There seems to be this unspoken pact between lone female travelers in which we have each other’s backs, despite hardly knowing who the other is

Budapest was a lot of firsts for me. It was my first trip in which I had no idea where I was going until a few days before departure, my first visit to a non-western European country, and it was the first time I checked out the night life of a new city, properly, and without a built-in friend to feel safe with.

While I love traveling by myself, I usually stick to a couple of solid rules: don’t talk to anyone unless necessary, don’t walk around with music drowning out your senses, know your surroundings and how to get back to the hostel, oh, and don’t walk the streets at night past 10pm.

But this time I didn’t do that.

Budapest is famous for their ruin bars, pubs and clubs in which poor people wanted a cheap drink, and set up these small hubs within the string of abandoned buildings scattered throughout Pest, ruins. They have mismatched furniture, colors, plants, graffiti on the walls, and random pieces of art everywhere, including things hanging from the ceilings.

a staircase in SzimplaThe ambiance was beyond anything comparable, with each room having a completely different vibe than the one before it, and I fell in love with this part of the city. Call it hipster, touristy, or grunge, my favorite bars, Fogas Ház and Szimpla Kert, were quirky, played great music, and yes, served cheap drinks in comparison to the rest of Europe. I bought my first cocktail, a New Beginning.

All three of my nights there, I went out with one of my roommates, and Tuesday night there were three of us that went out. One was American and studied in Dublin, and not on exchange, the other was Peruvian and Belgian, and studied in Antwerp. It’s so interesting, how you can introduce yourself to someone, and then 20 minutes later feel like friends who always do this together. We did what I would normally do with my friends: go out, have fun, take creeper photos of the cute bartender, dance, eat pizza at 1am, and then hope we can find our way back to the hostel in the dark with Google maps.

It’s sharing experiences like these that turn strangers into friends, and makes me realize that no matter where you come from, or where you are in life, there is always something that connects you to another person, another life, another world. A music festival in Sacramento, a stroll through the streets of Glasgow, or a few nights out in Budapest. From walking along the river with the city lights gleaming, to deep philosophical conversations, I’ve met some incredibly admirable, unique, women along the way, and am thankful for the time that we spent together. I won’t forget you.


  1. This is why you should stay in a city. We lived on the boat and did not get into these wonderful bars. Thanks for sharing.


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