August 10, 2011

Budapest

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Back in July, Mark, Lynh and I spent a week exploring Budapest. As you may or may not know, Budapest is divided by the Danube into Buda and Pest. We stayed in Pest (say: Pesht), which was livelier but not as pretty as Buda. In general, my impression of Budapest was that it was colorful, architecturally eclectic, and quite beautiful. I especially liked the Jewish quarter, Buda, and Margaret Island.

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We thoroughly explored Buda and Pest, spent an afternoon at the Szechenyi thermal baths, and walked along the Danube. My sister the sadist (kidding! or am I?) forced me to hike to the top of Gellert Hill on the hottest day, where we shared a bottle of mineral water in the shadow of a creepy sculpture and checked out the great view of the city.

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We also explored the city by night.

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As for food, we cooked most of our meals in our apartment, doing our best to find/follow authentic Magyar recipes. And because we had access to authentic ingredients (they sell goose fat at the grocery store like it ain't no thing), the food turned out pretty great. We sampled all of the local specialities we could find -- sour cherries, mangalitsa cured pork sausages, super fragrant paprika, at least 5 different types of pickled peppers (Lynh's theory is that Peter Piper was Hungarian) gulyas (meat braised with paprika and onion sauce), palacsinta (crepes), chicken paprikash, Tokaj sweet wine, etc.

The worst thing we ate was when Lynh ordered corn on the cob from a street vendor. I knew, just knew, it would be disgusto and I told her not to get it. And I was right. (I shared that seemingly pointless story because that episode led to Lynh eating it, making a face, me saying I told you so, and her yelling at me to stop being so annoying. Mark and I laughed a lot.)

We also sampled Israeli food (incredible laffa bread and good hummus, at Hummus Bar) and Serbian food (cevapcici, below, also tasty but with mediocre bread, at Castro Bisztro).
 
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As for accommodations, we rented this apartment. It would have been great except that the owner's agent kept bringing people by, with the explanation that the apartment was going to be in a movie (like I care). After I complained, they gave us a bottle of wine, which was nice I guess? But obviously I would have rather they respected our privacy in the first place. Vacation rentals! Not always perfect, but maybe you just have to keep your expectations appropriately low.

4 comments:

Vivé said...

Years ago I went to a sculpture garden out in a suburb of Budapest, more like a sleepy town, that was full of old Soviet statues like that one. It was vacant and amazing-- big fists and strong forearms and women who looked like linebackers. I wonder if it's still there.

I found you for your yellow-eye bean soup, which I've made numerous times. I've enjoyed your blog, including the tips on Parisian falafel, which I had when we visited the city last fall.

Kim said...

Hi Vive, glad to meet you and happy that you liked the soup recipe! Btw, the Communist statue park (maybe called Memento Park now?) is still there. I agree, a neat place.

Lynh said...

Hmph. Pardon my craving for fresh corn, I couldn't seem to get it anywhere this past summer. Also, you forgot to mention that I did order the best dish in Budapest, the Shakshouka, Dear Sister.

Amy said...

I love your pictures, Kim! Budapest looks so dreamy.