Here’s what I got up to when Topman was recently invited over to experience the city’s most iconic event, Sziget Festival.
Cold War Park
Want to know what really cures a hangover? Getting flew around the countryside in a 69 year old plane that was used in the Cold War, manned by retired soldiers the size of two Hulk Hogans. This is an incredibly odd interactive museum where you can drive around in a tank, shoot AK47s and actually go up in the sky in a vintage aeroplane, which we’d take over the V&A any day.
Plus you can walk around drinking cans, which makes any educational experience 100% more interesting.
Meat & Sauce
This is in my top 5 sandwiches of all time. Quite a statement, I know, but hear me out. They start out with homemade bread and fill it full of tender Louisiana style pork rib meat, which they then slather with a spicy mayo. They then assemble the sandwich and then…wait for it…DUNK IT IN GRAVY. As a Northern man I appreciate nothing more than a good serving of brown meat sweat, and watching this go down into a pot was like being at a really emotional baptism. Praise Meat & Sauce.
It’s like someone turned their student accommodation into a massive cheap bar, but without the embarrassing posters of Che Guevara. The city is adorned with crumbling buildings oozing with unique character. My favourite was Szimpla Kert, which has a trippy room full of ‘80s tellies playing hipster graphics on loop, a sizeable outdoor garden and crisp local beer.
Hungarians love their stews, so I thought it’d be rude not to have a crack at making one. However our team’s effort at making the classic national dish resulted in a raw, peppery abomination, mainly due to our decreasing attention span that was heavily knocked with the constant supply of palenka, a local spirit which was being dished out at breakfast time like it was fresh orange juice.
Situated on an island, this festival celebrated it’s 25th year this summer, bringing the likes of Macklemore, Wiz Khalifa, Biffy Clyro, Steve Aoki, Vince Staples and more to the city. But this event is so much more than music. Yoga on the beach, discussions on issues in the LGBTQ+ community, professional circus and fire jugglers, these are just a few of the non-music activities you can get up to.
Also they do drinks in sand buckets, which is my favourite unit of measurement.
If you want a more gentle hangover cure, then a warm thermal bath will do just the trick. There’s loads dotted around the city and it’s how a lot of Hungarians start their day. And as well as hosting questionably hygienic all night raves, they’re also used as a place to ease aching joints, which Hungarians can expense back on their health system (c’mon NHS, step your game up).
I went out as a lonesome journalist expecting to wander a festival and a city alone, but I returned with memories that I’ll never forget made by people I’ll never forget. Soppy I know, but everyone is up for a laugh in Budapest. From the friendly locals bringing you free shots, to the hardcore Russian festival goers, to the Irish journalists falling out of trees. You could go out here by yourself and return with more mates than you already have.
Jamie Carson, Site Editor