Less than two hours after we set off from Vienna we were in Slovakia for our first stop of the day, Bratislava. After admiring the hazy views of the city from Bratislava Castle, we headed down into the city to explore the Old Town. Our tour guide gave the challenge of finding the different bronze statues scattered around the centre of the city and we managed to find a couple including Cumil, the most well-known one. We then had time for a slice of cake and coffee from a little cafe before it was back on the bus and onto Budapest.
Arriving in Budapest, we drove up to the top of Gellart Hill to check out the views of the city and the Danube River which separates Buda and Pest. From here we had a driving tour of the city which took us down Andrássy út, the main boulevard of the city, past the Hungarian Opera House, the House of Terrors and Heroes Square. Then it was back over the river to the Fisherman’s Bastion and view of Parliament House. Dinner that night was at Fatal Restaurant, where I had the Roast Goose Leg with Knodel (Special Dumpling) and Red Cabbage.As we were staying in the city with no early bus call, I had a chance to sleep in the next day which I definitely needed. When I finally woke up around 10am, the flu that my immune system had been trying so hard to beat had finally won and I felt terrible. Not wanting to waste my day in Budapest and my friends already having left to explore the city, I decided to soldier on alone. Having missed breakfast in the hostel, I grabbed a fruit bun from a bakery as I walked up to the House of Terror, an old soviet building that now serves as a communism museum. Managed to make it around the entire exhibit but by now I was really not feeling very well at all. While I wanted to wander further up Andrássy út to Heroes Square and City Park, I made the sensible yet heartbreaking decision to head back to the hostel. Something about walking around a foreign city by yourself, while feeling lightheaded and dizzy, didn’t seem like a good idea. So I went back and slept for a solid 4 hours before my friends came home and we went and got dinner at a restaurant down a little laneway across from the hostel.
I considered attempting to roast a goose leg for my re-creation meal back home but after some research online, I struggled to find anywhere relatively close to me where I could buy goose. So I settled with the Hungarian speciality of Goulash. While it is usually served as a stew in the rest of the world, a traditional goulash is more soup like so that is what I prepared. I used beef shanks which I diced and included the bone in the pot while cooking to enhance the beef flavour.
I didn’t get the chance to sample any Hungarian treats while I was over there so I did a little research before selecting my choice. While there were many to choose from, I decided on Aranygaluska which translates to Golden Dumplings. These yeast dough based dumplings are dipped in melted butter and coated in sugar and walnut crumbs before being stacked together into a pan, baked until golden brown and served with custard. It’s similar to the American “Monkey Bread”, which I’ve made before, but the addition of the walnuts brings a whole nother dimension of flavour.