Budapest’s night scene brought out the best, the worst, the shameful, and the hilarious in each and everyone of us. Here I detail the first few evenings, where we went, what we did, and my opinion of said antics…
Most of the people who have gotten to know me this past year probably couldn’t imagine me drinking until the early hours of the morning for 7 nights in a row. Those people have known the the girl who spent most of her weekends reading, writing, and finishing the soul-consuming essays that made up my degree. Once in Budapest, however, those days were behind myself and many of my companions. We were in need of some serious post-exam stress relief and found Budapest’s eclectic night scene and cheap drinks to be the exact antidote we needed.
Our first night consisted of many a jaegar bomb in an underground bar whilst listening to some all star open-mic-night talent. Most of the group were blissfully unaware that each single measure they ordered was in fact a double at least by UK standards. Their heads were sure to let them know bright and early the next morning when I marched everyone to Buda the next day… We were accompanied by many other travelers staying at the sister Party Hostels; as everyone was on the same page we were able to socialise and mix in with different groups with ease. One alumni member of the society even rocked up to surprise by appearing on stage! Although my memory is foggy, I believe it was a perfect start to the week ahead and everyone was buzzing for what else was the hostel had in-store for us…
The next evening had a kind of Fresher’s Week vibe to it; each of the 5 notorious Budapest Party Hostels met for a Whiteboard and Karaoke party in another underground bar. Having a sharpie and being urged to leave a message on a stranger’s T-shirt was one interesting way to make new friends… The girls in the group were quick to realise that the levels of oestrogen in the place was severely outnumbered by testosterone. It was mostly fine, and we came up with some ingenious secret signals to stay safe, but at times it did get a bit much. I recall having one gentleman heading straight for a message on my breasts, followed by him suavely grabbing my neck in an attempt to bag a kiss after I’d told him to bugger off. Nice, huh? It goes without saying this wasn’t our favourite evening, but then again 50% of us were graduands (a.k.a. old fogies) and the Fresher’s in the room probably held a different opinion.
The third evening – the Alcohol Olympics @ Retox Bar – was better. The general atmosphere was pretty buzzing, and after a few visits to the Shots Bar and cheering on our friends it was all well and good. It was on this fatal eve that I experienced my first carbonated vodka shot, a delightful concoction of apple syrup, and well fizzy vodka. They were dangerously moreish (I highly recommend), and at 500 forints were conveniently cheap. As it was all 5 Party Hostels again, it meant it was an almost identical crowd in a different location, and thus had started to feel a tad samey. The ‘Clads’ were all itching to put on their dancing shoes and get their groove on, but without a dance floor in sight I was left to bust my signature moves (mostly) on my lonesome, which meant it was not quite as extrovert as it could have been (a shame really). It was a fab evening, but one of those where the high rating was more down to the company rather than the event itself.
The next evening was by far the greatest evening of the entire trip, one of those nights where everything that could (and shouldn’t) have happened, did. Although only a small number of the group attended the first half, the Boat Party was quite astonishing compared to what we were used to back home; recently the society had attended the KCL Classical Society Boat Party on the Thames. It was pretty darn fun, but it did not prepare us for the River Rampage Budapest. Firstly, it cost a meagre £17 for your ticket onto the boat plus a bottle of
Champagne Prosseco, and if sparkling wine wasn’t your thing you paid just £13 for your ticket + a free drink. The boat blasted out music on the top deck as we were taken down the Danube in clear view Budapest’s golden riverside panorama. Everyone was in a mingling mood, especially when the next bridge was in sight (in Budapest you got bad luck if you didn’t receive a kiss whilst passing under a bridge).
The boat docked at A38, supposedly eastern Europe’s best club… It was a stationary boat whose DJ blasted out some interesting folk music; if this was eastern Europe’s best club then I won’t be making much effort to visit the others. Not that it was bad at all, it was just didn’t appear to deserve such a grand title (in our opinion). That said, we still had a blast, and the bizarre folk music remixes urged my drunk self to partake in some rather interesting square dancing, which was apparently very entertaining for the rest of the group, not that I can remember much… A few of us decided that then was the perfect time to taste Hungary’s signature spirit Palinka; it came in several flavours, but I went for a shot of the raw stuff and immediately regretted it. At 50% it burned, and tasted somewhat like ridiculously strong Tequila. I remember heaving the second I managed to swallow and I think the whole ordeal has left me scarred for life – I will not be going near it again, and the rest of the group agreed it is the stuff for dares and forfeits.
At some point in the evening I vehemently urged a gentleman to let me pay for his drink because “I’M A 21ST CENTURY WOMAN” and “IT’S 2014!” – evidently I was on top form and the feminist within me feels strongly about women being able to buy drinks for men. Hmm… Poor guy.
The first half of our week was not easy going, but pretty damn epic. Strangely enough our hangovers were never as brutal as they should have been and so relentless partying was not taking its toll like I believe it should have. Saying that, after the boat party one of our members did manage to put both arms right through a pane of glass and had to be brought by ambulance to hospital (fortunately we all became super responsible when necessary); one person managed to get lost on their own in the city (on the first night!); one girl showed a little too much of themselves to the hostel management by accident, and another got up to no good in a “well-lit street”. But heck – what else would you expect from a student holiday!? I’ll summarise the rest of the week’s twilight antics in part II….
In the meantime, you can always watch the video!