While Hungary wasn’t in my top five favorite countries (mostly because I didn’t see much of Hungary), Budapest was in my top five favorite cities. It offered such a hybrid of elegance, natural beauty, and grunge.
I was warned that when traveling through Europe, especially western and central Europe, that it’s easy for the cities to blend together because they can appear very similar over time. Budapest had so much unique, gritty character, it was refreshing, exciting, and memorable at this point in my trip.
Most of the city’s grittiness comes from trying to slowly but surely recover from the war. If Budapest were a person, it would be the person who’s like “I’m not there yet, but I’m working as hard as I can.” And those are the kind of people I like.