Budapest knows how to celebrate the holidays. The Christmas Market on Vörösmarty Ter is gorgeous, the streets are full of lights, the squares all have elaborate nativity scenes, and to top it all off, there’s a Christmas tram. It’s just one car on one line that runs along the river, but it’s lit up like, well, a Christmas tree.
We cross the line that it runs on our way from class to the dorm, so after class tonight, a few of us went on a quick quest for the Christmas tram. We found it after riding about for a bit, and it was marvelous. (In a postmodern aside, I’ll mention that we found out about this tram from a YouTube video that Sasha stumbled upon, not from actually witnessing it in real life.)
Now, public transport in Budapest usually provides a quintessential glimpse into the nature of Central European sternness. We call it the tram face. You won’t get any friendly stranger telling you his visions of alien communication on the trams here like you might on a bus in the States, no sir. But this tram was different, for obvious reasons. Everyone was smiling and talking, and some women next to us literally started jumping up and down when they saw it approaching. It was just a little bit of public friendliness, but it was enough to fill me with holiday cheer.