Travelogue – Budapest, Hungary

We took an early morning train from Vienna and in 2.5 hours arrived in Budapest.  We stayed at the Kapital Inn which is #1 on Trip Advisor for a reason!  Owners Paul and Albert were so helpful from the minute we booked our stay, recommending restaurants, helping us with reservations and giving us the full rundown upon arrival (including carrying our bags with 14 bottles of wine up 4 flights of stairs!). 

The B&B is 2 blocks from the House of Terror museum so we made that our first stop.  What a fabulous museum, I seriously had no idea the history of Hungary and what they went through first with the Nazis and then with the Soviet Communists.  These two parties subjected hundreds of people to torture in the very building in which the museum is housed.  We supplemented the written explanations with Rick Steve’s guided tour in his Budapest guidebook.  It’s a heavy subject but absolutely fascinating.  
Our next stop was the Great Synagogue, the second largest Synagogue in the world (the first is in NYC!).  We lucked out and arrived just in time for the last tour of the day at 3pm (Synagogue closes at 4pm and is closed on Saturdays).  We had a really wonderful tour guide who also shared bits of history of the ghetto surrounding the synagogue during WWII.  
After two very deep cultural experiences, we were starved!  We headed to the Great Market Hall and browsed the stalls before deciding on two traditional Hungarian dishes:  a lángos (fried dough with toppings) and a cabbage roll.  

We then strolled back towards the main downtown, passed the Opera house and explored a few Christmas markets as well as a stop inside the Four Seasons Gresham Palace, a beautifully restored art nouveau building and historical landmark.
We made our way down to the river for a Danube cocktail cruise.  It was really fun to do at night to see all of the landmarks lit up.   Your ticket includes 2 drinks, some cheesy but interesting commentary and history and if you mention Rick Steve’s there’s a 15% discount! 

Upon docking we ventured to dinner at Innio, they have a casual bar side of the restaurant with a limited menu of snacks as well as a more formal restaurant side with the option of a tasting menu.  The food was all very creative and tasty and they had a nice selection of wines by the glass to pair back to the meal.  
Eggplant and mackerel to start.

Decomposed goulash.
Turbot and quail for our mains.  It was Thanksgiving back in the states so we laughed at the similarity in miniature size to a turkey!

I went to the bathroom when they brought us this last bite and Jared pretended he couldn’t remember what it was.  I tried it and it was delicious but couldn’t put my finger on what it was…..turns out it was foie gras mousse covered in chocolate and almonds!  
Day 2 we headed out to Tokaji for a full day of wine tasting, post coming soon!
Our last full day we spent hiking up the Buda side of town to the castle.  But first, we enjoyed Paul’s delicious omelets and coffee for breakfast!  
It was so foggy we didn’t have much of a view but the buildings were beautiful.  We circled back through Parliament, “antique row” and another Christmas market where we sampled some local delicacies.  

We hit the famous Széchenyi baths for a relaxing sauna and soak before dinner.  It was quite an experience!
For our last dinner we went to Fricska where a daily menu is written on a chalkboard and they have several Hungarian wines by the glass (although we weren’t sure it was the 128 they claim to have!)
Our waiter claimed the goulash was “unforgettable” and he was absolutely right!

Such a unique and different city, full of culture, wine and food, the trifecta!
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