After long and thoughtful consideration I came to a rather interesting decision to choose Hungary for my three months internship. Now I am officially here and there is no doubt that Budapest is one of the most beautiful cities in all of Europe.
It was such a big decision to move here, leave all my friends and family, and begin a new life in a country that is much bigger than Lithuania. Before moving to Budapest I had never imagined that my country could sound so exotic for so many people. Sometimes it was really difficult to explain where I am from and I can’t even count how many times I have been called Russian or Polish.
This despite the fact that there are a lot of similarities between Lithuania and Hungary. The food, prices and salaries are noticeably similar. It’s strange that two countries located so far away from each other with different cultural backgrounds can be so similar.
There are of course differences: nightlife, the number of tourists or sometimes the weather are just a few. Granted these are not findings of thorough research, just my experiences of the first few weeks in Budapest. What was perhaps the most surprising is that Hungarian and Lithuanian dishes are quite similar. Traditional dishes are based on different varieties of meats, vegetables, fruits, fresh bread and cheese. There are a lot of supermarkets in Budapest where you can find anything you need, including all the products that I used to buy in Lithuania. What also caught my attention was that unlike cities of Lithuania Budapest is full of fast-food restaurants; at first you may feel like you are in Turkey since on almost every corner you can find Turkish restaurants.
If you like dancing until dawn Budapest is the perfect place for you. There is a wide variety of clubs, bars and pubs to fit everyone’s tastes. Alcoholic drinks are relatively cheap, so you can get drunk without going bankrupt. The most interesting experience was once again related to me being from Lithuania: everybody thinks that I only drink vodka. Actually our traditional drink is mead but back home most pubs and clubs are open only during the weekends. Budapest, however, never sleeps; it doesn’t matter if it’s Monday or Friday.
Budapest always seems to be full of tourists. This is hardly surprising as over just a few weeks I came across a number of breathtaking spots: in addition to Parliament, Heroes’ Square quickly found its way to my heart. No wonder that many foreigners come to visit or study and never leave. Tourism in Lithuania is not as highly developed as in Hungary but there are some sights worth seeing: the Ninth Fort in Kaunas or Parnidis dune.
The weather in Lithuania and Hungary is fairly identical with warm summers and rather cold winters. However, you can’t say that you experienced real winter until you spend a January in Lithuania, where the temperature going 25 degrees below Celsius is not uncommon.