The airplane started flying to Budapest. I was thinking of what I would get in Budapest while looking at city light of Dubai.
I carried one bag for clothes, 15 inch laptop, tripod, and my camera and passport in $15 bag which I bought in Oman.
As soon as arriving at the airport of Budapest in the night, I inhaled cold air and I felt so fresh. The air in the middle east was too hot and thick. At the first day in Budapest, I stayed with the host of Couchsurfing. She was from Mexico and worked in Budapest. I rented flat in Lviv, Ukraine and it was my first time to find the apartment to live in my trip. But it took only one day to get the house. So, I made up my mind to find a flat in one day this time again. I sent a few messages to landlords two days before arriving. I checked a few houses at the next day morning and chose one at the afternoon. I sent a message that I wanted to move in. I gave money when I moved it. So it was so easy to find a house to me in Budapest.
The flat I would live was just at the center. The building was yellow and old architecture. The center of the building was empty like the picture. A bus station was just in the front of the apartment and it took only 10 minutes to subway and tram. One month pass for transportation was only $36 (9,500 Forints). Grocery shop was just next to my house.
I thought there was only one bed room, but actually there were two beds. It was 400 euros included electricity, water, and fast wifi. At that time, I didn’t know it was cheap price. But compared to Chiang Mai, it was really good deal.
In Chiang Mai Thailand, mostly there were small studios without kitchen. If it has kitchen and one bed room, the price was going up and it needed six months to one year contract. Usually internet of condo was so slow that people needed their own internet. Electricity and water were not included. If I looked for the house like Budapest, in Chiang Mai, I might have to pay 500 Euros.
Let me introduce my flat. In front of door, at the left side there was closet with mirror. The next of closet was a fridge. At the right side in front of door, there was a small room. The big room was facing at the entrance of the busy street for night life that the weekend was noisy. So I usually slept at a small room on the weekend.
It seemed that some old Hungarian house had a bed on the second floor.
But there was no any other space except the bed. The ceiling was too low that I could not stand up. I had to bend my body. Especially when I was hurry to toilet, it was uncomfortable to rush on stairs. I preferred to have a bed at the first floor.
The house had everything I needed and Kitchen was well equipped too.
The down stair was living room and upstairs was my bed room. I used to have a nap on the couch because if I lay down on the bed, I slept too much. Couch was perfect to recover from tiredness at the day time.
Here was my main bed room. The ceiling was so low that I had to bend my waist. I wish ceiling was enough high to stand up.
It was the bathroom with a laundry machine, hair dryer, towels, and other things needed.
The reason I preferred to have the flat with bathtub was to have bubble bath and relax sometimes.
Budapest was known for one of the most beautiful night views in Europe, and definitely it was so true. Amazing night view was one of reasons I came to Budapest. I came up to the hill to celebrate my arriving in this beautiful city.
I had a beautiful picture with Parliament building. All of tourists loved to take the picture with this nice night view. But funny thing was that local people didn’t like the building. They told me the building was beautiful, but the people inside there were horrible that they wasted of the beautiful building.
I came to Budapest at the end of March but it was still cold and chilly. But after week passing, spring came. I visited some beautiful village with new friends I just made.
The village was so cute that there were some tourists like us. We had tea and chat at a pretty spring weather that it was lovely day. The left, Aziza, was from the U.S and the right, Shari from Italy and they worked at same place.
It was my lunch for the picnic at pretty village. I realized that main dish in Hungary was usually with sausage.
There were many kind of sausage. One time when I went to some festival, I ordered like it for lunch.
Another reason I came to Budapest was that people have told me it is cheap country in Europe. But actually it was not that much cheap. The people who said it is cheap was usually from Western Europe. For sure it was cheaper than Western Europe but it was more expensive than former Yugoslavia country like Serbia, Bosnia and so on in Europe. So I usually cooked at home for meal and went out for drink when I met people.
I found very interesting person, Szilvia, on Warmshowers.org, the website for hosting cyclist. She said she usually went to volunteer to cook food for homeless people and deliver with a bicycle. I wanted to join that I contacted to her. But I left my bicycle in Dubai. Thankfully she found a bicycle for me to borrow.
People brought food with donation money or brought with their own money. There was one surprising thing that Hungarian peeled mushroom. As I remembered, people just cleaned with water and cooked them.
I was preparing some food with her and talked about cycling trip. She loved cycling and she did some tour in Europe. It was always fun to talk to person who was interesting about traveling with a bicycle.
When every ingredient was ready, they started cooking in one big pot.
We started to prepare food at lunch time and it was almost finished when it got dark.
We put the food on the disposable container.
The reason why we delivered with a bicycle was that homeless people were at many different places. They also kept moving around because of being kicked out from the place or finding better place. In the winter, sometimes they died with coldness on the street. Although the organization had this service every week, they were not sure where homeless people were exactly. So we had to make three or four groups to charge different areas.
Actually it was my first time to approach so closely to homeless people. It gave me a chance to reduce negative feeling at them. The organization was really good that they taught volunteers about homeless people to break prejudice. Many of homeless people were like you and me that they had normal life. But when their own company was bankrupt or they stayed too long as unemployed to pay renting house, they just sat on the street. After long staying, it would be too difficult to get normal life. To meet different people usually gave the chance to break prejudice that it was some lesson for me to join volunteering with them.
Szilvia organized the picnic on the weekend that I borrowed a bicycle again. There was one blind people on a tandem bike. I saw on the media that blind people running with his or her partner. But it was my first time to see on a bicycle that I was impressed. He said that teamwork was very important. He told about some falling off experience because of lack of communication.
I was so excited to cycle with many people and the weather was just fantastic.
After riding, we had dinner together. There was one funny thing. Some of people were expat and one of them, who was new, wanted to change the order. But then other expat laughed at her and said “You can never change”. And I encouraged her and said “Why not. Go to change” She went to inside of bar and came out with saying “I couldn’t do” and other expat laughed again.
It was actually difficult to get kind service in Hungary that service people looked angry and grumpy sometimes. I was not only one who felt it. I discussed about it with other expat. One of them said because they were invaded many times and it made them so serious. It was difficult to make local friend. It seemed I needed longer time to be friend, but unfortunately I was just staying for short term.
But it didn’t mean everybody was like that. Szilvia was one of kindest and sweetest person I’ve ever met. Also some of local friend I met was nice too. Maybe the local people I’ve met were not afraid of meeting new foreigner friends while others were not comfortable with expats.
The next week the weather was just gorgeous and we went a big demonstration. The city and bicycle organizations were trying to make some road empty for only bicycle. It was just the event about “Let’s share the road together.”
There were many volunteers included Szilvia that the event went so smooth.
I really loved this kind of event. In some of South American cities, they had this kind of the event on every weekend that they blocked some road on Sunday morning or night when there was the least traffic. It gave a such a good feeling that the road was for everyone.
Unfortunately, I noticed that many car drivers hated cyclists these days all over the world. I was not sure this kind event would make them hate us more or start understand us.
It was uncomfortable to borrow a bicycle every time that I bought used one. It was difficult to communicate with local people in Hungarian website for buying and sell. After getting help from local friend, I could buy easily. It was only $100 but actually this bicycle had better condition than my touring bike such as enough grease on the chain, strong break, well-tuned, and derailleur.
I was looking for second hand lock, but then Szilvia borrowed me one lock with saying she had two.
Finally, I got a bicycle that I could enjoy cycling with other friends.
Let’s cycle on this beautiful weather!
There were 365 days in one year and every number of day wanted to be special day such as Labor day, Women day, Fool day, and so on. But I didn’t know that there was International Pillow Fight day at first Saturday of April. I didn’t want to miss this fun that I joined too.
The fight was going so brutal that you could see the blood of pillow everywhere on the air.
It was so cruel that everyone was my enemy. It was the most violent moment in my life. I didn’t know where he was from and his name was. I just tried to hit him as much as I can. You can see on the picture that how much we were savage.
After finishing the war, all survivors threw their weapons to the sky to congratulate victory.
Other reason I came to Budapest was that I heard it had a nice night life. I was tired of control in the middle east that I wanted to taste of freedom.
But actually there was no such a club I expected. Bars were not that special on the street, too. Actually I didn’t go for club at the beginning of the trip. But one time I went and it was so much fun that I really liked the floor was shaking with so loud music that I felt like I was entering different world. Since that time, I enjoyed going when I had the chance.
Most of clubs were on the old building like soviet union’s style and people danced on the big hall. Some American girl who came from a big city told me as well that there was no real club in Budapest. Actually I didn’t know why Budapest was famous for night life.
There was one difficult thing in Budapest that smell of urine was too strong in the city center. From the first day I arrived, I saw little water was flowing at every block. But actually I didn’t see many street dogs and there were not many people walking with their own dogs. So actually the water flowing I saw was people’s fee. When I tried to run in the morning, it was very hard to breathe. One time I saw the guy was peeing on the middle of main street in front of a big park at the city center. It looked no shame at all.
There was another difficult thing that it seemed like one time a week I faced some racist who made fun of me.
With my personal experience (very subjectively), if I order by least racist country, it would be like this. Canadian (9 out of 10)> American (8.5/10) >>>> Western European (6/10) > Former Yugoslavia (Like Serbia and others) (5.5/10) >> Eastern European (4/10) >Asian (3.5/10)>Middle East (3/10) >Latin American (2/10)>>>African (1/10) (I’ve never been Australia and New Zealand, so I cannot put them here.)
I was too tired of racism after cycling the world alone over many years that I didn’t like when I faced people making fun of me.
Although there was something I could not fit on the city sometimes, I loved to meet local people and trying many activities. I always tried to find meet up on Facebook group, Couchsurfing, Meet up, and so on. One of my favorite thing was playing board game with people.
Although I didn’t have such many climbing experiences, I liked it. It was around $10 for indoor climbing.
On Facebook group, I found outdoor climbing. It was around $12 included guides and renting gears. Meeting point was not that far from my house around 40 minutes by bus. There were other people as well, but I didn’t feel boring to wait my turn because I needed to have the rest after climbing.
I tried to climb up but kept failing at some point. Then guide taught me where I had to hold and leave my foot and then suddenly I could go up. It was so interesting that to climb with strength was not helpful. I had to climb with the skill.
The reason I really liked climbing was I felt so much achievement when I got to the top and I felt so close to mother earth while touching rocks with my hands.
I voted for the election of National Assemblymen in Korean Embassy in Hungary. It was my third times to vote in the foreign land, two times for election of National Assemblymen, one time for the president on the trip. I was interested about politics and I never wanted to miss my right to vote! I hoped other Korean didn’t give up voting whatever the situation was.
(When I voted, it was dark age in South Korea because the president didn’t do right thing for the country. I always wished the president, the daughter of dictator, was sent to the jail. But actually it really happens that she was impeached and now in the jail! C.E.O of Samsung is in the jail, too because of corruption with her. I love democratic country and I cannot imagine to live under dictatorship or one party government.)
I became the host and gave the place to sleep for other travelers.
Two Korean friends and the other Korean backpackers asked at same time for hosting that I hosted them together.
I hosted Turkish girls as well. The funny thing I found was that Korean were too polite. When other guest said thank you for five times, Korean said twenty times. Some hosts told me I am so polite and I could understand how it can look like. Actually when someone is too polite with saying so many thanks, it looked like less confidence.
Photo from Instagram @budapestrunningproject
There one Hungarian couple living New York many years were back to Budapest. They made running club. I ran with them a few times. To run together was very good and it gave me more energy to run. The best thing was there were traffic lights that I could have small break.
Usually my speed was around 6.40 “/km. It took one hour to run 9km (5.5 miles). Csilla, the leader of the running club, told me there would be half marathon after two weeks. The distance of half marathon was 21.09 km (13.10 miles). The longest distance I’ve ever run was only 13km (8 miles). I didn’t have any running shoes and never tried any half marathon in my life. Two years ago I just tried to run for one month, which was my first trying to run long distance. Then I ran one time again in Dubai. And I only ran a few times in Budapest. I was not sure it would be possible to do it.
I had a few problems that I loved adventure so much that I tried something without much knowledge and experience. For example, I tried to climb one of high mountain in Ecuador, 6,310 meters (20,799 feet) in two days without any experience of high mountain. I paid almost $200 to tour agency and of course I failed. I was so frustrated at that time because I really wanted to go to the top badly.
I was not sure to try half marathon would be same as like that. I asked Csilla to get the advice about it would be possible to run 21 km. She said it would be difficult because I didn’t run often recently, but she said it would be possible.
I paid 55 Euros for joining half marathon. The day before racing, I went to the office near starting point and got some big envelope. I’ve never had this kind of the event that my heart was pounding when I held envelope. I was not sure what was inside that I hurried home to see.
So there were very thin T-shirt, bib, pins for bib, some small books, vitamin, and sponge. I didn’t know what sponge was for. Later I realized that people dipped sponge into water at water station for wiping head to cool down.
Behind of bib, there was some kind of sponge and I guessed inside was chip for recording racing time. Not everybody started running at same time. I had to stay at the last because I was slow. Actually I thought some people would record by sports electronic clock.
When I realized menstruation would start before marathon, it was already too late to delay with pill. I caught cold once period started because my immune system became weak. So I could not practice. On the day of half marathon, my period was almost finished but my condition was not that best.
I had simple breakfast, bread, and took the tram to starting point. The atmosphere was amazing that my heart was beating so fast. I found my place and prepared running. After some moment, I did hear the sound of beep for starting. But I was at the last group that I stretched my muscle while waiting. After 20 minutes, I could see the view opened out and I started running.
I was not sure I could finish running in two hours and thirty minutes because it was the distance which I’ve never tried and the race which I’ve never imagined in my life. I heard the most important was running shoes for marathon. I tried to find the second hand shoes and I could not find it of course. I didn’t want to buy expensive shoes for only one-time use. So I decided to run with my old hiking shoes from Decathlon.
Equipment is the most important for the people having extreme adventure such as climbing mount Everest. But I believed the most of important is mind for small adventure. I have learnt that it was possible to cycle the world with $70 tent on my trip. When the gear is so expensive, the adventure becomes easy and it steals the chance of having strong mind. So, sometimes I like to have adventure with just what I have. I ran with free running shirt, old hiking shoes, iphone 4 for checking pace, and big hope to finish racing on time safely.
My face was covered by sweat but actually I didn’t feel any difficult. I kept checking my pace with Nike+ running app. I didn’t know that there was pacemaker with the time flag on pole with running backpack. On that flag it was written like 2:00, 2:15, and 2:30. So actually for me I should follow the guy with having 2:30 flag. But I just run with checking my phone.
At the water station, there were banana, water, vitamin water, and vitamin. After an hour and a half, I found very weird thing. When I was slow down, I felt my body was going frozen that I had to keep running. It was same as coming down after jumping on trampoline for a while. I felt like something was pushing me from behind that I must keep running.
Actually it was weirdest thing. When I ran for one hour alone before, I felt very hard and I wanted to stop. But this time, I didn’t feel hard and it was no problem to keep running. Maybe my endorphin was high or atmosphere was so amazing? People clapped for runners and at some points musicians were playing instruments. I could not imagine how atmosphere would be at the biggest marathon like Berlin, London, New York and so on. I loved to join one of this in my life.
Finally, I entered at 2 hours and 23 minutes. The clock at finish line was 23 minutes ahead because I was standing at the last group. I was so proud of myself and I felt a sense of accomplishment. It was reason why I enjoyed adventure. At the end, I felt alive.
(I bought pictures at $11 from running’s organization. There were many photographers when I ran and I didn’t know that I could buy the picture later. When I searched with my bib number, I could see only my pic. What an amazing system!)
I bought the shoes on Jan of 2014 when I arrived in Europe from Africa. It was a bit bigger but I was so satisfied. I have cycled with this shoes in Europe and Middle East. This time I finished half marathon with it. The best shoes are not only expensive one but also the one which I enjoy weating.
My glory and proud! If you want to feel alive, maybe you should try some marathon. Full marathon would be too difficult, but half can be okay!
Photo was taken in Austria. There was very important reason I had to come here.
I had to prepare visas before arriving Central Asia. The country I would go was Iran – Turkmenistan – Uzbekistan – Tajikistan – Kyrgyzstan. At least I needed one month to prepare visas. First I needed Iranian and Uzbekistan visa to get Turkmenistan transit five days’ visa. Turkmenistan was between those two countries and Turkmenistan embassy asked exit and entry visa.
I needed letter from Uzbekistan tour agency and it took $76. I had to give a certificate of employment, copy of passport, and applying form. I just made certificate of employment on word. After 10 days I got the letter.
But there was no Uzbekistan embassy in Hungary that I had to take the bus to Austria to apply visa.
Austria was clean and people were friendly that I wanted to live there. But I guessed it would be more expensive.
I heard it would take one week to get visa. But when I took the bus, they checked my passport. I told them I would not have passport, but only copy on the way back because I would have to leave my passport there. Then they said it is impossible to take a bus without passport. I just took the bus to Vienna because I applied Letter of Invitation to there. I thought on the bus that I would look for carpool or hitchhiking because it is Schengen area that no need passport at the border. Then I saw lots of police because of refuses problem at the border and I became so serious. Maybe I could ask temporary passport in Korean Embassy in Austria, if it is not possible, then maybe homeless for a week in Vienna…?
Uzbekistan embassy is only working on Mon, Wed, and Fri from 9:30 to 12:00 and I arrived 10:10. The embassy was far that it took one hour. But I forgot a passport picture. I asked people photo studio but it was closed. I needed to send 80 Euros to Uzbekistan Embassy at the bank, so I went the bank first and then the worker on the bank let me know where a photo machine was. I usually got lost easily, but this time it was miracle that I went directly to every place. So I arrived before they closed.
Another miracle thing was I got visa just after 5 minutes!!! Officers were very kind at embassy that I got so positive image about Uzbekistan.
I was so relaxing that I got visa so easily. I walked around the city center to tour. It was busy with many people and it looked very energetic.
I could feel that they cared about human rights. Usually when people talked about caring baby, it was women’s job. But on their sticker, man held a baby. I hoped it was not only on sticker, but also on real Austrian society.
Another unique thing was toilet on the shopping mall. What a good idea that they put items under the tap.
It was very fruitful day. To solve the problem of the life was like to solve a math problem. At the end, it gave so amazing feeling. To drink one cup of coffee at the end of day was so relaxing.
On the way to bus terminal to go back to Hungary, I saw so beautiful sunset.
It was not that difficult to get Iranian visa because I had experience to get it at the last year.
There was no Turkmenistan embassy in Hungary that I had to get Turkmenistan transit invitation in Austria. When I asked Turkmenistan embassy in Austria about what I need, they said I didn’t need to visit. They just sent me some files to fill up. It was easy form. After a few days, I got invitation on email. I could get Turkmenistan visa in Iran without any problem because I had invitation.
Actually it was miracle because suddenly Turkmenistan refused to give 5 days’ transit visa without any reason. Many travelers had to take the flight from Iran to Uzbekistan.
I could get online E-visa for Tajikistan and I didn’t need visa for Kyrgyzstan. Finally, all visas were ready for Central Asian adventure.
Before leaving I had to buy some gears. The clip of gopro house was broken without any reason when I tried to open. I asked the company and they sent it for free with DHL.
DHL deliver guy gave my parcel to next neighbor without asking me. And I didn’t know it and just waiting and waiting. Later I realized it was arrived. So I investigated by myself. I saw who signed up for my parcel on the website and checked that name on post box. It was just next door. My neighbor was crazy that she shouted at me “Go back home. Go to Chinese mama” and pushed me back without reason when I ringed the bell and asked for my parcel. I was so annoyed and called delivery guy and told You must take my parcel back. But then delivery guy was also ignored by this crazy girl. I just lost parcel and ordered again.
I didn’t know DHL service can be too horribly irresponsible and there was psychopath at a neighboring house.
Actually I saw that that house always opened window with curtain and I could smell some man’s house which can be smelly because of not cleaning well. I thought old people living with pension. But actually it was big psychopath girl. After a few days, I saw she was talking to neighborhood on the corridor and it seemed sometimes she was normal?
My new parcel was just arrived at the day before I left Budapest. I ran to DHL storehouse to take parcel by myself before closing.
One time I read some post on Budapest Facebook group that one white drunken girl was insulting black guy sitting on the bus, pouring beer on his head, and spitting at him. He was nice guy and had good education from family that he didn’t revenge at her but just ignoring. While he was treated too badly, none of people was helping him on the bus. It seemed there were a few psychopaths in Budapest.
The right laptop was my old one. It was no problem to search on the internet and edit the photos. I bought it four years ago. But to edit video was different story. It was lagging when I edited the video that it took too much time. So I bought used one at Hungarian used electronic website. https://hardverapro.hu
What I bought was MSI GS60.
Intel Core i7 4710HQ
NVIDIA GTX 870M, 3GB DDR5
1920 x 1080 Full HD IPS
I paid $950, but still there was some lagging. It was way better than my old laptop though. It was just not perfect. I guessed maybe I had to pay at least $2,000 for editing without lagging. I could use an hour and a half without charger but I was happy that I could edit smoothly.
When I was in Spain, one of my follower sent me his iphone 4 which was very good condition. I used over two years but I dropped one year before and I could see only 4/5 of screen. When I dropped in Budapest again, I could see only 2/3. I really wished to buy iPhone6, but it was too expensive that I just bought used Xiaomi, cheap Chinese phone. But I realized that it was not original one that battery was gone quickly like iphone 4 and there were some bugs. My used laptop was very good but my used phone was kinda bad. But I was happy to have big screen.
I had some part of iphone4 to fix by myself which I paid $20. I just sold my phone with that part for $25. I had two old bags for real top for my bicycle. It was difficult to pack that I bought a big yellow rack pack.
I sold apple mini2 which I bought for drone. After buying new phone, I didn’t need it that I sold.
I was nearly ready to leave. I bought laptop, phone, and bicycle rack pack, and got new part of gopro. I sold apple mini2, iphone4, city bicycle, and my old laptop.
It was getting hot when I was about to leave.
On the sunny day, I went to some bbq with local people.
I did my homework at the last day that I visited touristic place, biggest spa in Budapest.
There were many different spas.
There was big pool as well that I enjoyed my last day.
The biggest reason I went to Budapest was to write my delayed journals. But actually I was kinda ADD that I could not concentrate well. Specially I had too much pressure to start working because there were too much jobs to finish. My plan was to stay in Budapest for two months. But then I realized I didn’t do many things for video and blog that I decided to stay one month more. At the last month, I really worked hard like 90 hours, 60 hours, and 73 hours for each week. But to edit the video and write blog in two language took too much time. Also I was a bit perfectionist at work that I spent too much time on each work. I was really not efficient for my own work. Sadly, I could not finish writing for my blog, but was too behind. But I could not stay anymore that I had to leave for Central Asia.
I joined some activities, met people, and worked hard while staying in Budapest. But actually I wished I made more friends and finish my blogging. But it was okay that I knew it would be not possible to get all I want. The biggest thing I got on Budapest was my half marathon medal.
Once I take the airplane, I would start my crazy adventure, cycling in Central Asia!