Saturday, 22 January 2011

New Year in Budapest

New Year's eve in Budapest was not what I had imagined, and very unlike other European countries I've visited. Expecting the restaurants to be packed and the bars crammed, we ate early, and ventured out at around 11pm (after some drinks in our hostel) to try to locate the centre of celebrations on the streets.

As we approached the centre, everything was remarkably quiet. The restaurants were busy, but certainly not crowded, and bars and pubs half empty. The main pedestrian street was deserted, and although the clubs were most likely full, that wasn't the atmosphere we were seeking.

Close to midnight, we were beginning to worry that we had missed something important, when we heard shouts from nearly Liberty bridge. Relived, we turned the corner to find most of Budapest waiting expectantly, laughing and drinking in groups as the river slowly flowed beneath them. Families, groups and tourists had all gathered together, braving the cold, and as midnight struck, fireworks exploded and everybody celebrated.

A great way to ring in 2011.

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