I don't think we realise just how much is out there. Beyond the walls of our houses and further than the streets that wind between our local shops. I don't think we realise - though sometimes we think we might - just how spectacular this world of ours is. We forget that places are there for us to fall in love with, just as people are. And like people, these towns and cities and countries capture your heart with their brilliant personalities and the romance between person and place begins.
That was something that I thought about, thousands of feet in the air.
It really, truly, occurred to me that we need to make the most of this planet, when the plane had just taken off. During our ascent into the clouds, I could see everything. My hometown, hidden in the night and yet lit up like it was a reflection of the stars above. Everything was light, a network of the tiny glowing streetlights and buildings and homes. And that was exactly what Budapest looked like from above, too, two hours later. It was breathtaking. And yet, the next morning when the sunlight touched everything again, it was more breathtaking still. Because even though both cities were similarly beautiful at night, in the daytime, Budapest was beautiful in its own unique way.
The buildings were made of stories, of history and of elegance, and they sat so neatly alongside the Danube. In the distance, there were hills with even more wonderful buildings and statues and monuments, watching over the boats that sailed along the river. The people of Budapest were so welcoming and kind. You could tell that they loved their city, that they were proud of everything it had to offer. There was so much to do and to see, and even though the air was chilly, the sky was blue and there were people everywhere. And there were so many stories and languages and experiences that people were sharing with one another. Students on their first trip there, getting drunk with the locals. Couples returning to their favourite place in all the world, seeing sights that need to be seen more than just the once. There was a little bit of everything. Outdoor thermal spas, zoo cafes, boat trips, city tours. Cafes and restaurants and street food. A weekend was not enough time for it all.
And yet, it only took a weekend for me to fall in love with it. I don't know exactly what it was - or maybe that's the point, it was a combination of everything - that made me give a piece of my heart to it. But there that piece shall stay, in its new home of Budapest. I think sometimes there are parts of the world where you are just meant to be. Maybe not always, maybe not permanently, but at some point, inevitably. Perhaps in a parallel universe, it is my home. And that's why I feel connected to it, even miles and miles away.
I hope to visit Budapest again one day. To meet more of its locals, to try more of its food, to breathe more of its Hungarian air. And I hope that more people get to experience it, too. To fall for it for many different reasons, and many that undoubtedly are the same. But for now, this love story shall remain long distance, one that travels over the ocean and across the world. Here’s to all the people of Earth who are in love with this amazing planet. What a love story it is.