budapest, hungary - central market hall + day and night drinking

Budapest was perhaps the first capital I've been to that wasn't overrun by tourists (you know -- horrible souvenirs made in China, overpriced "tourist menus", streets so choked with gawking families in khaki shorts you wouldn't catch a local anywhere in a 10 mile radius), giving it an authentic and honest feel that is sometimes lacking in other glassy-eyed tourist-dollar hungry capitals.

{see my first post on Budapest here}

Jewish Quarter Budapest

Jewish Quarter Budapest


Have I mentioned how madly in love I was with our apartment building? Such an ornate, colorful, run-down, detailed beauty. Actually, a perfect representation & microcosm for all of Budapest. Every time we entered or left this building, I took 20 pictures of it. (Sorry, Alex.)

Jewish Quarter Budapest

Jewish Quarter Budapest

Jewish Quarter Budapest

Helvecia Pub Budapest
This was directly next door to us. We come all the way from Switzerland to Budapest only to end up directly next door to the city's only Swiss pub!
 
Budapest downtown

Central Market Hall, Budapest

Great Central Market Hall, Budapest
CENTRAL MARKET HALL - CUSTOM HOUSE KRT 1-3

On Saturday morning, we went to the Central Market Hall to seek out breakfast. The market hall is full of meat, cheese, vegetable, pastry, and spice vendors, and locals bargaining for the best prices and stocking up on groceries for the weekend.

Great Central Market Hall, Budapest

Great Central Market Hall, Budapest

Great Central Market Hall, Budapest

Great Central Market Hall, Budapest

Great Central Market Hall, Budapest

Alex and I filled our bellies up on traditional Hungarian street food, splitting a savory palacsinta (like a pancake or crepe, filled with veggies, meats and cheese) and a lángos (ours had cheese and bacon and was by far the most expensive / least authentic on the menu, but we are typical sucker tourist Westerners who can never NOT order the bacon option).

Lanos and Palacsinta, Great Central Market Hall, Budapest

We waited in line for approximately 30 minutes for these, elbowing pushy asshole French tourists and rogue Italian and Asian line-cutters. Alex and I are extremely serious about the business of food so we were prepared for a fight and we WON, dammit.

Langos, Great Central Market Hall, Budapest
It was ..... large.

Langos, Great Central Market Hall, Budapest

Great Central Market Hall, Budapest

Great Central Market Hall, Budapest

Great Central Market Hall, Budapest

Great Central Market Hall, Budapest
Had a digestif -- hot spiced wine for her and local brewed beer for him -- before hitting the streets to explore.

Budapest downtown graffiti

Budapest downtown graffiti

Tram downtown Budapest

Budapest has excellent tram, subway, and bus systems. Public transport is very timely -- we never waited longer than 5 minutes for a ride -- cheap, and reliable. The subway system is the oldest in Continental Europe (!); London steals the record for oldest in Europe. Worldwide, Boston grabs third. 

Budapest Downtown Jewish Quarter

Budapest Downtown Jewish Quarter

Budapest Downtown Jewish Quarter

Tram Number 2, downtown Budapest

Budapest Downtown

Hotel Gellert, Budapest
 GELLERT HOTEL - SZENT GELLERT 1

We dropped into the Gellert Hotel to gawk. The hotel is drenched in luxury, particularly their renowned Art Nouveau baths. We stood on our tippie-toes and pressed our faces to the glass and tried to get a glimpse of the good life.

Hotel Gellert, Budapest

Downtown Budapest architecture

Downtown Budapest architecture

Downtown Budapest

Downtown Budapest pastries street fair
We passed a street fair and had to resist buying the lot of these pastries to eat for breakfast the next day! Many vendors also sold spiced hot wine, as seen in the jug in the right of this photo. This is sold all over Europe. Hot mulled wine is to Europe as Bud Light is to America.


We stopped to rest our feet and enjoy a quick drink. I ordered a local Hungarian red wine popularized by tired old fishermen at the end of a day's work, and Alex had a hard cider. Then we had another round.

Glasses empty, supremely tipsy Alex tried to tell our waiter we were done drinking and would like the check. The waiter asked something incomprehensible and Alex nodded yes, naturally. And minutes later, the waiter was walking towards us bringing another bottle. Alex begged "no no no no no no" under his breath, hoping it wasn't for our table. It was.

And that is how one drink turns into three, and two kids become a bit drunk and need an epic nap before dinner.

 "We have been drinking!!!!!!!!11!!!!!1!!!!"

Farm Budapest
 FARM - Ó U 14

After our nap, we stumbled sleepily into Farm, a couple blocks from our flat, and ordered a couple more drinks and dinner. Farm's menu is quite small but exceptionally excellent and the portions are tremendous, and the prices are fantastically low. We split a platter of local meats and cheese, and an order of grilled sausages and pickles with fresh homemade bread. 7,000 stars for Farm.

Farm Budapest

Farm Budapest
Alex had a "gin tea," served in a Hendrik's gin teacup, which he declared one of the best drinks he'd ever had. He would order another for dessert.

Farm Budapest

Farm Budapest

After eating those two gigantic glorious epic monsters earlier in the day, I had looked solemnly at Alex and quietly made the most out-of-character, un-Michelle-like statement of my life: "I am so full, maybe we shouldn't go to dinner tonight." Alex looked at me in horror. I have never said something like this ever before in my life, and I hope to God I never will ever again commit such a slander against my beloved, Food. Alex looked at me with big eyes and said, "Michelle, of course we'll go to dinner."

And I am extremely glad we did, and that we went to Farm; this was perfect.

Farm Budapest

Szimpla Kert Budapest
SZIMPLA KERTMOZI - KAZINCZY U 14

After dinner we headed for more drinks at Szimpla Kert, one of the city's infamous "ruin bars." These are bars that have sprouted up in the abandoned (or "bureaucratically in limbo") buildings so prevalent in the Jewish District after the neighborhood was left to rot following the second World War. They are permit-less, illegal... squats, basically. The one above is one of the oldest, grandest, and most well known; from its origins as a squat, it's since moved into a real home and has become a true institution, with a farmer's market chocked full of local produce in the daytime and endless floors packed with locals sipping cheap beers & mixed drinks.

We did not stay long here because on the way to the bar, Alex smashed his head into a huge wooden beam, and then I screamed John Legend's "All of Me" into his ear with drunken abandon for the rest of the walk, so by the time we arrived Alex understandably asked that we leave our half-consumed drinks, that I kindly shut up, and that we call it a night and head home early.

Lessons: 1) if you are a tall person, watch your head and 2) do not date me, I am awful.

NEXT WEEK: Budapest part 3 - fishermans bastion, castle hill & gellert hill at sunset

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