In the past few years, the last days of November have become somewhat of an obstacle race through Budapest: I simply won’t have premature festive cheer shoved down my throat and that’s my final word on it. A pleasant walk through Vörösmarty square? Think again, or you might just land in a pot of scalding mulled wine. Also marketed as hot wine, cooked wine, spice wine and my favourite, milled wine. I really want to understand the technical process involved in making that one. Need to cross beside Saint Stephen’s? Out of the question, lest you wish to be faced with skating gnomes and overpriced knick-knacks. Your road leads towards Deák square? Perhaps not or you might accidentally trip over the giant Advent wreath clogging circulation on the sidewalk leading to Astoria.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am no Grinch in the long run, but having Jingle Bells implanted into my cortex from early October onward is definitely not going to raise my levels of well-being, nor those of most other people judging by the near mental collapse state many are in by the time we reach actual Christmas.
Instead, I prefer to take in the last golden hues of autumn as it fades into the inevitable grey of early Budapest winters- trees have very distinct personalities when it comes to this part of the year. Some will shake of their foliage slowly and carefully, as if thinking twice about each leaf they shed, while others will just let go suddenly, like that time Britney woke up one morning and decided to shave her head- case in point, the tree pictured with the Museum of Applied arts below was basically a silhouette of twigs about two days after the shot was taken.