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Budapest: Day 2 – 31.12.17…………It’s New Years Eve. Lets party on, if we’re not too exhausted!

We awoke before 9am to the sound of breakfast being delivered to our apartment as we’d decided to pre-order breakfast on our first morning to save us searching for somewhere to eat. At a cost of €8 per head we tucked into our continental style fare, hoping there would be enough left over for tomorrow morning.

After showering and making ourselves presentable we regrouped around the kitchen table. Now, what to do today? We decided to go and find the Trofea Grill restaurant where we were booked in for New Years Eve and do some sightseeing on the way, so we set off down the long and winding road with Pearls trusty GPS guiding us.......or so we thought! We needed to head for the river Danube but as the hour ticked on we began to have our doubts. A regroup was urgently required, so having deliberated with both Pearl and Marks phone maps we took out the good old paper map only to find that we were actually miles from the river. We did an about turn, retraced our steps and followed the sign that said ‘Liberty Bridge’......couldn’t get clearer than that really, so how did six adults miss it?

We finally made it to the river embankment all desperately in need of refreshment......our detour had cost us at least 10,000 steps! We walked a fair way until we came across a mini-spa with a cafe upstairs. In we trudged, up the stairs and found a table amidst the few towel clad people that were there and were approached by the unsmiling waiter who asked what we wanted. ’Coffee’ we said in chorus. ’You need to reserve a table’ came the waiters reply. We looked around the almost empty cafe, rather bemused by this statement and decided to leave. We continued on, our quest not only to find a cafe but a friendly waiter to go with it. Finally, crossing one of the many bridges we found a cafe which seemed to like the look of us. We sat ‘outside-in’, outside but surrounded by plastic sheeting with an outdoor heater and ordered our coffees, strudels and chips and the waiter actually smiled at us, proving that we weren’t such a scary bunch after all!

Another regroup was necessary to determine how far we were from the Trofea Grill. It looked at least another 20,000 steps so a collective decision was made to book taxis for tonight. Great, we could now relax, our quest to walk there now over. With smiles on our faces we dawdled along the river bank, past the Four Seasons Gresham Hotel.......must pop in for drinkies later, and came across the shoe memorial along the riverbank which depicts the people killed by fascist Arrow Cross militiamen in Budapest during World War II. The memorial is close to the impressive Houses of Parliament building which drew inspiration from our very own HoP in London and here’s a fact........the HoP Budapest is the third largest HoP in the world! Bet you didn’t know that!

Having taking the obligatory photos and selfies we regrouped to determine our next move. Feeling our legs needed to be revitalised with some alcoholic refreshment we headed to the Four Seasons Hotel, sat in some lovely comfy seats and ordered beers, wine and Prosecco and listened to the pianist. It was all very relaxing. We all thought Mark looked very fetching wearing Maice’s scarf as a ‘stole’. He had to you see as he was clad in his red football shirt.....we didn’t think he’d be allowed in otherwise!

Feeling rather chilled we walked home, surprisingly it was a lot quicker to get back even though the climb up the steep hill and numerous steps was a bit of a killer. We were all tired when we got back home so an urgent siesta was required......well, we needed as much energy as we could muster for our New Years celebrations.

Siesta over, a hive of activity soon ensued and within no time we were suited and booted, Mark and Bri in their Kilts and us girls in our dresses and evening wear. My, we did scrub up well!

Unable to phone a taxi we walked down the hill, taking the more direct and quicker route than the one we took this morning and flagged down a couple of taxis, Bri-Mark in one taxi, us girlies in another. Our taxi driver obviously saw us as four drippy (predictive text....should be four dippy) gals as we were totally overcharged.....6,000 hufs compared to Bri-Marks fare of 2,000. We even tipped our driver! Ah well, you live and learn!

The restaurant looked lovely. Bri-Mark had been to the one in the city centre on a previous visit and it was all you can eat and drink in a certain time period. This being New Years Eve the deal tonight was from 8pm to 4am with champagne, wines and beers up for grabs. We wondered if after walking over 25,000 steps today we’d have the staying power to last till 4am. Only time would tell.

The food was amazing with plenty of vegetarian options for Maice, Mark having enquired weeks earlier about the menu and being advised that the restaurant offered a ‘remarkable’ selection of vegetarian items. We started off the evening drinking glasses of champagne which quickly turned to bottles and each time our bottle ran dry the waiters brought us two at a time .......they’d obviously got us sussed! Di changed from champers to wine and Bri-Mark started on the beers. As you can imagine, all this alcohol was having an effect on our energy levels, must be all that sugar, so we thought a spot of ‘chair dancing’ would be in order. We all had a turn, busting some ‘innovative’ moves whilst staying seated but most of us resorted to doing ‘The Pearl’, a rather unusual upright style of dance where the knees bend and bounce and the hands move downwards from left to right! It was most amusing and very energetic.

We must have put on quite a performance as our fellow diners seemed rather bemused by our antics. Many of them had brought party hats with them but we hadn’t so a regroup was necessary. What to do? There was only one thing for it, we needed to make our own. Using only our serviettes and whatever we could find on the table we set about making our festive hats. It was hilarious, they were hilarious. Maice looked like Princess Leila in hers and was awarded first prize by Mark...a bottle of Champagne!! Ha ha. Not to be outdone, I tied a ballon to mine and soon everyone had balloons attached to their hats. Our fellow diners didn’t know what to make of this bizarre table of six especially when the ‘disco’ started and we all sprung into action, donning our hat creations and proceeded to do ‘The Pearl’ on the dance floor. No diner was safe.....we were getting random people up and busting our moves. What a great time we had.

At midnight everyone stood to attention and sang the Hungarian National Anthem and then we took over again singing a hearty rendition of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and included the French contingent from the table behind which included Mark from Dorset and the Swedish contingent from the table to our left. We danced and sang with gusto, mainly out of tune, but what the heck, we were having fun.

Can you believe we partied on until after 4am with our fellow diners. Where we found the energy from we’ll never know. Apparently the restaurant have invited us back for next New Years Eve, complimentary, as we were so entertaining……..who’d have thought it!

We finally got home, totally exhausted and all champagne’d out. Oh how we were looking forward to our beds. Having walked 25,000 plus steps and probably danced twice as many we had no more to give.

Bed, sleep and a well deserved lie-in awaited us all..........

Happy New Year!

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