Overview

Hungary has a history of being on the wrong side of armed conflicts; in fact, it was on the losing side of both world wars. (Well, it attempted to switch sides at the last minute in WWII, but that ended fairly badly.) Communists seized complete control of the country in 1947. A decade later, a man named Imre Nagy led attempts at reform, but those resulted only in Soviet-inflicted violence and multiple executions (Nagy’s included; he’s now a hero throughout the country). Democracy arrived in 1991, and Hungary joined the EU in 2004. So Hungary’s certainly turned a corner, and it seems to have put its fairly dismal past mostly behind it.

Hungary plays home to medieval towns, wine-making villages and Budapest, which is, by anyone’s definition, a world-class city. There’s something here for everyone, and there was lots here for us. Budapest alone is worth at least a few days, and venturing just a couple of hours outside the city will allow you to experience so much more.

Blog Entries We Wrote

  • To see all the blog entries we wrote about this country, please click HERE.

Pictures We Took

  • To see some of the pictures we took in this country, please click HERE.

Cities/Areas We Visited

  • Budapest (August 8-13, 2008)
  • Pecs (August 13, 2008)
  • Villany (August 13-14, 2008)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Places We Stayed

Budapest

  • Apartment on Oktober 6 Street (August 8-13, 2008): Sometimes “spacious” and “studio apartment” are kind of oxy-morons, but not so with this place (about $100 a night). We loved it for its great location (just steps from St. Stephen’s Basilica), its kitchen (hooray for home-cooked meals!) and its high-speed wifi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Villany

  • Blum Pince-Borozo (August 13-14, 2008): We showed up in Villany with no place to stay, so this smallish hotel ($75 a night) on a street lined with wine cellars was a great find. The staff was friendly, the room was clean, and we got a free glass of wine before we even put down our backpacks–not bad!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Places We Ate

Budapest

  • Lumbini: This place in the heart of Budapest served Indian food in a room lined with pictures of Nepal–it may be a bit ethnically confused. We stopped in for a snack of samosas and Mulligatawny soup and came away fairly satisfied, if only at the opportunity to have some spicy food.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Our apartment: Tacos and nachos one night, roasted chicken with lemons the next… It’s good to be “home.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Koleves: We read about this place in the always-fantastic online version of the New York Times travel section, and it certainly lived up to its reputation for serving up large portions of tasty food. We loved our matzo ball soup, and Derek adored his roasted goose leg with crispy potatoes and pickled cabbage. Shanna’s eggplant tapas was both unusual and delightful. We’d definitely recommend this place!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Bagolyvar: Our waitress was friendly and our goulash was flavorful. Derek really liked his chicken paprikash with dumplings, too, but Shanna’s salad turned out to be nothing more than a pile of lettuce (albeit with some good balsamic on top…).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Momotaro Restaurant: Every table at this casual Chinese place was packed at 9:30 on a Sunday night–that’s always a great sign. As it turned out, they served up the best Chinese food we’ve had since we were in China–delicious pork dumplings with a ginger/garlic sauce that was just right, as well as pork (Derek) and noodles (Shanna) that were pretty darn tasty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Artabla: The atmosphere at this food stand in the middle of the bustling Central Market was perfect, but the goulash, pasta, stuffed cabbage and butter beans with roasted red peppers weren’t great.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Duran Sandwiches: This place was right across the street from our apartment, and we stopped in for breakfast one day and then returned again the next because the creative little bruschetta-like bites they served up were delicious. Toasted slices of French bread topped with everything from fish roe with hard-boiled eggs to ham with paprika cream. Why don’t we have these at home?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pecs

  • Vendeglo Dom Pizzeria: This sidewalk cafe on a pedestrian street in the heart of town allowed for some great people-watching. And we LOVED the food we had here: chicken stuffed with peaches and fish with a honey/lemon sauce for which we’d love to have the recipe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Villany

  • Julia Vendeglo Restaurant: We sat at a picnic table on a wine cellar-filled street and noshed on excellent veal stew with dumplings (Derek) and a decent noodle soup (Shanna) while enjoying the friendly company of the proprietor at this family-run place–not bad!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Things We Did

Budapest

  • Walked the architecturally-rich streets of Budapest, stopping to check out the National Parliament and Heroes’ Square

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • “Took the Waters” at the Szechenyi Baths

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Visited the gorgeous Central Market, where we purchased multiple forms of paprika

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Toured St. Stephen’s Basilica and, in one of the more bizarre things we’ve done on our trip, paid about 65 cents to light up the glass box containing what is, apparently, the saint’s right hand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Toured the House of Terror, a museum that details the reign of terror perpetuated in Hungary by the Nazis and the Soviets during and after World War II

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Meandered through “Body and Soul,” an excellent photography exhibit at the National Art Museum

Pecs

  • Walked around town, stopping to check out the Mosque Church and a wall covered with locks–a symbol of Hungary’s new freedom from communism

 

 

 

 

 

 

Villany

  • Sampled excellent red wine at several cellars, all located along one small, sparsely populated street

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Country Facts

  • Capital City: Budapest
  • Currency: Forint
  • Exchange Rate: 160 Forint to $1