I left Pakistan four years ago to pursue my bachelor’s degree in English from the UK. One thing led to another and now I am pursuing my master’s here too and, thus, haven’t lived in my home country for four years. The decision that I made in the beginning still stands, however living in the UK and only visiting Pakistan in the holidays has led me to discover new things about the UK, Pakistan and myself.
Before I moved to Nottingham, my only knowledge of the city was its links to the legend of Robin Hood. Although I had visited Nottingham before, I did not have any particular feelings towards it; I only thought it was rather green and big in comparison to the place where I did my undergraduate degree, Leicester. It was soon made evident, however, that the two cities, although 30 minutes apart by train, were vastly different! Continue reading
Our final day of touring Budapest was here. After yet another brunch of pizza bread and baked goods, we headed out to make our way to the Hungarian Parliament. Upon entry into the Corvin-negyed metro station, we again inquired about our travel route at the information counter. With a bit of help from the people at the counter, combined with our map skills, we took the metro going to Deák Ferenc tér. From there, we were supposed to change Continue reading
Our third morning in Budapest started with sandwiches from a nearby SPAR. This was the day we had planned to cross the Danube River to the Buda side. On our agenda was the Tomb of Gül Baba and the Buda Castle. Due to the availability of various modes of transport, I didn’t think it would be difficult to cross over to the other side of the city however, due to everything being labelled in Hungarian, it proved to be more challenging than I had anticipated. From Prince Apartments, we headed to the nearest underground metro station, Corvin-negyed, and after explaining our destination to the man at the information counter, made our way by metro to Deák Ferenc tér. From there, we caught a bus which went over the Margaret Bridge to the Buda side. The bus journey was about 30 minutes long; luckily the view of the Danube River was enough to keep us entertained during the journey.
Upon arrival to the Buda side, we got off at the stop nearest to the bridge. That wasn’t our best idea — with no proper inkling of the way to Gül Baba’s Tomb, we ended up walking in the wrong direction. On our expedition to find the tomb, we noticed that the Buda side of Budapest was quieter and less populated. To me, it looked more like a foreign country than the Pest side did. After a good 15 minutes of staring at the map and checking road signs, we realised we were lost in this more alien Budapest. That was when we stopped at a local shop to ask for directions.
The directions definitely helped; we finally made it to the road leading up to Gül Baba’s Tomb, which is a place of pilgrimage for Muslims from all around the world. The tomb is located on Mecset Street, in the district of Rózsadomb, and was built by Mehmed Paşa between 1543 and 1548. Oddly, the road leading up to the tomb wasn’t labelled and it was only due to the presence of two other tourists that we figured out it led to the tomb. We began the climb up the road, which was uneven and very steep. A mark of my unfitness was that I had to stop a couple of times during the climb, and I also almost slipped on some loose bricks which were no longer embedded in the road.
On arriving at the top of the road, we found out there were more steps to climb. I wasn’t too overjoyed about that, but when we got to the top it was worth it. Budapest was stretched out before our eyes; a peaceful city with colourful buildings, dotted boats floating along in the river and tiny specks of cars zooming on the roads. After spending a few minutes staring at the view and getting some pictures, we made our way to the doors of the tomb, which had a shallow dome covered with lead plates and wooden tiles.
That was when we received a surprise; there was a sign in front of the tomb, stating that it was closed for remodelling until March 2017. Needless to say, we were disappointed and felt quite stupid for not checking the tomb’s opening times beforehand. However, we found the whole situation quite funny and were glad to have made the journey to the tomb, because the view was definitely worth it.
Laughing about our silly oversight, we made our way down the hill. It was lunchtime and the climb had made us hungry, so we stopped at a nearby bakery café on Frankel Leó utca called Dolcissima. A cute and sunny bakery with light, pastel-coloured walls and white furniture, it was the ideal place for a light snack. I had chocolate éclairs, which were deliciously soft and creamy, with thick chocolate coatings. The cheerful ambiance of the café combined with the pleasant service of the owner made Dolcissima a great rest stop, and after a hearty meal, we left to make our way to Buda Castle.
Buda Castle was built on the southern tip of Castle Hill and is the historical castle and palace complex of the Hungarian kings. It was first completed in 1265 and is linked to Clark Ádám Square and the Széchenyi Chain Bridge by the Castle Hill Funicular. Over the years, the castle has been extended and each king has added to its architecture, but it hasn’t had an easy life. When Ottoman Turks conquered Hungary, the palace suffered; it was left to decay and was mainly used as barracks, stables and storage. Continue reading
I’ve spoken previously about poverty, overpopulation, terrorism, and corruption being some of the words which come to people’s minds when they hear the name ‘Pakistan’. I spoke of how this country was not short of amazing people wanting to bring positive changes in a place tarnished by corruption and fighting. I introduced readers to Nargis Latif, in an attempt to give her the recognition she deserves as her work is a source of strength for this nation.
She is not the only one though. Continue reading