Today was our last full day and we headed up to Varosliget and heroes square. The weather was gorgeous and sunny and the 3 layers, hat and scarf suddenly seemed a mistake   The square of statues is impressive, but the ice rink behind it is even more impressive. They dam the lake and freeze part of it to make an ice rink as big as a football pitch.  I was all for going on it until I noticed one important element was missing. A wall.  Normally when we go skating it’s at an indoor rink which has walls and screens designed to keep an ice hockey puck in play and, more importantly, me upright. This was completely open and so the only thing which I would have to keep hold of to stay upright would be other skaters. Not wanting to cause an international incident, we opted to spend the rest of the morning strolling around the park.

We lunched at the Christmas market (everyday is a Christmas market day here). Last night we decided we really must try something off these stalls.  Goulash in a bowl made of bread, knuckle and onions or Langos (a sort of potato pancake thing). Myself and Karen settled on Shazlick and Chips (which true to form were cold). It was heaving and we couldn’t all sit together so myself and Karen sat on a table with some other people.  This was when we saw the Hungarian tradition of looking daggers at someone when you want their seat.  There were a couple of girls sat opposite us who were finishing up.  Next to them was another lady whose boyfriend was stood up as there wasn’t room for him to sit.  Now this woman could stare. Medusa would have been scared of her. She looked at the 2 girls with a “don’t you think it’s time to stop taking pictures of the remnants of you bowl made of bread and move?” I’m not sure if they picked up on this vibe, but if they did, they decided to actually slow down to wind her up.  I’ve never seen anyone take so long to light a cigarette, pick up their bags and leave. I’ve not seen time wasting like this since they introduced the pass back rule. After they left, her boyfriend sat down and she still had a gob on. We decided not to upset her and leave.

This afternoon Karen wanted to visit the “final” market (please let it be the last one). As it turned out, this wasn’t just a Christmas market but also a flea market. Result!  Myself and Daz were drawn to the old vinyl records (Daz and Sue have just bought a new house and one of the great features is that Daz can now have one of his vinyl decks in each of the guest rooms compete with a selection of suitable records). Albums included: Staus Quo, In the Army Now; Madonna, True Blue and various Abba albums. The highlight for me though was Europe’s “Out of this world” album. For those of you who don’t remember Europe they were a rock band In the 80’s who had one hit in the UK (The Final Countdown) but were really big in….errr…Europe. The thing was, this Album wasn’t even the one with The Final Countdown on.  this was the 1988 follow-up album. A collector’s item if ever there was one.

You may remember from my America blog that I am partial to a pin badge and the same stall had loads of little button badges.  The badges seemed to be from the same era as the music. Elvis and Superman seemed to be the main ones. At the next stall there was various other Bric a brac including old slide projectors, cameras and various bits of Soviet tat. I was enthralled by the Soviet pin badges, but had no idea what many of them meant.  There was one “See you in 92” with the Olympic logo and “Sofia” on it. Now to the majority of us the 92 Olympics means Barcelona; but over here it’s all about the Winter Olympics and Sofia in Bulgaria did in fact bid for the 92 Winter Olympics, but lost out to Albertville (go on Google it. I’m not lying).  I should really have bought it to go with my “Manchester for the 2000 Olympics” badge. There is a niche collection if ever there was one.  Failed Olympic bid badges.

In amongst all this lot though was the biggest surprise.  A lovely red and gold enamelled badge from the South Derbyshire NUM. Presumably these were from the day when the branch of the NUM was rich enough and had enough members to issue badges. Perhaps somewhere in a flea market In Derbyshire there is CCCP miners badge.

PS: Today’s cake was Sachertorte.

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