We arrived in Budapest after a very enjoyable train journey from Munich, through Salzburg and Vienna. The Railjet train is very comfortable and the views are amazing.
Arriving into Budapest we were met by Alan’s old friend Janos who was his neighbour in Taiwan when they worked for Eva Air. He and his lovely wife Roza very kindly invited us to stay with them while we were visiting Budapest. Janos was our excellent and knowledgeable tour guide and drove us around Budapest and up to the Danube Bend, a beautiful area north of Budapest near the town of Visegrád. This area is said to be the most picturesque stretch of the Danube and is home to the Visegrád Castle, the summer palace of King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary and also a medieval citadel.
Matthias was King of Hungary (a much larger country back in the 15th century and until WW1).
The citadel is obviously a popular school trip as we shared the sights with many (many) school kids!
We had an amazing time walking around Budapest, with its Freedom Square, impressive parliament buildings and the Buda Castle. The weather was mixed, sunny when we arrived but by Thursday it was raining. The food however was amazing. Janos and Roza served up some classic Hungarian food for us. We had a special fish soup, Halaszle, from Szeged in the south. Absolutely delicious. Janos made some incredible goulash, served with dumplings Roza whipped up incredibly quickly. I wish I had watched how she did it. She also made dessert dumplings using turo, (called, I think, Túrúgombóc) a Hungarian curd cheese, which is mixed with egg and semolina then cooked in simmering water and finally rolled in breadcrumbs and sugar. These are served with sour cream flavoured with vanilla. There’s some lemon flavour in there too. Delicious.
Needless to say there were quite a few shots of Palinka, the national drink, a homemade fruit brandy, this one (made by a friend of Janos’) from quince. This is for medicinal purposes of course. Good for your digestion.
On our last night our friends took us to an excellent restaurant, named after the rooster (Kakashere?) and it had a number of rooster-related items on the menu including the poor birds’ testicles. I actually managed to avoid these and had one of the best duck dishes I’ve had in a while. The dessert pancakes filled with walnuts and covered with chocolate sauce were tasty. All washed down with beer of course. We were joined by another old Eva colleague, Lazlo, and had an excellent evening. I think it’s fair to say we departed Hungary with some excess baggage around our waists!
So the next morning we were off again, this time on the Hungarian State railway, to Prague via Bratislava. We had a wonderful time in Hungary and hope we make it back again one day. I first visited Hungary in 1987 (driving a kombivan of course) when it was still under Communist rule and always wanted to return. I’m so glad we did. It’s a beautiful country and I highly recommend adding it to your bucket list of travel destinations.