Another trip so soon after I went to Switzerland, so now you must think I’m a world traveler. Well ha! I’m not. This trip was mainly because of the concert, which I bought the tickets for last November, for my birthday, so the dates are just a coincidence. Don’t expect me to go anywhere else until September, at least. I’m one of those unfortunate creatures who’d like to travel the world, but don’t have a person to do it with.
Alas, I was supposed to go to Budapest with my best friend and her boyfriend, but instead we went as a party of six. The more the merrier if you ask me, and we had the most awesome of times! If you remember my Switzerland post, we had a god-awful hotel there, but if you want to go cheap, you’ll sleep cheap. The hostel we booked in Budapest was extremely centrally located, looked really nice, and was most probably illegal. It was above a Thai restaurant, with nasty odors (sorry, I hate Thai food) following us up the secretive staircase, and we booked it through Airbnb, as they don’t have an official website. Suspicious much?
Anyway, not counting the frequent lack of hot water, the fact that we barely managed to communicate with our hosts, and extremely frequent and loud ambulance/police sirens, passing by our window every two minutes, our stay was very pleasing. The sheets had elephants on them, yay. 😀
The main thing we went for was the concert, so I’ll mainly talk about that. Game of Thrones: Live Concert Experience tour included all major European countries, some even two or three times in a row, except the Balkan countries. No one likes us and I seriously don’t know why. They even left out Croatia, where the most of the show was filmed, lol. Anyhow, the concert was held in Papp Laszlo arena, near the main train station, only three metro stations away from our hostel. The arena is really big, so there were six ticket categories, worst to best – cheapest to the most expensive. We opted for a medium price, though now that I think about it, I should have bought the best seats, because the effects were marvelous!
Ramind Djawadi is a genius and a really cool and nice guy. I know I’ve mentioned that a thousand times, but it seriously is true. He was one of Hans Zimmer’s students, and one of the few who managed to compose his own, original music, not copycatting Zimmer. He can play a bunch of instruments, and his compositions are heart-wrenching. Okay, enough fangirling, on to the concert.
The concert opened with the title song, of course, and with the introduction of the entire orchestra, and Westeros houses, followed with each house theme, banners on the side screens, and show characters on the main screen. After that, or during, I don’t remember the correct sequence, the violinist led with the first cool effect – she was slowly raised on a platform up to the ceiling (a very high ceiling, mind you), and at the same time her extremely long dress unraveled beneath her, and when she was finishing the song, a bunch of rose petals fell all over her. It was really beautiful. I think she was playing the house Stark theme, not sure.
After that, various compositions were played, but not song by song like on the soundtrack, or in the show, but combined and made into larger compositions made of several smaller ones. Like for Daenerys, her theme songs from various seasons were melded into one great composition, like Dance of Dragons, Blood of the Dragon, etc., including fire effects on all sides of the screen, and with Ramin Djawadi opening on an electric guitar. Hell yeah, it was brutal!
I had some very painful moments during the almost three hours long concert, where I relived some character deaths all over again. On the main screen, bits from the show were constantly playing, but sometimes with sound too. So, the Red Wedding was pretty painful, and I was already teary because of a week-long cold I had, so when The Rains of Castamere started, my eyes started too. Bran Stark’s theme was also eye-stabbing, because it ended with the Hold the Door song. Not to mention Ygritte. Sobs. 😥
The most powerful moment of the entire concert was definitely Light of the Seven, played fully, with some dialogues from that scene, but mostly in silence. Ramin played the organ masterfully, and at the end a huge green-lit smoke started billowing from the platform he was on, with green lights around him intensifying, and a huge green smoke explosion engulfing him completely.
I was very satisfied with all of it, the main singer was great too, and the choir, and they were all in costume, and the fire/smoke/snow effects were awesome. I heard all my favorite songs, except Truth. I was so hoping the Lyanna + Rhaegar moment would show on screen and the song would be played entirely, but it wasn’t, and the focus was on Jon Snow shagging his aunt. 🤨 That kind of hurt, since the R+L final reveal moment is the most romantic one for me in the fantasy universe, other than Arwen + Aragorn, but the focus was entirely on what’s most appealing to the most of the viewers – the two sexiest characters shacking up. Ehh… On every concert I go, some of my favorite songs are missed, I hate it, but it is what it is. Nonetheless, my general experience was astral-plain-blissfully happy.
Other than the concert, we went everywhere we could, but the main thing for me was the Tropicarium. Situated in a large shopping mall, Tropicarium is a kind of a zoo, but with reptiles, insects, fish and fishy things. 🙂 The first section is mostly small, with wellknown fishes, continuing to the insect area, where I saw some things for the first (and hopefully last) time in my life, like a tarantula (and two of her shed skins/armors ughhh), scorpions, the Mexican hissing cockroach (ughhhhhhh!), and other unnerving things that I still have nightmares about. I did like the tiny poison frogs in various colors, which are too cute to look at, but would kill you in a second haha.
Then came the ‘rain forest’ area, with rain falling down, tropical birds flying freely, and sound effects, which confused me at one point when I thought they played thunder, but instead the alligator was growling. The alligator in question shut up when I finally got to him, too bad, but he did turn around face forward to us, and this is apparently true:
His eyes kind of stand like that, very silly, considering it’s a huge and mean looking animal. After that I saw the snakes, which I loathe so I was afraid to get near the glass, in case something happens like in Harry Potter. Now, the other reptiles I love! Iguanas, Chameleons, and a cute lil Cuvier’s dwarf caiman! He was standing on two legs the whole time, greeting his audience. The Alligator snapping turtle was very interested in us people too.
There were some mammals present too, though I didn’t really have the time to read each description, but two monkey species were extremely entertaining – the Golden Headed Lion Tamarin, and the Cotton-top tamarin.
Then came the area with ocean animals, where I especially liked the tiny jellyfish changing colors according to lights pointed at them. The huge shark tank is filled with all sorts of fish, stingrays and sharks, and first there’s a tunnel to go under it, where I faced some sharks at a super close distance, and managed to get some stingray selfies. After you exit the tunnel, you can look at a part of the tank from the front, and it’s a really gorgeous view.
After you exit the exhibition area, there’s a large gift shop with all sorts of awesome stuff, like plush sharks, bats, snakes and sting rays, real shells in all colors and shapes, and shell jewellery. I had to keep it together and not buy the whole lot, so I chose a sequined plush stingray and a cute shell for me, and some cute gifts for my family and friends. I had an amazing time there, and if you ever visit Budapest I suggest you definitely go there!
Other than that, we had some fun sightseeing, visiting various pubs and restaurants, including one on a boat. We didn’t do too much sightseeing though, because we’ve all been there before and done that, as Hungary’s our neighboring country, only 4h away by car. Here are some photos of us having fun, though I look like I’m on my deathbed, but that’s just the horrible cold I had, and the fact I was exhausted.
That’s it! Hope you liked my post, and I’ll definitely do more of these in the future, when and if I travel somewhere. Have you ever visited Hungary and Budapest? If not, would you like to? Have a great weekend everyone! ❤
P.S. Don’t forget to enter my first, international giveaway!