Rock the paprikash-ba

I had to have chicken paprikash at least one more time before leaving Hungary. Giving up on the ruin bar search, I popped into Otkert, a reasonable-looking restaurant near St. Stephan’s Basilica. I ordered a big beer and the chicken paprikash, of course. While it was a lot more Metro-looking and fancier than other paprikashes…

Funiculate (v.) – to ride a funicular

Perhaps that word might be in the world’s weirdest English dictionary, but since I’m a language arts teacher, I always tell my students that I have earned the right to make up words, as long as they make sense. My other personal favorite is “splendicular” – a combination of splendid and spectacular, reserved only for…

The pheasantry and rainbows

There is a value in taking trains. The U.S. just can’t figure out trains, but Europe has a monopoly on amazing train rides. I saw long-tailed pheasants racing alongside the tracks, aiming to hide in the brush. I don’t know why I got so excited about pheasants, but I did. You just don’t see them…

Why not wander into some strange caverns?

It was a very cold day, and I was woefully unprepared for it. The weather forecast before leaving Shanghai had been in the optimistic high 50s and low 60s, without much rain. Instead, I got high 30s and low 40s and many days of expected rain. Eger, once the sunshine had fled, was in the…

Up to the castle ramparts before it rains

The jaunt up Kossuth Lajos Utca was a sunny one, cheerful, and beautiful. Honestly, Eger is a gorgeous little city, especially when you come up to the Eger Stream, which moves winsomely through the old(er) sections of town. Just near the castle and the stream is the lovely Marjan Cukraszda, a cafe with dessert-full cases…

Give me a map and a one street town and I’ll still get lost

Eger, Hungary, is known for it’s red wine production, notably the Bull’s Blood  variety. It’s a dark, rich, gorgeous wine. I embarked early again, nearly forgetting to set my alarm properly to be up at dawn’s first light, and tucked my feet into plastic bags as I was woefully short of rain boots and it…

Veni. Vidi. Paprika.

I’m pretty sure those were Julius Caesar’s immortal words right there. However, the Pick Salami and Paprika Museum didn’t open up until 3 PM, so I still had a substantial amount of time to kill in Szeged. Now I had a very full belly and a map that I always end up reading backwards. I…

Rain, a Hungarian train, and I need some coffee

I became a fan of Xinjiang spices in Xi’An, kampot pepper in Cambodia, fresh-off-the-tree cinnamon in Sri Lanka, and eye-watering Thai chili peppers in Bangkok – of course, I had to visit the home of Hungarian paprika.

One last stop before I’m done

The Dohany Street Great Synagogue was near my hotel, so it was my last stop on my trip into the past. It had started to rain pretty well, but we were shepherded inside the great synagogue and out of the rain. Our tour began promptly, with a historical introduction to the religious house. The Synagogue…

A heavy shadow moves in and stays

From the Holocaust Museum, I made my way around the city from Line 3 to Line 1 and found myself back at the Terror House, which had a sizable line and wait time. I waited for about 40-45 minutes to be let in, as the amount of people inside were carefully controlled. I appreciated this,…

Confronting the darkness

Tuesday was the museum day. I’d dedicated this day to exploring the WWII and Soviet-era history of Budapest. I decided on a route that would take me to the Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Terror House, and the Old Synagogue and Holocaust Memorial Garden. It was not going to be a day of sunshine and happiness,…

Is this where the Phantom of the Opera happened?

Err…no. But we’ll get to that in a bit. After a quick stop for a latte and almond cake at Eco Cafe (along with taking nearly all their change because I have no small bills), I continued along the elegant avenue toward the Octagon, a large intersection of Budapest’s main roads. It’s all globalization here,…