Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Budapest Christmas

For the first time in my life, I spent Christmas apart from my parents. Although it was difficult to be working on the biggest family day of the year, I could imagine far worse situations to be in. I was fortunate enough to be with a terrific group of colleagues & friends and in the lovely city of Budapest no less!
There was a bit more leisure time this trip and I wisely spent it shopping! My friend Paddy was in need of some last minute presents so we spent the first night at the Westend City Centre mall. Nothing says holiday spirit like some frantic retail chaos… the Hungarians gave it their best, but I fear that nowhere else in the world is as materialistic around the holidays as Americans!
Our show opened Christmas Eve morning and much to our delight we found that the Christmas angels had worked hard through the night to bring us a decorated tree with not so good, but very traditional chocolate Christmas sweets on and under it (Hungarian tradition is that the kids go to sleep and awake to the tree from the angels in the morning).
The afternoon and evening were ours to enjoy so I walked to the Christmas market at Vörösmarty Square to have a look at the local crafts and foods. I was thoroughly impressed with the offerings, which were by far the best of any of the markets I had been to this season. My timing was unfortunate since everything was just about to close, but I had some time to enjoy the festivity and just as I arrived the flurries started, which really lifted my already holly-jolly spirits.
I spent Christmas Eve night with my work friends at the Marriott Hotel overlooking the Danube river and a beautiful view of Budapest castle. Of course nothing will ever compare to being home with loved ones on Christmas, but my Budapest Christmas wasn’t such a bad alternatives all things considered!

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