Hazel Jane

“Here’s my best friend, he’s going to crowd surf” – Budapest Part One

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Sunday
17
April

I didn’t realise how much I had missed the sun, until I stepped out of Budapest airport.

But there it was, beating down on our faces as we stumbled to the taxi rank, eagerly waiting for the car to come and whisk us away to our home to the next five days.

Once we’d bundled into the taxi, our driver took us through crowded streets, offering amusing stories along the way. “That’s where I had my first kiss” he said with glee, pointing at an art gallery with intricate architecture, “Apart from that, the gallery’s pretty boring.”

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Roombach delighted us as soon as we stepped through the doors, a wash of turquoise and hints of copper glinting in the corner of our eyes as we received the keys. Bright furniture, pinterest-worthy accessories, and a smile of a helpful receptionist made us feel right at home straight away – it was so Brighton-esque, it felt as if we hadn’t gone far at all. The room itself was a picturesque affair, with motivational quotes lining the wall, and the view giving us an insight into the local Budapest life – the building opposite was adorned with quaint balconies covered in flowers, with an old lady shuffling out to tend to her own.

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But we weren’t in the room for long before we’d shed our layers, taken a swig of water, and strolled into the sunshine to explore the bustling city. And bustling it was – the streets were adorned with shops, vendors, and all kinds of people – from the business men and cool locals walking their dogs, to the exciteable tourists and couples sauntering along hand in hand. Verdant trees lined the roads as beautiful buildings towered above us – one being the St Stephen Basilica with its spectacular roof, and just as remarkable interior. Hints of gold glistened on the ceiling, winding around incredible religious paintings, the flickers of candles lighting the room with even more soft gold.

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All too soon the evening came. A slight, chilled breeze swept its way through our finger tips as we wandered through the streets, sidling past the basilica and passing lively restaurants before we came to Danube Bridge. Lights twinkled in the dusk, illuminating the bridge as if shining a light on the Danube River’s beauty – a long, straight river lined by the soaring Gellert Hill, and plenty of gothic-styled buildings. After a long, 40 minute walk, we had made it to our destination – a small, unassuming boat silently floating on the water.

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The silence turned into a crescendo of beats as we walked along the boardwalk and towards the boat, swiftly gaining a blue stamp on our hand from a cool, hipster-clad group of guys before wandering to the deck. After fumbling with our first lot of hungarian money, we sat under the twinkling lights, with crisp, cold drinks tracing our lips as we looked across the water.

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Downstairs in the boat, hoards of people shuffled closer together, fingers entwining between couples, laughter and jokes being shared amongst friends. The music pumped loudly from the oversized speakers, as the floor gently rocked beneath our feet, toes tapping in anticipation for Frank Turner to turn up on stage.

We didn’t have to wait long before the excitable screaming started, a tall man clambering onto the stage in a shirt and tie, an effortlessly cool vibe streaming from every pore. The loud crescendo of drums and guitars were soon met with the sounds of more screams as the gig unfolded, bodies writhing together as feet jumped on the floor and arms were flung in the air in time to the beat. Frank’s words bounced on the walls, integrating with the sounds of the crowd singing back to him, laughter filling the room as soon as he tried to sing one of his songs in Hungarian.

The crowd didn’t hold back, the floor now rocking more and more as they danced the night away, “right, here’s my best friend and flatmate, and he’s going to crowdsurf from the left hand side, all the way round until he’s back on stage”

And that he did. Cheers flew from the crowd as the guy flung his body into their hands, all working together as if like an army of ants, flinging him to the back of the room, past the bustling bar – where the bartender passed him a beer – and back onto the stage in a fit of laughter.

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Soon the band had said their goodbyes and we all stumbled, bleary eyed and hearts still pumping, into the night. Feet slightly aching, we babbled our way back along the river, excitedly chatting about the night just gone, and the days ahead. Knowing we had a long 40 minute walk back to our temporary home, we bundled back into a taxi, watched the locals socialising and partying as we whizzed by, and smiled as our first night came to an end.

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