us through the door. A dingy courtyard akin to those typical of crime drama drug-deal scenes presented itself. Building detritus littered the shady corners with abandoned televisions and sofas scattered sporadically, collecting dust.
Navigating the broad staircase, heavily laden with an assortment of luggage, we reached the final door after ascending 4 flights. It was equally as foreboding, but behind it lay a hostel at complete odds with every aspect of the surroundings. A plump and greying lady sat squeezed behind a tiny desk, attempting to navigate various booking applications. It seemed clear this new method had been taken up somewhat begrudgingly.
She welcomed us graciously into, relative to the scenery of a moment before, felt like a whole new world. A wall of photographs, seemingly of previous satisfied visitors sat opposite the simplistically furnished but thoroughly cleaned kitchenette, next to which was the door to our room. She clearly took much pride in her service which elevated the whole experience. Irrespective of aged furnishings or basic facilities, it was a wonderful place to stay for its simplicity, homeliness and pure charm.
The handle came off when leaving on the third day of our stay, but it appeared this was normal as guests already at home here seemed unperturbed. Despite first impressions not distant from outright unease, it was a fantastic place to stay. A rose nestled amongst thorns of disrepair that we made our home for a long weekend.
The picture was taken on a gloriously sunny morning in a doorway looking out onto an internal balcony on the second floor, surrounded by dust and broken furniture.