Although I am the token Ebenezer Scrooge (Patrick Stewart version) of my family, I have somehow ended up at Christmas Markets in Budapest, Stockholm, and Prague. I despise traditional Christmas music and have not helped decorate a Christmas tree in at least ten years. Whatever the case may be, I cannot ignore a holiday people are more than obsessed with – I would have to completely remove myself from society to escape.
The Budapest Christmas Market (Budapest Karácsonyi Vásár) opens each year at the end of November and lasts until December 31st. Located in the heart of town at Vörösmarty tér, this market is easy to reach from anywhere in the city (and world – just have fun purchasing that plane ticket). Booths selling local handmade items like aprons, ornaments, and horn combs are prevalent. The Daily Mail posted an article last year stating: “A report into the price to visit Europe’s Christmas markets by the Post Office Travel Money has found that a two-night break to the Hungarian capital for two people in early December will set you back £529, making it the cheapest of 12 key Christmas market cities.” I cannot find the original report, but let’s go crazy for a second and believe everything we read on the internet.
If you are feeling peckish, you can buy traditional Hungarian pastries like chimney cake (kürtőskalács) and strudel (rétes) and/or street foods like chestnuts (gesztenye) and sausage (kolbász). Even though I am not much of a drinker, I do highly recommend mulled wine (forralt bor). Saying that mulled wine is absolutely delicious would still be an understatement. I might have had a few cups in my time.
Several more Christmas markets can be found around the city. In 2011 a market opened in the square in front of St. Stephen’s Basilica (Szent István Bazilika). Although it is similar to the one at Vörösmarty tér, one thing that makes it stand apart is its ice skating rink. The one in my district – Újpest (IV) – has a rink as well. Something to keep in mind prior to having your heart set on ice skating is that these rinks are relatively small. Do not fret, my dear readers! Budapest has the largest and one of the oldest ice rinks in Europe – first opened in 1870. Located in City Park (Városliget), Városligeti Műjégpálya is between Heroes’ Square (Hősök tere) and Vajdahunyad Castle (Vajdahunyad vár).
Budapest, already beautiful at night, is even more so with all of the fairy lights strewn about. Since the sun sets before 16:00 here (today’s sunset is at 15:52), it is nice to have something brighten up my life since I no longer have the “sunshine vitamin” pumping through my body.
In regards to my winter holiday plans, I am finally going to Krakow! Everything has been booked – I just need to wake up in time to catch my bus. Fingers crossed! More Christmas markets, here I come. On that note, here are two of my favorite Christmas songs: “Merry Christmas Baby” by Brighten ft. The Maine and “Ho Ho Hopefully” by The Maine ft. Brighten. Solid gold.
Oh, one more thing! I would like to take this moment to thank my father for helping out last month. If you read my last post, you know that my financial struggle was beyond real. My Hungarian debit card got rejected getting Chinese food from a food court. Thank you for feeding both me and my American debit card. She is usually quite famished.
A Lesson From Miss Jennifer: If you are carrying a lot of bags, avoid walking around the market. Nightmare.