Váci utca was packed with Budapest’s red-nosed and blue-eared revellers. People were variously armed with mouth horns that had metre-long cardboard cones attached; sparklers, laughter, rockets, tooters, children held high on their shoulders, booze and, seemingly universally, huge smiles.
I stopped regretting going to the street party when we stood in the street drinking the first of the red wines and I realised that being hit on the head with those cardboard cones was a local custom.
Every five minutes’ progress up Váci utca was interrupted with another wine-bottle-between-six length break. I’m still waiting for a copy of Sergio’s photo of 3 of us mooning (showing our arses to) the polite society members who were cocooned in the front of the Meridian Hotel. To their delight and rapturous applause, I might add.
Váci utca took a while to walk, but up at Vörösmarty Tér, there was a stage with a band and a laser show, lots of very happy people and presumably the music was okay. This is where it gets hazy… I recall that it was not very cold and that we were dancing a lot; that I was bashed over the head by a bashful 12 year old girl, and that I kidnapped her from her Dad for a dance with the rest of us; that it was about 23:20 when I last knew the time; that I incompletely vaulted a fence but rolled into a neat enough recovered stand on the other side of the fence.
This is where hazy becomes jet black. I was woken by a shake of the arm by a big friendly bouncer. I realised that I was in an emptying bar. And that I didn’t know where. Or how. My first words were an apology for sleeping in Hungarian and we exchanged New Year’s wishes. Then after stumbling through a vaguely recalled “Hány óra?” (“What time is it?”), he replied in English “Four o’clock”.
I went home.
The still jet black gap of four and a half hours has been filled in only in the vaguest of terms by the Slovenians and the Peruvian, with some reference to a good looking Turkish woman and her friend. It was the best Hogmanay that I’ve ever had, despite, or perhaps because of, not recalling it.