Why I love living in Budapest (No. 8)

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An invitation any night of the week is likely to land me anywhere! Sometimes I’ll have been there before, like the great Gypsy Jazz night at Bar Ladino last week. Sometimes though, it’ll be a brand new experience where I’m left wondering how I managed to live my life without ever having known this place! So it was last Friday when the lovely MI extended an invite to go to Romai to hear her sister’s band perform. She lured me there with the promise of fish and chips! And what self-respecting fan of The Van could turn that one down.

It’s a hike. It’s practically surburban by Budapest standards. But as KG reminded us, by London standards, it’s not far at all. A little like going from Kennington to Forest Hill. There is a boat that takes you there but for some unknown reason (I keep forgetting that reasons are no longer required for irrational behaviour – if they ever were here in BP) the boat service stops before 5pm. So we took the hév – Budapest’s surburban railway. It’s about a 20-minute journey, no longer. You get off at Romai furdo and then walk towards the river. Római Fürdő is one stop after the one for Aquinicum (yes, when I’m wrong KG, I’ll admit it!) and I’ll need to come back to RF later… next free day I have, as it looks like it could be rather pleasant way to pass the time. District 3 (Budapest has 23 districts in all and District 3 is in Buda) is lovely, lovely, lovely. I’ve picked out my house, complete with ‘guest cottage’ in the grounds. It’s like walking back in time. Some of the houses still have the original pre-WW2 street signs on the walls where utca (street) is spelled utcza.

The band were great. Some really good covers of old classics like Proud Mary, Sweet Home Alabama and  newer stuff that surfaced the depths of my ignorance of what’s happening music-wise these days. But when the lead singer (who bears a remarkable resemblance to Mr Paul Trevorrow, complete with trendy porkpie) launched into Máté Péter’s Zene nélkül mit érek én (What I am worth without music), they took off. It was excellent. No matter how fluent the singers, you can’t beat singing in your native language for sheer passion. The band asked us to get up and dance and make their night and for the longest time the only one on the cobblestoned floor was a cute little five-year-old who was putting us all to shame. We eventually braved it though and once up, found it very, very hard to sit down. We should have done it sooner: moving targets are hard for the mozzies to find!

It’s a gorgeous spot – imagine the buzz of a city-centre square on the banks of a river in the heart of the suburbs… Our partners in crime for the evening, the lovely András and his gal Bori, drove us back to the city. It was way too long a walk!

I quite fancy myself as a groupie though… so keep those invites coming MI!

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