Eastern Europe is so good to me!  Every place I’ve been to so far in Eastern Europe (Prague, Krakow, and now Budapest) has been absolutely amazing.  Fabulous people, wonderful culture and architecture, and the food.  O.M.G….the food.  Delicious.  To die for!  Honestly, I go for the food, let’s be honest.

We arrived into Budapest late Friday evening.  We had planned to have a full Saturday and Sunday to explore the city, before leaving very early Monday morning to go into work.  We rented an apartment, which is what we typically do whenever we travel, because we like having access to a kitchen while we’re on vacation.  We usually don’t eat out all that often, and love being able to cook local foods, so it’s a good choice for us.

Saturday morning, we woke up early and headed to the large indoor market to meet up with our cooking instructor.  Our big Saturday plans was a Hungarian cooking class!!  I love to cook, so I was super excited.  The indoor market was absolutely AMAZING!

Indoor Market with tons of food stalls.

Fruit stall…and everything was so fresh and cheap!

While we were at the market, our guide took us to the pastry place for some breakfast.  Apparently most Hungarians have sweets for breakfast, which was fine by me!  We had apple strudel, a cottage cheese strudel, a sour cherry and ricotta strudel, and a ground poppy-seed strudel!  All of them were delicious, but the apple was probably my favorite.  She also got us a traditional Hungarian salty breakfast…which was basically fried dough coated with sour cream and grated cheese.  Sounds gross, but it was so flipping amazing!  Needless to say, there were no leftovers after that. 

After the market, we walked over to the cooking school to start our lesson!  We were making a sour cherry soup for a starter, chicken paprikash for an entrée, and cottage cheese balls for dessert.  They use a lot of cottage cheese in their cooking, but it isn’t like our cottage cheese back home.  It’s a very dry cottage cheese, similar to ricotta.  It’s delicious though!

Me at the cooking school…ready to eat!

Our cottage cheese balls…NOM!

Chicken Paprikash, with homemade dumplings.

After the cooking class, we went back to the apartment and I took a nap!  It was super hot in Budapest that weekend (mid-90s), and that, combined with such a heavy lunch, meant that I needed more sleep.  After that, we woke up, walked to the grocery and got some stuff for a light dinner. 

Sunday was our day to be tourists.  We did a lot of walking, but that was good, since Hungarian food is ridiculously fatty and bad for you.  We walked up to a overlook spot, and managed to get a great view of the church across the river.

St. Stephen’s Basilica in the distance.

Also, a lot of the roofing is super gorgeous there.  Here is an example of some of the old architecture, with hand painted tile roofing.  It was amazing to see!

Hand painted tiles…individually painted.  By hand.  Amazing.

Me being cheesy at the Fisherman’s Bastion.  Gorgeous architecture, and I loved all the white stone!

After the lookout point and Fisherman’s Bastion, we walked down to the Jewish Quarters to see the Great Synagogue located there.  We didn’t go inside, but we did have a look around.  It was so beautiful.  I’ve always felt incredibly at peace in Temples throughout Europe, even though I’m not Jewish.  I’ve considered converting a handful of times, but never have. 

As we walked past the Synagogue, we came across a courtyard that had a memorial dedicated to those from Budapest who died in concentration camps during WWII.  Each of the branches has hundreds of tiny leaves, with each leaf engranged with the name of a WWII victim.  It was incredibly beautiful, yet heartbreaking at the same time.

WWII memorial.

After that, we headed out for some more Hungarian food for dinner.  We happened to pop into a place in the Jewish quarter and ordered us some more fatty deliciousness!  Oh my…amazing.  I can’t say enough about Hungarian food…other than it’s fab.  I had Matzo Ball soup (my favorite), and some more chicken paprikash (I wanted to compare it to the one I had made myself…mine was better, but this was still pretty good).  After that, we headed back to the apartment, packed our stuff, and passed out.  The next morning, we woke up around 4am to head to the airport, catch our red-eye flight, and be back in the office by 8:30am on Monday.

It was a fantastic trip!  Fast, too short, and full of lots of fun.  I’d definitely recommend Budapest to anyone who has a chance to get over there…you won’t regret it!