Budapest, books and more....

by Maridani May. 03, 2017 477 views

One of the interesting things other than tourist attractions I found in Budapest are those little bookstores on four wheels that you can see here and there around town. These are like old-fashioned wooden carts with a roof staffed with hundreds of books. Not sure they are all second hand, but they all cost the equivalent of one Euro. At night they close the shutters with a few locks and that's it. It's really cute to see and gives me the feeling of the good old times where people were still reading.

I also see surprisingly lots of people reading books in public spaces, in the subway, in buses, in coffee shops... or even students studying from their notebooks - that means real notebooks, made of paper! It gives me back memories of my student's time when I prepared more than one exam on sunny terraces in the south of France.

Another fascinating aspect of this country is the Hungarian language. It belongs to the small group of Finno-Ugric languages, such as Finnish or Estonian and there is not much to be compared with. Written it looks like someone has taped at random on his typewriter being heavy on ö's and ü's. Spoken it sounds very charming to my ears. That's maybe because in Hungarian language always the first syllable is stressed and the rest follows unstressed, almost negligently, with a descending tone and without any particular accent. There is something warm and reassuring about it. The same I feel about people. Sure, after one or two weeks it can only be a very first impression, but so far my experience with people here has been positive. Most of the time people are friendly and relaxed. Not all of them speak well English, but they try as good as they can, all while continuing gesticulating and talking in Hungarian. I remember that young girl who only knew two words: "You can...", but still managed somehow to show me the way. 

In those moments I feel it's good to be in Europe again. Mentalities fit and it's more easy to blend. Maybe because I travel alone, don't wear maps and camera or tourist outfits, they generally take me for a local. Wherever I go, Prague, Bratislava, now Budapest or Russia in previous times they talk to me in their language. I love it because  it's more comfortable to feel part of the whole rather than being a weird thing that is better to be avoided. 

Another really good thing is that I kind of re-materialized, as a person and as a woman.  As sad as it is, but at age 28 I turned invisible. Not because I was old or ugly, just because I went to Japan where it is polite not to look at other people, so no friction or uncomfortable feelings can arise. At some point you wonder if you still exist or if you are just dreaming. In most of the Asian countries I have been to, Western women, especially over 30, are not much taken notice of. There might be cultural reasons for it and after some time you start to get used to, but it's kind of dull. Here, finally, I am seen again! People look at me, men look at me - with more interest or less interest, it depends, but I am seen. I am a human. It feels like the resurrection from the realm of ghosts back to humanity. 

Book cart

Book cart at Hüvösvölgy

Book cart at Moricz Zsigmond Körter

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