Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hungary: Sopron, Budapest and Balatonfüred

By Melissa at 11:48 AM
June 19 - June 30

We spent 11 days in Hungary basically eating non-stop. This of course was the plan all along, but it worked out even better than we had imagined. The downside of this plan will be obvious when you see pictures of us in our bathing suits in a few weeks. But I don't get to spend 11 days in Hungary very often, so we reveled in our gluttony. Let me paint a brief picture before I get into the details. It's possible that I ate something during our stay that didn't have bacon, cheese or sour cream in it, but if I had to bet, I would say it was the sparkling water I was drinking.

We started our eating tour in the cute town of Sopron near the Austrian border. Sopron is small, but one of our favorite towns we've visited so far. We spent our days just walking around for the most part and taking pictures of the many old and beautiful buildings. The town has many great public spaces, including a fountain next to the Ference (Franz) Liszt Cultural Center that spurts out water in time to classical music playing in the background.

St. Michael's Church
From Sopron, Hungary


One of the inner town streets
From Sopron, Hungary

Melissa in inner town
From Sopron, Hungary

Szechenyi Square
From Sopron, Hungary

Kids going nuts over the musical water fountain
From Sopron, Hungary

Our favorite restaurant in Sopron, which we frequented three times in as many days, was Étterem Jegverem. They served huge, and I mean huge, portions of food for rock bottom prices. And boy was it good. The beef goulash tasted like it came straight out of my mother's kitchen. And the good food just kept on coming.

Melissa and goulash soup
From Sopron, Hungary

Brian's fried potato, mushroom, onion, bacon, and pork dish
From Sopron, Hungary

Beef stew and nokedli
From Sopron, Hungary

In Budapest we stayed with my cousins and saying we were well-fed is an understatement. Our first meal consisted of bableves, a bean soup with ham and sour cream; and langos, fried dough rubbed with garlic and topped with sour cream and cheese. After we had stuffed ourselves, we still managed to fit in two pieces of Tiramisu for dessert. Later in the day we went to this amazing bistro and deli and were served plates of delectable sausages, veggies, cheese and spreads accompanied by many glasses of wine. We finished the meal with passion fruit and mango ice cream. They normally only serve food during lunch, but the owner told us that they periodically schedule dinners in the deli where you can have a 9-course dinner for $45 a person!

Delicious deli meats
From Budapest, Hungary

Delicious spreads and fresh veggies
From Budapest, Hungary

Langos
From Budapest, Hungary

Brian eating a poppyseed and honey pastry
From Budapest, Hungary

Thanks to my cousins, who drove us around to many great places, we were quite busy in and around Budapest. We visited St. Stephen's cathedral, the Buda Citadel, Hero's Square, Liberty Square and Parliament to name a few. We also spent a day touring Skanzen, and open air cultural museum and the cute town of Szentendre. One of the best museums, but also one of the saddest places we visited, was the House of Terror in Budapest, with exhibits documenting the fascist and communist regimes in Hungary. The museum is housed in the former headquarters of the secret police and you can even view the cells where people were tortured.

View of Pest and the Danube from the Citadella
From Budapest, Hungary

The base of the Millenary monument in Heroes Square
From Budapest, Hungary

Szechenyi Chain Bridge
From Budapest, Hungary

Holocaust Memorial through the gate
From Budapest, Hungary

White flowers in the Skanzen (outdoor museum)
From Budapest, Hungary

Pig, supposedly the tastiest
From Budapest, Hungary

The final stop on the culinary tour was a relaxing few days in Balatonfüred, a town on the shores of Lake Balaton. We found another restaurant there that served huge portions at very reasonable prices (you should be noticing a trend here), and ate fish soup, beef stew and pork roast to our stomach's content. Being a beach town, there were also plenty of ice cream stands to finish off our meals. Aside from our aforementioned eating, we enjoyed strolling along the lake-side promenade, which was lined with wine tasting huts, snack foods stands and restaurants. We also spent two days just relaxing on the beach and catching up on plans for future travel.

Relaxing on the lake
From Balatonfured, Hungary

Melissa and the lake
From Balatonfured, Hungary

Sailboat coming in
From Balatonfured, Hungary

The promenade along the lake
From Balatonfured, Hungary

Pork, mushroom, and onion thing
From Balatonfured, Hungary

From Hungary we took a train to Slovenia, a small country that seems to have everything; mountains, river valleys, a lovely, walkable capital city and the most delicious ice cream. Yes, it even rivals Italian gelato. But more on that in the next post.

More pictures of Sopron, Budapest, and Balatonfured