What lockdown has been like in Budapest

April 25, 2020
Livia Szivos

Szia, Urban Adventurers! Livia here, I’ve been running our Budapest team with my partner since 2009, the year when Urban Adventures began. In essence, I’m a “Pesti lány ” (the girl from Pest) as we say in Hungary. I was born here, raised here and I live here. I did leave to live in other countries for a while but I came back to Budapest as it is where my heart is.

After guiding with our sister company, Intrepid Travel, I realized that I wanted to use my skills to open the world up to Hungarian culture and showcase all of my favorite places in Budapest to travelers. I started guiding our city tours myself, but now I have a whole team of amazing guides because we have grown so much since we started over 10 years ago. It’s crazy! I actually miss guiding tours because I love talking with people. I believe that to truly understand a culture you first need to understand its people. On our tours, we tell the personal stories of people living their everyday lives here in Budapest. People often don’t realize how interesting their own stories are until we share them with our customers!

two women shopping
Livia leading one of her tours pre-pandemic | Budapest Urban Adventures

So, what is happening in Hungary at the moment? The pandemic is affecting us, just like everyone else. We’ve been socially distancing and have been advised to stay at home. Everybody is working from home and schools are shut for the rest of the year. People have been sharing their own experiences through social media and describing how the support of those around them has helped them to cope through these trying times. It’s moving to see such togetherness even when we can’t be together physically. Everyone is being so kind to each other. Many people have offered to help elderly people with their shopping whilst others have donated equipment for children to be able to homeschool.

Giving back to the community, a community that shares so much with us and our customers, has always been important for us but never more so than during this pandemic. Our purpose at Budapest Urban Adventures is not only to create jobs for people, bring opportunity to our local vendors and create a community, but to help others who are in need.

We have seen many new inspiring initiatives being created within the city. Young people are volunteering to shop for elderly people. Many others are donating to hospitals and healthcare workers, for example. One initiative that we’re continuing to support ourselves is the “Rés foundation,” which has supported homeless women and families in need for the last 25 years. They’re a huge help in the community to those that need it and we’re proud to support the work they do.

In addition to continuing the above support during the pandemic, they are sourcing computers to help the homeschooling of children who do not have them and therefore cannot join online classes or study at home. We’re planning on taking these children, virtually, on an educational tour of the city to learn about the history of Budapest and how it came to be the city it is today.

Her is a short movie about the foundation from this March when our fabulous team volunteered their time to bake, cook and sell food to raise money for the foundation: