Part I

An unfamiliar apartment
An unfamiliar neighborhood
An afternoon walk that reveals there’s much more life behind an infinite row of buildings
I walk down dirty streets
that take me through alleys and down sidewalks
decorated with art and stickers and nonsense and painted fences and broken bottles

Suddenly the winding alley opens into a bustling street
with Gothic Revival buildings peering into bright blue skies and perfectly trimmed green trees
And people sit out in the square
I join them and I don’t feel out of place
Everyone is meeting someone
Waiting for a lover or a friend or a brother
Or a stranger

The workers go to work
The tourists go to tour
The boys and girls go to drink their coffee and sip a beer and take a drag

And at night
everyone comes out to play
in beer gardens
and parks and ruin bars
with a drink and a friend and a warm summer night
It’s not so different from home

And if you’re up for an adventure,
There’s a secret club waiting around the corner
where people go to forget who they are
where the lights are low and neon beams run across the ceiling
People dance until they can’t anymore
And every room leads to another
And you lose your friends
And then you find them
on the hidden rooftop terrace,
the secret terrace that everyone else found too
And people are smoking
And yelling at their friends in different languages
And sharing a drink
And meeting new people they’ll forget tomorrow

And everyone came here to be together
Or to be alone together
Until the doors close and you wander the streets in search of kebabs
with only an hour left till sunrise
Do you go home? Do you watch it rise?

Part II

I walk the streets by myself
unable to make a decision of when to stop
Sometimes I walk across the city
until I’m on the other side of the Danube
at a church on the side of a hill
with a view of the city
And sometimes I end up on the exact opposite side
at the parliament building overlooking the water again

And I find a bench to sit
the breeze rustles my hair
the boats cruise by without a sound
the waves follow
so soft
the ebb and flow
the fading sun catches the water
illuminating the Danube

The people walk by
they chit chat
and stop to take photos
and keep going
and still I sit with music in my ears and wind in my hair and sun kissed skin still warm
watching the sun fade and day turn to night and the buildings light up one by one
and the parliament building at my backside becomes a golden effervescent castle

Everything is calm
And then it’s time for the long walk home
I stride down the streets
In a city that doesn’t feel so unfamiliar anymore