The mix of those familiar undertones, the language, helpful people and wonderful scenery made Budapest a great city to travel to. While "shabby" may not connotate good to most people, Budapest definitely has a shabby chicness to it that many cities could not pull off. We hardly saw any graffiti or trash on the streets, but buildings were just older and people seemed to make due with what they had rather than having the newest, latest and greatest.
For example, I was surprised by the amount of upcycled/recycled materials used to make jewelry, accessories and home decor stuff that we saw in several design stores. The city seemed to flow along with our viewpoint of reshaping old into new. Budapest also felt very historic, but still had that gritty quality that makes it feel like a real city. I'll write more about what we actually did in Budapest and Vienna soon, but wanted to get my thoughts down before they slipped away.
Check out our photos here: