Day 3 6th December 2023 – Santa Clause day, Houdini’s house and the Great Market


Published: January 5th 2024

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Street wall artStreet wall artStreet wall art

I have had a slightly better night’s sleep last night, but feel so much worse! I went to sleep at about 11, was up at 1:30, had water and a lozenge, then I did go back to sleep until about 3:30, more water, more lozenge.

I mentioned to Kerry that I feel that I’m struggling with the air on a night due to the air con, and that it seems to really affect my sinuses. Last night when we were out, I started to feel achy and shaky across my back, then overnight, I feel I’m in for another chest infection, I feel horrendous. I am hoping that when I do get up and around, it’ll drop off a bit, I always feel better during the day, than I do overnight with this problem!

The feast day of St Nicholas, 6 December, is the traditional day in Hungary when Santa Claus comes to town. His two helpers, a good angel and a dreaded hairy and horned creature called Krampusz accompany him on his gift-giving journey. The night before, children shine their boots and place them on the windowsill, waiting for Santa to leave candies and little toys for the

The queue for New York CafeThe queue for New York CafeThe queue for New York Cafe

nice, or a birch rod – a bouquet of twigs – for the naughty. Around this time in December, bearded people in red flood the streets of Budapest, and many family-friendly events take place citywide. The Finnish Father Christmas figure, Joulupukki, pays a visit to the Vörösmarty tér Christmas Fair every year. Also we will be on the look out for the Santa Speedo Run, where hundreds of people don nothing but swim shorts, a Santa hat and shoes, and go for a jog around the city to raise money for local charities. We did see a Father Christmas, but no Santas in Speedos!!!

Breakfast was quite interesting. In offer today was a sort of cheese lasagne! tomatoes, not sure what had happened with the potatoes, and scrambled and boiled eggs. This could all be accompanied by the toast and butter. There was some interesting looking cheesecake, or so I thought. It turned out to be a really throat clogging dry sponge cake!
We had a catch up with the Welsh ladies again before leaving. The more we chat with them, the more we seem to get on with them.

Today’s plan is to head off for The

Yayyy.. we saw Santa!Yayyy.. we saw Santa!Yayyy.. we saw Santa!

New York Cafe. It is about a 25 minute walk. We set off in a direction that we haven’t walked in before, so that’s was a good change! The area felt so different to the centre. Certainly not so busy, or souvenir cheesy! In fact we preferred the ambience of this area. As we got nearer to the cafe, we could see the queue. It wasn’t good! It was the equivalent of going to Bettys Tearoom in York!! We decided not to queue, but we’re happy that we had made the effort!

With that slight disappointment behind us now, we stuck to our plan and set off for the Great Market, another 30 minute walk. The rain is playing havoc with my hair….well…. It’s getting damaged between the rain and the hood… not sure which is worse!
We do seem to chat on a lot whilst we are walking, mostly rubbish I reckon, but it does get us by! We finally arrive at the Market. It is a really big market!

The Great Market Hall or Central Market Hall is the largest and oldest indoor market in Budapest. The building was designed and built in 1897. The market

The Great MarketThe Great MarketThe Great Market

offers a large variety of stalls on three floors. The entrance gate has a neogothic touch. We had a coffee break in then market cafe where the customers were serenaded by a couple of musicians. It was all very nice, and Christmassy!

When we were finished at the market we headed off across Chain Bridge to aim for Houdini House. As we got across the bridge we discussed the really steep steps we had seen yesterday, and we had in fact avoided them all! So the decision today was to take the funicular cable car up to the highest point of the hill. We didn’t quite know where we needed to be, but did work out that it could only be downwards steps!!!
The building houses the only collection of original Houdini artifacts in Europe. We were a little early for the viewing, so went over the road for a coffee and a sandwich. At 2:15, we were all set to go in! It started with a Wierd magic show. The guy reminded me of Mr Bean, partly because I couldn’t hear a word he said, and secondly, he moved his hands in a wierd way! After he completed

Selling their wares at the Great MarketSelling their wares at the Great MarketSelling their wares at the Great Market

his show, which I actually struggled to stay awake for, we went about the tour of the rooms and all of Houdini’s paraphernalia. It was interesting, but crap that after all his amazing magic tricks, he died after bent hit in the stomach!!! Isn’t it ironic!?

Our next couple of hours were filled by stumbling upon Buda Castle and all of the grounds, which sounds really stupid because it is such a huge, amazing area and buildings, but we hadn’t anticipated being so close to it! The Buda Castle is one of the main symbols of Budapest. It dominates the city from the top of Várhegy hill, giving the opportunity to enjoy an amazing view from one of the highest points.

As we were walking back we discussed the fact that it has rained for the whole day, and we have barely noticed…. Apart from the state of my hair! Also that there are a lot of brass statues dotted all around the city! Just an observation!

I did treat myself for on my way back to the hotel. I’ve been eyeing up these boots each day that I have passed the shop window…. I bought a


pair of moon boots!

We had an hour relax and time to dry out back at the hotel before going out for dinner. We have decided to go Chinese for tea, but we have to re-find the restaurant that we saw earlier today, but I do wish that I had taken more notice of where it was… at the time!

As we left the hotel…. It’s snowing! It looks so Christmassy!!!! We set off walking, not quite sure where we are heading though, which is a bit of a problem! And the snow is getting more slushy and wet every minute!

After walking for about 10 minutes, we changed our minds and went Italian, as it was nearby! …. And what a good choice that turned out to be! When we arrived there was only us and one other family, we were not sure if this was a good idea! We ordered our food, within 15 minutes the whole restaurant was full! Either it’s really good food, or everyone else also got fed up of walking in the wet slush!!!

We had a really good meal to be honest, and it was very reasonably priced too.

The funicular up the hillside to Buda CastleThe funicular up the hillside to Buda CastleThe funicular up the hillside to Buda Castle

We were back at the hotel by about 9:30. All ready for another full day tomorrow!

Today’s step count is 23500 steps, about 15km walked, 137 minutes counted as fat burn!


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