Sziget Festival -The island of freedom! Day 0: Moving in

For those of who haven’t been keeping up with the shepherds. (Yes I know that was bad I’m not apologizing.. ) We touched down in Vienna for a couple of days at the beginning of our trip. (Check out our Vienna post!) Anyway the purpose of our trip was Hungry! More specifically Óbudai-Sziget or in English “Old Buda Island” (Sziget is Hungarian for island.) For the Sziget Festival, which is an annual event and one of the largest music and arts festivals in all our Europe. It’s set on an island in Budapest and sports a huge number of amazing acts every year. Headliners this year that were our highlights were Ed Shearan, Macklemore, Florence and the Machine AND Foo Fighters! It was the most amazing experience and as my first ever festival. Seven days in Budapest listening to amazing acts, watching thrilling performances and sun baking in the Hungarian heat was all I could ever ask for and more! However my first day at the Sziget festival (we arrived a day early) was actually pretty crappy.

Before leaving the United Kingdom I had managed to contract a UTI, I had got a small course of antibiotics before I left thinking that would be the end of it. Unfortunately for me that was not and having finished the course of antibiotics the day of leaving England, while in Vienna the infection crept back. Making the bus trip from Vienna to Budapest extremely uncomfortable. (thank the stars for Flix bus toilets!)

Walking into the festival the thoughts at the for front of my mind were not “WOW this is amazing the island is so beautiful! The artwork and effort put into this is insane.” It was more me moping up the bridge to find our cabin (we glamped) so I could ring a doctors in a foreign country and hope like anything someone spoke English so I could get some more antibiotics. The colours and hundreds of people already arrived was just totally lost on me at this point.

Thankfully Lady Luck was on my side and google managed to track down a international doctors clinic not far by public transport from the island which because it was my first visit wasn’t going to charge the earth. We got ourselves sorted into our camping zones. Which took ALOT longer than I had hoped to load everything onto our festival wristbands. (Which were tickets, contactless MasterCard’s and entrance in and out of our camping zone.) I tried not to wet myself, (anyone who has had a UTI will understand.) While five bored volunteer staff members tried to sort out our admin. For some unknown reason getting us a key and loading a campsite onto the wrist band managed to take a horrendously long time for ALL five to manage. I was about ready to scream by the time we finally got through to our cabin. After dropping our bags we left the island and headed back to town. The staff at First Med were really lovely and understanding in my frazzled state, I think I looked something like a deer permanently stuck in the headlights twiddling my thumbs in the medical center thankfully the staff spoke really good English. And were really calm and collected making the overall experience far less stressful then I expected.

My experience with medical center in Hungry was really good but we were told later by some Budapest locals that for public health services, (first Med is private) health care is severely underfunded and understaffed. Wait times for things as dire as cancer treatment can be life threateningly long. We were told a story of cancer patients lining the wards and waiting hours if not days to be treated. I later felt very thankful I was able to pay for private health care (and for insurance excess had I needed it.)

Some antibiotics, cranberry juice and a good looking pharmacist later (also lost on me at this point.) I caught up with Royce in the mall near the doctors. We got a bite to eat and some supplies, (muesli bars and pistachio nuts omnomnom) and ran into a group of English who thought we were absolutely bonkers for staying for the full seven days of festival. And also thought we were extremely organized as we had booked a cabin (expensive but worth it, will do a full write up at a later date!) And knew who was playing and when…. Apparently reading the website is not a thing ….

Back at the Island of freedom we headed back in with me feeling significantly less stressed and anxious, and after dropping our shopping had a quick tour around the island for the afternoon. After a bite to eat at one of the many food stalls lining the island (so many gyros and kebab stalls!) We ended the day of the top of the Ferris wheel gazing out at the city lights and the early bird festival goes jamming out to the dj’s playing below. We wondered back to our cabin for an earlyish night, stuck our earplugs in clambered into our bunks and were out cold pretty quick..

If you haven’t already don’t forget to hit the like button and subscribe! Join the flock for next on the Travelling Shepherd Sziget diaries is our first official day of music!

10 thoughts on “Sziget Festival -The island of freedom! Day 0: Moving in

  1. Oh poor you Courtney. Yes my experiences of health care over in Europe has been positive. We had to call a Dr to the ship as I was sure I had a blood clot in my leg. She arrived within the hour and spoke excellent English and prescribed medicine for me and gave good reassurance. Enjoy the rest of your stay.

    Liked by 1 person

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