Szia everyone. Hope you are all well, it’s nearing the end of the week again, can’t believe how fast this year is going. Thursday’s for me are where the weekend planning starts to kick in, outfits need to be organised, parties need planning and bookings at restaurants need to be made. So far there are a few too many things on this weekend but one thing is for certain…I am going to the Taste Sydney Food Festival tonight (I consider Thurs night to be the beginning of the weekend). I’ll be sure to eat as much as I can, and photograph it all, blog to appear some time soon.
Back to the past…I share with you our time in Budapest the capital city of Hungary. We stayed for 4 nights in an awesome and very modern hostel called Wombat’s. The hostel was centrally located, social, clean and spacious with the staff helping out with what to do, see and eat. If you are looking for affordable accommodation then definitely check this place out.
To get ourselves familiarised with the city we decided to get an aerial view over Pest from Buda. The city is split in two by the Danube River with each side; Buda and Pest previously being separate cities. In 1873 the two were combined and formed Budapest. Both sides are beautiful but when it came to picking accommodation we decided to stay in Pest as this is where most of the city is with plenty of choices for places to eat, drink and party.
Walking across to Buda you have to cross the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, this was the first permanent bridge across the Danube connecting Buda to Pest.
Just after the bridge there was this fantastic road built into the side of the mountain face.
No idea what this emblem was for but I thought it deserved a picture.
Over on the Buda side is Castle Hill where you will find the Royal Palace, Mary Magdalene Tower, Vienna Gate, Matthias Church, Fisherman’s Bastion and the National Gallery. You can walk up the cliff side, get a bus, or do the touristy thing and get in the funicular.
Big bird ready to fly off the hill.
A row of Hungarian flags. Perfectly sunny weather but compared to Greece where we had just come from, it was about 12 degrees cooler each day. Bit of a shock to the system to have to wear jeans again.
We watched the Changing of the Guard which takes place next to the Castle in the Presidents quarter.
Beautiful architecture with the most amazing views that sweep over both Buda and Pest. If you are in Budapest for a short amount of time, this is a definite stop off that everyone must do.
Photo time…Ana with the Danube and Pest in the background.
I look extremely serious…need a smile on that dial.
Cafe Gerbeaud Bistro
Cafe Gerbeaud is one of the most famous coffee houses in Budapest, founded in 1858 it has been in its current position since 1870. It was beautiful to sit outside in the sun and people watch but the food was nothing special. I believe they are known for their cakes and pastries so it may have been a smarter option to order one of those instead.
Ana having a read of some tourist pamphlet….Ladies of leisure!
Brown bread…I was impressed.
We both went for a prawn salad in a mustard dressing with tomato, lettuce, olives, caper berries.
1051 Budapest Vörösmarty tér 7-8, Budapest
Ph; +36 1/429 9000
The Great Market Hall
The Great Market Hall or Central Market Hall (however you would like to call it) is a huge indoor market place which offers a variety of stores on three different levels. When you enter on the ground floor you will find most of the produce such as meats, pastries, candy, spices, spirits and caviar. The second floor is full of eateries which is where we stopped off for some food and the ground floor contains a supermarket, fish market and a whole assortment of pickles for purchase.
Fresh fruit and chilli which is extremely popular in the market place. Paprika is prominent in Hungarian cuisine, and is made from dried and grounded capsicum varieties and chilli.
A collection of dried out chilli.
We ventured upstairs for something to eat. Not having had breakfast, we started off the day with some traditional Hungarian fare. I chose the stuffed cabbage leaves which were filled with minced pork meat, cooked in a lot of paprika and served with sour cream on top.
There are many variations of this dish throughout Europe (Croatia, Greece, Russia, Turkey, Poland, Romania) each adding their own little twist. I definitely enjoyed the addition of sour cream as it seemed to break up the meal a bit and nicely combine the paprika flavour with the mince filling.
Ana went with a grilled sausage served with a gherkin and some other pickled vegetable. I love how the meat has so much flavour, most likely from all the spices.
We didn’t purchase one of these (wishing we had now that I look back at this photo) but I had read/heard about them. Langos are a Hungarian specialty of deep fried bread which in this case has been topped with sweet delights. From my understanding they can also be topped with savoury items such as cheese, ham, sausage, sour cream etc.
Feeling extremely full and a little bit ‘heavy’ after such a filling first meal of the day, I purchased a freshly squeezed grapefruit and orange juice for 1 euro. Perfect mixture of sweet and sour in a cup. Happy face!!
Great Market Hall
1093 Budapest, Vámház körút 1-3., Hungary
Open every day except Sunday
We spent a morning taking in St Stephen’s Basilica…We couldn’t venture inside though as the church was booked for a private wedding.
The neo-classical architecture gives the place such a fairy tale look.
Every day there were markets on near the main shopping street and I made sure that we bought a Chimney Cake, traditionally known as a Kurtos Kalac. It is baked on an open fire with the dough being placed over a cylindrical spit like thing. They cover it in sugar whilst baking so the exterior becomes caramelised and crispy and the interior remains soft.
You can then choose what type of sprinkling you would like. I chose cinnamon but you could also get vanilla, walnut, cocoa or coconut.
Blue Rose Restaurant
Being in Budapest, we wanted to try a traditional Hungarian goulash. After much Google searching we decided on Blue Rose which had a reputation for the best goulash in the city. Being close to our hostel, off we went on our merry way for lunch.
Here we have the goulash soup made with meat, vegetables (plenty of potatoes) and seasoned with paprika and I assume other spices. It’s extremely tasty but also quite salty.
We also order the Beef Porkolt a stew made from boneless meat and paprika and served with potato pancakes on the side. Don’t know if I could eat such heavy meals everyday.
Simple garden salad on the side, the freshness and quality of vegetables in Budapest is also a lot different to places like Italy and Greece. They don’t have the same flavour or crunch factor.
Overall we had a good time trying some more traditional dishes, but I can’t say that Hungarian cuisine would ever be one I could live off.
1077 Budapest, Wesselenyi u.9
Ph: Ph; +36 1/342 89 81
On our way to the baths we came across the Millenary Monument which is at the end of the beautiful Andrassy Street. The monument was built to commemorate the thousandth anniversary of the Magyar Conquest.
We spent the afternoon at the Szechenyi Bath & Spa which is made up of 15 different swimming areas all offering different water temperatures. This place was huge and everyone was just chilling out and enjoying all the different pools. There is a set entry fee, but they also offer a variety of massages and treatments that you can enjoy whilst there. You can check out the website here.
On our last night in Budapest we decided to visit the Hummus Bar, which had been suggested to us by people working at the hostel. I’m always up for Middle Eastern food and found that it is a very common cuisine in Budapest, especially the late night kebab option which seems to be popular for those who have been out drinking.
I chose the Falafel plate which came with pita bread, hummus topped in olive oil and a mixture of three salads.
Ana opted for the Beef & Lamb Meatballs which were actually more like flat pancakes.
Variety of locations around Budapest, check them all out here.
After dinner we walked down to the Danube and captured some shots of the city at night. Its look magical.
The Chain Bridge looking over to the Buda side and the Castle in the background.
I leave you with a tram animation which goes along the river. Budapest really is a beautiful city and full of amazing architecture and a nice variety of new food to discover and try. Our next stop was Prague in the Czech Republic. We used our Eurail passes and took a supposed 7 hour train which ended up taking 13 hours as we missed the memo that we needed to swap trains and ended up on the Polish border. Thanks to the guy in our carriage who made us aware of where we were and let us know how to get back to Prague. Cheerio for now, I hope everyone has a good weekend, mine will be full of eating it seems :) no complaints here.