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Last month I went to Budapest for Thanksgiving week to visit my father.  He is American but has lived there for the last fifteen years and since Thanksgiving is still his favorite holiday I often end up there end of November.  We always cook a big, traditional Thanksgiving dinner, roam around Budapest and then bounce around to see some nearby town or city.  This year we popped by Vienna for a couple of days.

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Since I’ve been going to Budapest for so long, I always try to mix it up and do something new along with the things I do without fail like go to the baths, the Gellert remains my favorite, and shop for fruits and veggies at the Nagy Vasarcsarnok (Vámház körút 1-3), the largest and oldest indoor market in Hungary.  This year I decided I wanted to check out all the best vintage stores.  I did a little research, made a map and then my brother and I went for a long, long walk.  It’s funny how you can go to the same place over and over again and each time see something different depending on where you are in your life.  As you grow and change so do places. This year I am particularly into vintage and this interest showed me a whole new side of Budapest. How you feel in a place depends so much on your own state of mind.  I remember years ago I spent some weeks in Vienna and didn’t think much of it.  I was there for some work that didn’t feel right for me and in turn the city didn’t inspire me.  This year when I went back to it again for the first time since, I was in awe of its great, majestic beauty and was fascinated by it as a counterpoint to Budapest – a city I didn’t know back then- the history and legacy of Europe vs. Eastern Europe.

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It has been fun to see Budapest change over the years that my father has lived there.  It is really coming into its own.  The country seemed to very quickly embrace Western ideals the moment the Eastern bloc came apart, but now it is very much developing its own cosmopolitan personality.  It’s a great mix of old and new. I drank an incredible flat white with beans that were roasted in-house at Blue Bird Café (Dob utca, 16).  Saw a super cool barber shop, had lunch in some hip little restaurants including  Stika (Dob utca, 46a), picked up some amazing vintage clothing finds at Retrorock, checked out Printa a concept store that doubles as a silkscreen studio and cafe, discovered Brody House the coolest hotel/ gallery/ creative collective and space I’ve seen in Budapest.  If I didn’t think it would offend my family terribly, I would stay there in an instant. But then how could I have impromptu pillow fights with my brother, start baking two Thanksgiving pies at midnight when we both have jetlag and create a map of stores I want to see around the city from under the covers of a fold out couch bed while those pies are baking…

*Brody House also has a great selective guide to the city on their website, check it out if you find yourself in Budapest for a few days.