Of Goulash and Ruin Bars

Our idea of Eastern Europe has been largely influenced by the drab communist blocks of Zagreb and Bratislava. As the sleeper from Munich chugged to a stop at Budapest rail station, we were accosted by the customary spectrum of people – the loud voiced tourist touts following in the wakes of Western Backpackers, head scarved ladies bustling past with their wicker baskets, bedraggled beggars prostrated on the ground, seeking alms from the largely ignorant commuters rushing past.