Saturday, 19 February 2011 12:07

Live from Budapest

Written by

Matt, Sixth Sense Editor, is reporting live at the Open Forum weekend in Budapest, organised by Citizens of Europe.

The sign that greeted me as I arrived at Budapest Ferihegy airport proclaimed 'Budapest welcomes the EU presidency.'

I thought that was an odd way to greet an E&M reporter, especially a sign that covered the whole side of a large 11 storey building! (And I hadn't realised they knew I was coming...) But the circle of stars on a deep blue background was a welcome sight of familiarity. Perhaps I should have read the end of Ziemowit's first blog more carefully; I had left the UK without learning any Hungarian... 

2011 is the European year of volunteering and this weekend Citizens of Europe are hosting an Open Forum in the European Youth Centre of Budapest. The weekend will be spent exploring questions of what is good/bad volunteering? How do we get people to motivate themselves and others? And why do people volunteer anyway? My role is to participate, to report and to prepare for the large conference in May, where E&M will be the official media partner for the five day event in Landau, Germany.

Photo: Matt Shearman
View from the Europe centre.

After arriving late in the evening, I was quickly taken into the heart of Budapest on 1970s metro trains (pictures coming...) to experience the local beer, Dreher. Walking into a chic bar, far from my expectations of an edgy cool city, we were advised that we'd 'feel more comfortable downstairs'. The middle aged men in suits turned round and we knew the waiter was probably right. 

0.5L of beer, less than 3 euros, helped the conversation flow and my Dutch, French and other colleagues quickly moved onto jobs, interests, passions and Europe. It turned out we'd all lived in Berlin at one point or another. And sitting back, its nice to know that even in a new city, the furthest East I've ever travelled, everything feels vaguely similar.

I think my European horizon has just moved eastwards... 

Last modified on Monday, 04 July 2011 16:51
Matt Shearman

Matt Shearman, Brain of E&M, is originally from Yorkshire, UK, but now lives in London, having arrived there via Berlin and Oxford. He holds an MSc in International Relations and is into E&M because he is fascinated by identity, nationality and transnationality. For more political commentary on Europe / Germany / international relations, follow him on twitter: @shearmanm

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