One Month Left in Budapest

Parliament Budapest from under Margit Bridge

Our current home

One month!? After three and a half years in Central Europe, it’s hard to imagine our time here is nearly over. I look back to that first night in Bratislava; an Italian dinner on the Danube, a restless night at the Marrol Hotel, and then each of us dragging two massive suitcases clickety-clack over the cobblestone streets to our apartment.

We ran upstairs and double locked our door. The graffiti, a massive block housing complex, Petrazalka, scarring a mile long swath across the river; Bratislava just seemed so foreign. No, intimidating.

We have changed since then. Grown, I hope. Fortunately, I started this blog shortly after we arrived. Some day, Pat and I will walk this blog from end to end; our own digital memory lane. But not yet. This month, we are focused on the present. I am not ready to relegate Central Europe to our past.

It’s hard to imagine how much we haven’t done. I scribbled a list of places to visit – both in Budapest and further afield in Hungary. And, of course, we will include one last weekend in Bratislava.

March 2nd, we head back to the United States, destination still vague (after all, my employer has a bit to say about this). But for now, let’s stay in the present, keep our feet planted in Hungary. Here’s our Hungarian bucket list:

  • Another meal at Hungarikum Bistro and Zeller Bistro. Both are at the top of the Tripadvisor list – and for good reason.
  • A couple of visits to Trattoria Toscana. This restaurant is linked to our history with this city. We have to drop in to say goodbye, maybe twice.
  • Dinner at Gundel. We have never tried this dining option associated with visiting heads of states and the ubiquitous crepe dessert, the Gundel pancake. But we will now.
  • Perhaps a cake at one or two of the famed coffee shops in town – Frohlich and Auguszt spring to mind.
  • The Applied Science Museum with its incredible Zsolnay tile roof
  • Rudas Thermal Bath
  • The Hall of Art on Heroes Square
  • The Glass Factory, Budapest’s answer to Schindler’s factor
  • The town of Kecskemét and the The Hungarian Museum of Photography
  • The town of Győr – both a short listed city and the site of a handball game versus France. This is a 2fer. Handball is huge here, and we have never seen a match.

When we are not dashing about, I have a list of 15 or more blog topics in the backlog; biking the Austrian countryside, tasting wine in Villany, The Goat Church in Sopron, and Christmas markets (it’s never too late for a Christmas market blog, right?)

Today, I am off to a Hungarian cooking class. It ended up being a private class taught in a couple’s apartment a bit up in Buda. We will start at the main market hall to shop, then off we go to cook and eat. Chicken paprikash, anyone?

Cooking is one of my greatest sources of pleasure. As a new resolution, I plan to master one classic dish each place we live. I am researching cooking classes in Paris. Baguette making? I’m in.

My goal is to be caught up on the blog within a month of returning to the United States. This site serves as my journal. I can’t leave with gaping holes in our story.

Fortunately, our landlord agreed to buy our furniture, so we do not have to deal with that. We do have a lot of packing and shipping in front of us – or maybe sorting and purging, dumping and burning, heaving and tossing off the deck. The closer we get to zero days remaining, the less inclined we are to keep anything.

And that’s fine. I refuse to let chores stand in the way of our list. One lesson that will stand out above all others from these last 42 months, in the battle of experiences versus stuff, always, always go to the handball game.

Categories: Insiders Budapest

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6 replies

  1. It seems I have discovered your ‘journal’ about 4 years too late. I love the way you make us readers feel as if you are talking to usas iindividuals, it brings your writing to life.
    All I can say is make sure you complete your ‘Hungarian bucket list’ because promises which are unfulfilled, especially those made to yourself, are the ones most keenly felt if not kept.
    Enjoy your time there, and don’t forget that a blog does not have to be only about foreign lands – the USA is foreign to me 🙂

    • S… Better late than never. In any event, late or not, I am glad you have found the blog! The world in between starts now. What I most enjoy is stories about places we will live in an alternate version of retirement. So the US, Europe, Central America… It’s all on deck soon.

      I do hope one day we can all meet up in Bratislava and share the individual spots we love.
      And as always, thanks so much for kinds words on my writing. It bolsters my fragile confidence on this task!. And I look forward to reading your blog some day soon…

  2. You have your priorities straight. And I would pack less and purge more. We had a nice assortment of young adults who need household stuff. That was how I got my first couch, pots, pans, etc. We also had a local charity that had the most convenient drop off location.
    We completed our first week in Poland this Friday, and our priorities are insurance, ID, residency permit for me, bus passes, and of course buying some of the things we gave away. 🙂

    • Oh my gosh, you arrived! How exciting!! It helps me rationalize everything when I can help a family starting out…. And some stuff you do have to keep rebuying. Can’t wait to read about your first impressions…

  3. Hi. Is it possible to travel from Budapest to Brastilava on public boat down the Danube.

    • Yes. It is, although I’m quite sure it’s seasonal. (Maybe Aprilish to October.) You can also go Budapest to Szentendre or Bratislava to Vienna if either of those fits your agenda. I only mention these because they are shorter and that boat ride would drive me crazy. I’d rather break the train ride up with a stop in Esztergom (train stop: Sturovo, Slovakia). You could hop a taxi to Esztergom for lunch (we walked, but it’s a long walk and we spent all day there.) The best view from the Danube is Budapest itself at night (maybe a dinner cruise?)

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