budapest is breathtaking.
incredible architecture is nestled in next to rundown buildings covered with graffiti. modern buildings unexpectedly mixed in with ancient moldings and doors. houses are built right into the hills, and crumbling walls house brand new apartments.
the smells here are so vivid. paprika, garlic, sweet wines, smoked meats, peppers and cabbage, ripe cheeses, fresh pastries. there are markets hidden through
doorways that offer every fruit and vegetable imaginable, butchers and cheesemongers just waiting to sell you their delicious wares. the danube cuts right through the city, and the smell of the river and the sight of the huge bridges that cross it makes everything a little more exciting.
and the parliament building across the river…photographs can’t capture the massive size of this absolutely magnificent building, but i’m sure i’ll spend the next few months trying. our cab driver called this building the “house of crazy” but i can’t get over how gorgeous it is.
do you know that song stupid american by eddie from ohio? it keeps running through my head as i nod and smile at shop owners and market workers. some are kind, some are obviously annoyed, but all patiently wait as i stutter the two hungarian words i know (“hello” and “thank you”) and attempt to pay for my onions and chicken thighs. hungarian is a gorgeous, complicated language that is utterly baffling to an ignorant, language-challenged american, but i’m working on it. my next essential word is “please” before i start on numbers.
steve and i have only been here for three days, but the excitement hasn’t worn off yet – not even close. there’s so much to see and explore, so much people-watching to do, and so many recipes to make. would you believe me if i told you that about three blocks away is a small hungarian cooking school that offers classes in english? you can bet i’ll be trying that. i took my first attempt at the classic hungarian dish paprikás csirke (chicken paprikas) for dinner tonight and while i have no idea how “authentic” it is, it was certainly delicious.
i’m craving great recipes right now, so send me whatever you’ve got. i have nothing but time here and i’m planning to cook something fantastic every day. and if you’d like a postcard (once i figure out how to mail them) leave your address as a comment or email me.