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So, did you get a chance to read any Budapest-centric books on this trip? If you did, I can almost guarantee the following words were used somewhere in the story:

  • Paprika
  • Danube
  • Communism

I read Prague: A Novel… which is set in Budapest, though you wouldn’t think it. I am still reading it, actually. I wanted to give my review so far.

This book drew me in immediately. The main characters were very relatable. The game they played, Sincerity, sounded like a lot of fun. Most of all, the descriptions of the place put me in Budapest… without annoying me by being too descriptive.

While the characters were relatable, I only like about half of them. They are that that are living their lives IN Budapest, and those that are defining their lives by the fact that they live in Budapest.

There’s a huge theme throughout the book about being on the outside of greatness. Either the great moment is happening someplace else (in the case of this story, that would be Prague, thus the total), or by the generation before you. For me, the part that I really wanted to be part of was the game Sincerity. Yes, I can teach my friends how to play it… but, enviable moments (cities, lives, anything) aren’t forced. What makes them great is that they just happened.

Why 1990 Budapest did not have the same popularity as Prague plagues me. I’m sure there was an article written in the Village Voice back in the day that gave one more of a cool factor. (A part of me believes it was more of a language thing though. Hungarian is not similar to any language of its bordering countries.) As the author described Budapest, you can’t help but fall in love with it. What I appreciated most was the historical perspective. Sure, the stories weren’t true, but the ideas were. In a building that was built in the 1700s, the current occupants are definitely younger than the building and the history of the place can be completely opposite of what happens now.

Some of the things I learned from this book that I want to apply to my own travel experiences is to not shy away from those popular places… they’re popular for a reason. Go to the local places, those are memorable in their own way.

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Attention all Food Blog Lovers!!!

I know there are a lot of you out there!

If you are looking for a great Food Blog that incorporates many Hungarian dishes, is written in English, but is still from a native Hungarian… I have a link for you!

My Gastronomy is perfect. It really focuses on Food and Wine inĀ  Hungary. Homemade, festivals, restaurants… they have it all.

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Budapest: Movies

Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend and had a moment to watch a good Hungarian movie, or a movie that was set in Budapest.

I did not. I ordered the movie a little too late… ok, a lot too late. It hasn’t arrived yet, but instead of posting about something else, I figured I will just go ahead and post about the movie a little bit now and then I will come back and change this post again later once I receive the movie. Which will be by the end of the week.

I opted to watch the movie Kontroll because it’s both by a Hungarian Director and set in Budapest, specifically the Budapest subway system. It’s a dark comedy, which I kind of like, and from what I’ve read has really shown what Hungary can be capable of in the film industry.

From wikipedia, “Kontroll” in Hungarian refers to the act of ticket inspectors checking to ensure a rider has paid their fare. The story revolves around the ticket inspectors, riders, and a possible killer.

Here are some relevant links for more things from the movie:

Please check back on Friday when I update this post with my interpretation. In the meantime, please leave your comments if you had a chance to see this movie… or if you watched another film set in Budapest.

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Budapest: An Image

Sundays are usually a day for rest, relaxation, and reflection. So, on the first Sunday of each destination we’re keeping it simple. Just a picture. Maybe a very quick caption.

waterfall1

[Photo by burge5000]

Yes, there appears to be a waterfall in Budapest. Yes, I am also shocked by this information.

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The coffee shop culture in Budapest is even older than the coffee shop culture in Seattle. And Paris. For years centuries coffee houses have been a wonderful place for friends to gather and socialize. Artists, poets, and common people pondered, gossip and, well, drank coffee!

During World War II many coffee shops were destroyed, but luckily for us many coffee houses have been rebuilt and people are flocking for their cup of joe. If we were in Budapest right now, we’d check out Gerbeaud, which was built in 1858 and has existed as a coffee shop since then.

gerbeaud (Photo by Perhapstoopink/Savannah Grandfather)

The Gerbeaud is also listed as a “must see” in the popular book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die: A Traveler’s Life List.

Now to the Bars

For a great account on the Hungarian bar experience, check out this website. In the meantime, grab a stool, and have one of the two most popular alcoholic beverages in Hungary: Palinka, a double distilled fruit brandy; or Unicum, which tastes a bit like Jaegermeister. Hungarian wines are also quite a bit tasty. So, make sure to pick up a bottle the next time you see one.

Very important fact: Do not clink glasses if you are drinking beer.

What are you drinking tonight? Do you like going to bars when you are on vacation? What kind of bars do you like?

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News from a Budapest perspective in English: the link is right here.

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I loved the goulash so much, I had to try the Paprika Chicken. I made the recipe over at Food By Country and it was amazing. Seriously. I don’t know how Hungarians travel places that don’t carry their local cuisine.

paprikachicken1

The only thing I would do differently from the Food By Country recipe is add some salt and pepper. I steamed some potatoes and had the dish over fork-mashed potatoes. These recipes were really delicious and I plan to try the butter cookies over the weekend (secret ingredient: no, not paprika, but sour cream… yummy!).

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