I felt like a first class passenger on the Titanic Wednesday night. I don’t think that is something one says very often. Before I get to explaining that, let’s rewind a bit to the beginning of the evening.
When we parted ways with our lovely guide Claudia, Pop Pop and I freshened up a bit and headed to the Danube Palace, Duna Palota, to pick up our tickets for the Hungarian folklore show we planned to see. After we secured our tickets, we had some time to spare, so we stopped at an outside dining spot. The service was fabulous, my watermelon smoothie was refreshing and Pop Pop’s Snickers milkshake was delicious. The night was already off to a fantastic start.
After our quick refuel, we entered the palace and awaited the show. I had no idea what to expect, considering I have never come near a performance like this. The advertisement says the performances at this palace are by the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble the Danube Folk Ensemble and the Hungaria Folk Ensemble. I am not sure who we saw, because there were about ten of the 90 people in the combined ensembles. Regardless of who it was, the performance was absolutely incredible! It was bursting with energy and everyone looked like they were having the time of their lives. Folk dancing may seem weird or boring to some, but I was entertained the entire time. It was a composed blend of arm flailing, leg turning, clapping, snapping, slapping, stomping, and twirling. There was singing, yelling and balancing bottles on heads while dancing. Not to mention, the band was amazing. The instruments used were a violin, cello, a guitar and piano of some sort. If you ever have a chance to see a Hungarian folklore show, please do yourself a favor and see it.
Following this entertaining performance, we joined a massive group of people to walk from the palace to the river bank where the dinner boat was docked. I have never been on a dinner cruise before, although I have wanted to go on one around New York City for a while. The staff of Europa, the name of the boat, offered us drinks upon boarding and showed us to our seats. If this weren’t already a dream, a quartet set up on stage and started playing music. I was freaking out. How did I get so lucky to be on a dinner cruise on the Danube with my best friend? Our table was dressed with our place settings and an appetizer with two crackers and some sort of toppings. Dinner was a buffet with many options including two types of dumplings, fish, meat, potatoes, vegetables, salad and rice. The food was not the best I have ever had, but it was definitely tasty and plentiful. The dessert table looked fancy with individual small desserts decoratively arranged. Some of the desserts were garnished with chocolate butterfly wings, which I appreciated.
While eating, we talked to a woman from Norway. Apparently, she was a study abroad student in the ‘70’s and stayed in touch with some of her new friends from all around the world. However, they lost touch, but when Facebook came around, they reconnected. Now, as many group members as possible get together every two years to visit each other at one of their homes. They get to travel to a new country, have a personal guide and see old friends. That is definitely something I would love to experience in my life.
After dinner Pop Pop and I walked to the top of the boat and took in the breathtaking views of Budapest from the Danube. The banks of the river were already beautiful in the daylight, but at night, everything was lit up an absolutely stunning. The parliament building along with the Buda Castle and Victory tower were glowing like stars in the night sky. It was nice relaxing with beautiful views and fresh air.
After the cruise ended, Pop Pop and I strolled back to our hotel room and got ready to leave the next day. Oh, what a night!