The Time I Spent New Year’s In Budapest With Strangers Who Turned Into Some Really Good Friends

Traveling has been my favorite thing to do since I could remember. I always dreamed of traveling the world and going on grand adventures. I want to see the world and make memories in new and amazing places and cultures. In my last semester of college one of my classmates did a presentation sharing her experience visiting 16 different countries with a travel company called EF Ultimate Break. I was immediately interested and started doing my own research.

Graduation Day, 2018

When I graduated from college I impulsively booked a trip to Budapest for new years. All throughout college I was broke, working, and never had any free time to travel. I booked with a traveling company so I knew I was not going to be completely alone in a foreign country. What I didn’t know was that I was going to meet some of the coolest people I would ever meet.

There are so many memories to write about this trip and these people, and with this global pandemic annihilating my future travel plans as we speak, I find myself reminiscing about my past trips and how much fun I had with my BudaBuddies (Patton pending). So, without any further ado, here is the story of the weirdest, craziest New Year’s Eve I’ve ever had.

(Side Note: There is not much I really remember from this night, besides what I could find in old Snapchat memories.)

The date was December 31st, 2018. We had a long day of historical tours, and an afternoon of visiting the Bathhouses and Christmas markets. I HIGHLY recommend the bathhouse in Budapest if you ever go. It is amazing! We took a cat nap, then got ready to take on the night. Again, at this point I have only known the people I have been traveling with for a total of 48 hours at this point. So this was still my first impression of everyone!

We had a banquet dinner at the hotel with one of the worst cocktails I have ever had in my life. I swear to you – It looked and tasted like wiper fluid; but hey, it was free. After dinner we went to one of the other traveler’s room to where we saw one girl puke out of the fourth-story balcony. That was the last I saw of that girl that night.

So, after we left the hotel is when things start to get a little fuzzy. So here are a few highlights:

Partaking in absinthe for the first time:
I heard many strange things about absinthe such as it makes you hallucinate and see things that aren’t there. This didn’t happen. For me it was a fun way to try a cocktail. I remember it tasting kind of like liquid cotton candy for some reason.Someone offered us acid at one point, which I didn’t do, because ‘hugs not drugs’ am I right? But seriously – DO NOT TAKE DRUGS FROM STRANGERS! I don’t know why I remember this, but if you can take one piece of advice from this, it should be to not take drugs from strangers.

One of us fell down a steep escalator, and I can’t remember who
I know it wasn’t me because I was so drunk I sat down on the steps as the escalator was moving and just rolled off when it got to the bottom.

A man climbed up a metal railing to where we were hanging out on a second floor just to slap my ass.
The dedication I can respect, just not the goal. This was definitely one of the weirdest ways someone has tried to get my attention in a bar. It’s at least in the top ten.

I had a dance party at a pizza place and had no idea it happened until someone showed me a video six months later.
Look, I was more focused on the pizza than I was on the dancing.

Shout out to Caddy and Kim for introducing me to the magical world of Irish Car Bombs!

What I am trying to say is that it was a crazy night! But the coolest part was that we wound up in an old bomb shelter that was converted into an underground bar, and had a huge rave going on. I had never experienced anything like that before. I remember sitting on the floor waiting for the train to take us back to our hotel at the end of the night. I remember thinking that this is not how I imagined I would start my 2019. With fun people I just met in a city an entire ocean away from home. I couldn’t have asked for a better New Year’s and it is all thanks to those people.

Wine Tasting in Austria!

The most important lesson I learned in life is that our best memories come from the things we never expected. This story is a prime example of that lesson. I never expected to have these memories, with these people, in these places. I never expected to still have friendships with these strangers almost two years later. I am beyond grateful that I have these stories to look back on, and so grateful to have met that group of strangers that love traveling and exploring as much as I do.

“Danielle, just act natural”
– Literally everyone behind the Camera (John Lennon Wall)

Well, that is the story of how I started the year 2019. I look back on fond memories with people I miss dearly. I cannot wait until this pandemic is over so I can have more adventures like this with all of these awesome people.

So, what is your favorite New Year’s Memories?


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