Wednesday, January 12, 2011

NYE- Budapest

It was an early idea but a late decision. About two weeks before the first of 2011 the hostel that was printed on our leave forms just happened to be booked, but not by us. The next hostel on the list was booked, and the next, and the next… Slightly panicked I continued down the list and found a few hostels not yet filled for New Years Eve but with a 4 night minimum stay, we only needed three: then there was Interflat Youth Hostel. No minimum stay, under 20 Euro, decent rating, decent location, BOOKED. It was a bit risky and I was a bit worried but it was the only option left.

The late decision made for a low participation. The email with NYE-Buda info went to many but in the end it was just two of us in Budapest, J and I. It was J’s first experience staying in a hostel and my second. Little did I know when I booked it that Interflat would be more than just one of twelve beds in a room, it would be the center of my Budapest experience.

After spending a night in Arad to break up my trip I took the early train to Budapest. It was another late decision to take the early train alone instead of the later one with J. I was able to get the most out of my leave day and get oriented in a new city. I decided to just wander around Budapest, settle into the hostel, get lost, found, and come up with a plan for that first night before J arrived at 8:50. On our way to the hostel I told J of a Balken party at a club that I kind of wanted to make it to. That plan fell though when we were shown the living room of the hostel. We peered in through the window of the small room and saw it filled with people drinking and singing. They waved us in and set up two small chairs in the corner for us where we were offered a drink. The room was split between a large group of Slovenians and a large group of Croatians. Added to the group now were two US citizens and a Canadian. It was there we stayed until the early hours of the morning getting to know our new friends, singing along to the occasional song played in English, and listening to two Slavic languages intertwine.

New Years Eve started with a late morning walk though the cold to catch a free walking tour which took us to a number of sites in Pest, including the Jewish quarter. On the tour we met Blair and Daniela, two students from Philadelphia on their last leg of a trip though central Europe. After the tour we ate some hummus and wandered though the Christmas market together until they left for a service at the grand synagogue. A hot wine and metro ride later we were back at the hostel getting ready for New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Much like the previous evening the plan was to go out into the center of the city, and just like the previous evening we didn’t make it. We were once again distracted by the partying of our fellow Interflatters only to a greater intensity, this time it included nice attire, earlier drinking, a wider variety of drinks, and more people brought in from other locations. Our spot was the spot. At about 11:30 people were finally getting ready to leave the hostel at least to check out some fireworks at the nearest square which offered them. I made it out with some Croatians but I can’t say the same for my partner J who I found a couple hours later sleeping. Like a champ he woke back up to hang out with the other Interflatters and myself until early morning. It ended up being a pretty awesome new years eve celebration that will not be forgotten.

The Budapest experience continued. Our train out wasn’t until the second of January so we still had the first to explore Budapest a bit more. We took another walking tour but this time to the Buda side where day turned to night and we could see the lights of Pest shining bright from up on the Buda hill. Even though we were cold and tired it was a pretty nice way to spend the first day of 2011. That night after a nice nap we went back out to eat some delicious Mexican food for dinner and get a beer at a pub. It was a much welcomed chill night out after a couple of crazy hostel nights. Thus ended our NYE-Budapest experience as the next day we simply packed up and headed out on a late-morning train.

Buldog uj evet!

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