Hungary: Sting Concert, Escape Room and visits from home

“It is not enough to have talent, you also have to be Hungarian.”
– Robert Capa

While I was in Africa one of my oldest friends, and fellow Sting superfan, sent me a message saying Sting was coming to Oslo. He remarked on what a shame it was that none of us was going to be there and I agreed… Until I remembered: “Hang on… I don’t actually have to be anywhere. Where else is Sting having his concerts?” I researched a bit and landed on Macedonia, being the nearest Egypt, which would be my next stop. I remember sitting in my room in Cape MacLear, Malawi, doing this and deciding on getting the ticket “in a bit”… Meaning I was reluctant to commit to the spontaneous plan 😛 Two weeks later I checked again and the concert in Macedonia was sold out. I panicked and bought tickets for Budapest immediately. Cause that’s how you get me to commit. Play on my intense fear of missing out. #FOMO. Fact.

So, a few months later, after tons of experiences in Africa, I found myself back in Europe. My initial plan was to stay a week in Budapest to catch the concert and “sync up” with my Egypt tour. That turned into three weeks in Hungary, planning on traveling around a bit, but in the end I wound up staying four different places in Budapest, meeting new people, catching an awesome concert and seeing both my friend Maja and my mother who both came down to visit me.

MARCO POLO HOSTEL, NEW FRIENDS, ESCAPE ROOM, HOUSE OF TERROR
Let’s see what funny stuff I can remember from my week at the Marco Polo Hostel… (I recommend this hostel, btw, it’s got a great location, it’s cheap and they give you a free digital device thing that helps you navigate around Budapest, one per bed. I stayed in the 12 bed dorm and met so many cool people I was sad to leave).
We had one crew here, with permanent core members, but the other members changed around a bit. It started with Ben (Bin from Nju Zillund), Greta the Great and I, with Venkat, Tellervo (I still love this name!) and Alexei making up the rear. (Alexei and Venkat had the most hilarious talks about the phrase “normal people” which Alexei kept using left and right… Like Venkat said: “Normal is the new cool”).

There’s also:
Venkat: “Do you watch Narcos?”
Alexei: “No, I’m not into drugs…”

Then Venkat and Greta left and we got Lina and Harsh in. The permanent crew for the rest of the time consisted of Ben, Lina, Harsh and I, and even after Harsh left he was with us through our Messenger group so he was never really absent. Tellervo soon followed suit and Alexei sort of dropped off to pursue his own goals. Then a new dude came in, but he fell off after a day because some times you’re just not cool enough to hang out with the elite (I’m sarcastic here, guys, I’m not that narcissistic)… He was dubbed “Harsh 1.5”. Later Maja came to visit and she was dubbed “Harsh 2.0” because she fit right in, but then she went on to just being “Maja” because, as I advocated, her personality is too great to be in someone else’s shadow. After this I went on to meet my mother and Ben left for Austria, so the gang only exists on Facebook now… Sadly for Budapest…

We did manage to go through three Escape Rooms while we were there. Core Crew goals. Ben, Harsh, Lina and I cracked them all. You could say we developed a taste for it ;-D

As a little side note, I found myself outside the “House of Terror” one of my first days there. I was walking randomly through Budapest to get a feel for the place (that’s Latin for “find ice cream”) and suddenly these little plaques with faces, names and dates was in front of me. I was intrigued, red the info plaque at the entrance and decided to give it a go. It was a small-ish, but really well done museum. So much information, so many items and the atmosphere was fittingly eerie in there. I recommend this one too if you find yourself in Budapest.

MAJA AND STING

The reason for my coming to Budapest was Sting’s “57th and 9th”-tour. Some of my friends knew this and tried to organize a trip so they could see me. Only Maja made it happen. I now know who my true friend is.

It’s Maja. She’s my true friend.

Also, she bought me a trip to the spa and a fancy dinner, so I owe her my firstborn now. (Too bad I’m not having kids tho, Maja, you sucker!)

It was so weirdly fantastic seeing Maja again. I felt like we’d been a part for a while, but not 7 months. She met me at the hotel we were staying at, we hugged, checked in and continued on like nothing had happened ❤ The whole weekend with her was filled with home, love and giggle fits. I don’t think I ever really conveyed to her how happy those three days made me…

The Sting-concert was amazing. I realize I’m super-biased here, because I’m such a fan, but I’m still gonna say this… I’ve been to six Sting-concerts now and this was the best one. So good. So so freakin’ fantastic! Sting’s eldest son, Joe, was there, he did the warm up (including my two favourite songs of his “Drink” and “Two Sisters” #Squeeaaal) and backing vocals during the concert AND the intermission tune he did was my favourite David Bowie song, you can’t make. this. shit. up! “Ashes to Ashes“, right there on stage… With Joe Sumner… #MyMotherSaid – Ashes to Ashes then segwayed flawlessly into “50.000”, a song off Sting’s newest album. So good…
This video is from the Barcelona-concert, but it gives you the general idea.

Dominic Miller brought his son Rufus on stage too, so we had two Millers on guitar for the whole show. In addition Sting brought on Josh Freese on drums (OMG!) and Percy Cardona on accordion(!!). Yeah, sounds crazy – and in a way it was like a trip down the Yellow Brick Memory Lane with a mixture of The Three Amigos, Eric Clapton’s mournful brother and Sting-old-and-new-wrapped-in-one in one of the most professionally minimalistic stage performances ever. (Try reading that sentence really fast five times in a row. I’m not good at this “kill your darlings” crap)…

I loved it. I was in tears at the end when he played “Every Breath You Take” (the token “Going out”-song) and then finished it all with “Fragile”. I mean, wtf…? I was crying already, man… ❤


A VISIT FROM MY MOM

My mom came to visit for almost a week. We bused around and saw historical monuments, ate at restaurants and did some heavy duty people watching. The thing my mom remembers is Hard Rock Cafe. Go figure… That’s where she flirted so hard with the waiter she ended up buying a “HRC Budapest” t-shirt after dinner… She called me today asking if she should wash it before wearing it because so many people had probably touched it while it was hanging in the shop. Thought pattern no longer quite as romantic as the tip she left the waiter-dude.

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