Sziget-An experience....

Budapest Travel Blog

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Sziget festival is one of the biggest and yet least known about festivals in Europe. Held over a week in August each year, some of the world's biggest band's and artists come together and house a festival of variety. From dance, to rock, indie and reggae.  A truly amazing and memorable experience.

This was my first ever major festival, we queued outside a ticket booth in central Budapest during the day, about two or three hours in the blistering heat, to buy two day passes, from what i can remember it was about £35 a ticket. As soon as we had our tickets in hand, we went straight to the festival, it's located on a small island named 'Old-Buda Island' in the middle of the river Danube.

We arrived and rushed straight to the main stage area to watch Lily Allen, the atmosphere was astonishing and we could have easily have been in England, it seemed that the majority of people there were young brits. The festival has a 'camp anywhere' approach with tents pitched like a minefield across the park.

The whole festival was alive and there was so much variety of things to do, we came across a bungee crane, with one person jumping about fifty foot above ground around once a minute. There were also thai massage tents, with hammocks, soothing music, and soft lighting. We stumbled acorss a circus tent, with some sort of drag act performing a spectacular gymnastic act and singing. Then moved on into a reggae tent, and just across the way was a large dance/trance tent.

Snow Patrol and Pete Tong also performed that night and we had a fab time, and an experience we will both remember for the rest of our lives.

The only problem was getting home afterwards, we had a train to catch at 6am, it was around 3am and we decided to call it a night and make our way back to the hostel to pick up our things.  We left amongst hundreds of others, neither of us had a clue where we were, earlier that day we had just followed the crowds in the direction of the music. Now we were stood on a bus stop, hoping for the best. We boarded a bus along with many other festival goers- we then chatted amongst ourselves for around half an hour until we realised the bus had emptied, and we were travelling along a long industrial road with only one or two 'locals' on the bus.

So asking the driver, and pointing at our hostel on a map, he pointed towards the door of the bus. We got off, and were now stood on a dark industrial estate, around 4am. No clue where we were, all we could hear was dogs barking. We started to walk in the direction we had just driven, once in a while a lorry would pass and slow right down next to us. I don't think i had ever been that scared in all of my life. We continued walking along this road and came across a side street, on this road were half naked street workers touting for business. So we began to run, and run, and run. In a mad panic I could see a security guard sitting in a hut outside a warehouse so I ran over (very upset) and asked for a taxi/bus in my best hungarian accent. I think he understood as he motioned for us to stand here, and pointed at his watch.
A few minutes later, a bus turns up headed for the city center, itwas a miracle! So we boarded and gestured goodbye and thank you to the man. The bus journey turned out to be the best and worst of our lives. There were about six or seven people on board, and they were all clearly either drunk or homeless or both.  I was in that negative mindframe, I convinced myself that the guy sat next to us was carrying a knife and was sure we were going to die that night, one way or another.  I am not a great person in bad situations.

The bus took a minor de-tour to what I believe to be the 'Bronx' of Budapest, where there was a small incident on a bus stop where one vagrant male from the bus got off, stole a waiting lady's shoes, and ran onto the bus with them, there was a bit of a scuffle, she got off, and the bus drove off.

Around twenty minutes later the bus dropped us off into the center of the city, we had an idea of where we were so started walking in the direction of our hostel, and were followed by a drunk male. Being two young females we got a little worried so did the whole crossing the road, turning lots of corners, walking slowly etc. But he seemed adamant, so we found a bar, and sat and waited for him to pass, we then ran.  Got back to the hostel, picked up our bags, and...ran to the station for 6am.

A night I will remember for more reasons than one.

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photo by: Chokk