The bar is dark and empty. No sweaty bodies pressing against you as you enter, no people jam at a cloakroom and no puddles of beer on the floor. On the brick and plastered walls wires, a guitar, traffic signs and computer screens from the nineties are attached. On the ground floor a disco ball hangs from the ceiling, straight across it a couple of breasts. Szimpla Kert, according to many guide books the ‘mother of ruin bars’ gives the impression as if a thrift shop or flee market exploded inside of it. The beer definitely does

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Szimpla Kert – The entrance

not have bigger brew heads or is tastier than what you would get in an average bar in Budapest, but it is more expensive all the same. But hey, it still is beer from Szimpla Kert (or just Szimpla, as called by many inhabitants of Budapest).

For us Erasmus students it is the second day in Budapest. We are sitting on Tuesday night with about fifteen people on the first floor of the ruin bar. On the wall behind us a painting of a girl with purple hair and one of a woman holding a skateboard behind her back. We are all students from Europe, but apart from one sole person nobody seems to feel like talking a lot.

The atmosphere and the beer makes people loosen up. ‘Where are you from?’, is to be heard from left and right. Contact details are shared. Soon everybody is friends on Facebook, perhaps even outside of it. You are abroad and alone, so you can’t do without each other.

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