Wine and Tea

Ivan, Lil Dave and I went to Gerloczy Café and Restaurant for lunch on November 3, 2011.  Ivan and I shared a pumpkin roll with cheese and vegetables with cod.  Lil Dave got a banana roll and a banana salad.

We walked around.  Ivan found a good teahouse to check out.  We went to Teahaz.  The menu had lots of teas.  Ivan and I chose some flavored black teas while Lil Dave got a banana tea. 

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The tea cups are little bowls, so you have to use both hands to pick them up.  Lil Dave decided to get a banana cake but it didn’t taste like banana at all.  Ivan and I got a raspberry cake to share.

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We walked around the Buda part and I took some pictures.

We walked to Faust Wine Cellar.   It’s a cool wine cellar underground. 

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Ivan and I got to try 4 red wines and 4 white wines.  We ordered a cheese plate as well.  Our sommelier would tell us about the wine before we tasted it.  It was great finding out about the wine and what he thought it tasted like.  I really don’t think it matters though.. if it’s good, it’s good. 

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We got drunk drinking all the wines.  It was a great experience and reasonably priced. 

We walked to a fish restaurant (can’t recall the name).  Ivan and I each had a Hungarian fish soup which was very tasty.

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We walked back to the apartment stuffed.

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Communist Guns

On November 2, 2011, Ivan, Lil Dave and I went to Central Market

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The market has vegetables, fruit, paprika and souvenirs for sale.  Ivan and I shared a cherry strudel.  We didn’t find any exciting souvenirs there.

We walked to get some lunch.  We picked up a trdalnik with nuts this time.  It tastes a lot better with cinnamon.  We also got some French onion soup with rye bread which turned out to be really plain.

We went back to the apartment.  We packed up our stuff and left.

We met a guy at the Jewish Synagogue.  It was the guy renting an apartment through AirBnB.  He was very friendly.  The Antique Apartment is really cool filled with antiques around the apartment.  There was also food like fruit (bananas for Dave!), bread and jam. 

Ivan, Lil Dave and I used the internet. 

We walked to meet at Vörösmarty square for the free Communist tour.  Our tour guide was a woman named Agnes.  She lived through communism in Budapest.  Hungary is now a post communism democracy.

A communist building would have small flats with a small kitchen.  The flats would be like a sauna in the summer and really cold in the winter.  The kids were kept busy with a 6 day a week schedule.  The government didn’t want the people to state their views. 

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These flats go for 250 euros a month now.  That’s expensive especially since the average salary is 500 euros a month.

We saw St. Stephan’s Basilica.  Agnes said that during communism families had to choose between church or career.  Her parents picked church, so they worked in a factory.

When a kid was born… later there was a name giving ceremony, no baptism.  The ceremonies were rather boring.  There was a party with vodka.  At 6 years old, kids had to join the Little Drummers and be an active Communist member.  At 10 years old, they had to join the next movement where they lived to work together. 

They had two passports: a red one where they could go to Communist countries and a blue one for the other countries.  She talked about how her family went to Austria.  They never saw so many bananas.  They would only see bananas at Christmastime since they were imported from South America or North America.  They tried to bring back a bunch of bananas.  But, they were stopped at the border and the bananas were confiscated.  They thought that they would try to sell the bananas.  Lil Dave has a great, great monkey uncle who lived in Budapest during that time.  He was the ringleader of a secret banana shop.  He got bananas from other countries since he had secret connections.

Agnes said communism phased out since it was too expensive to run.  Now that it’s a democracy, it’s a valueless world.  The free education isn’t good.  There’s better education in church schools. 

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We saw a bomb shelter.  It’s never been used and still isn’t used today.  Agnes thought they could use it for the homeless.

The public hospitals are free today, but not really.  Agnes said she refused to pay extra when she had her first baby.  That was a mistake because she got really bad service.  Her second baby, she did pay extra to the doctor and nurses and then got excellent service.

We saw the War Memorial which is right near the U.S. Embassy. 

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I saw a statue of Ronald Reagan.  We saw the Man on the Bridge Memorial which is the man Imre Nagy.  He’s a martyr and prime minister of the Hungarian Revolution in 1956.

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If you walk across the bridge, it represents the journey from communism to democracy.  I didn’t walk across it, but Agnes said that it wasn’t an easy journey since it’s bumpy.

We saw others sites like Parliament and the Eternal Flame.  Agnes says the government keep the alcohol cheap to keep the people happy. 

Our last stop was the ruin pub Instant.  Agnes showed us Communist pictures and her Communist passports.  This was a wonderful interesting walk.  If you would like to learn more about Communist times, I definitely would recommend going on this walking tour.

We walked back to the apartment for a rest. 

Ivan set up something for later tonight, but he was keeping it a surprise.

A cab picked us up at 7 pm.  We drove for 30 minutes.  We arrived at the Celeritas Shooting Club.  It’s an underground bunker in an old Communist building.  There were two Irish couples waiting to do some shooting.  Ivan booked the Shoot ‘Em All package.  The guy who helped us was really nice. 

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He took close-up pictures of Ivan and me shooting. 

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We shot many guns like pistols (beretta, glock, colt 1911A1), revolvers (Smith & Wesson 629 – Dirty Harry, Colt King Cobra & Taurus 941) and rifles (machine gun, AK-47, sniper). 

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It was loud and lots of fun!!  You realize how dangerous guns are… especially since at any time anybody could have killed somebody in that room.

We got a cab to Octagon.  We didn’t see many people doing the pub crawl.  So, we walked to Klassz for dinner.  Ivan and I shared smoked lentil soup, poached egg, fairy ring risotto and goats cheese lasagne.  Lil Dave got banana and chicken soup and banana risotto.  The food was delicious again.

We walked back to the apartment and called it a night.

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Ruin Tour

Ivan, Lil Dave and I went to get food on November 1, 2011 before the free walking tour.  The bread lángos stall wasn’t open yet, so we got a pumpkin seed pretzel.  It was rather tasteless though. 

We went to meet at Vörösmarty square up for the free walking tour.  Our guide was a man named Andrew.  Budapest is divided into two parts: Buda and Pest.  Buda is hilly while Pest is flat. 

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The tour took us to many places like József nádor Square, Erzsébet square, St. Stephen’s Basilica and Matthias Church.  I love walking tours since it covers all the best sites in the city. 

There’s a Lock of Love tree in Erzsébet square. 

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If you love somebody, you put a lock on this tree.  Very cool idea!

We walked up a big hill and got a great view of the city.

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The tour ended near Matthias Church. 

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Our guide told us tips and recommendations for the city.  When you pay for your bill in Budapest, don’t say thank you – because if you say thank you, they will think you don’t want any change back.  Andrew recommended a few ruin bars and bath houses. 

The guide had a R2D2 belt.. I told Ivan anybody with an R2D2 belt is cool with me. I love Star Wars!

We stopped by a lookout that was free right by the Matthias Church.  Ivan and I took a few pictures there.

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Ivan and I walked to the bread lángos stall.  We each got one with cheese on it.

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Lil Dave got cheese and added his bananas on top.  I love these bread lángos!!!  We also got a trdalnik, the sweet pastry, with cinnamon.

We walked back to the apartment.  Ivan used the internet while I worked on the blog.

Later, we walked to Klassz for dinner.  It’s a great restaurant.  Ivan and I shared roasted smoked paprika soup, pumpkin salad, goats cheese lasagne and fairy ring risotto.  Lil Dave got banana soup and a banana lasagne.  The food was quite tasty!

We wanted to do a pub tour, but nobody was really there.  Ivan thought we should try to do it tomorrow instead.

We walked to the ruin pub Instant

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Ruin pubs are old abandoned buildings that have been transformed into cool bars filled with weird art. 

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It was a really quiet night with very few people inside.  There are many rooms including a few bars and a place for live music.  We stayed for a short time since not much was really going on.

Source: Instant bunny art installation picture

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Budapest

On October 31, 2011, Ivan, Lil Dave and I woke up at 7:20 am.  Veronika was the only one at the apartment.  There was lots of food available like toast, eggs and vegetables. 

Veronika walked us to the tram stop and told us what tram to get to the train station.  We said thank you and good-bye to her.  The tram came quickly and we were off to the train station.

We got tickets for Budapest.  We took the train at 8:24 am headed to Budapest, Hungary.  Ivan and I watched the movie Human Centipede II which turned out to be an okay movie.. not good like the first one.  It was gory and gross, but not an interesting story.  We also watched episodes of Pete Versus Life.  The train journey was 4 hours and 11 minutes.

Ivan, Lil Dave and I were all hungry.  Ivan saw a stall selling bread lángos.  It’s a bread covered with cheese or other things like pork.  We each got one with cheese.  Lil Dave added his own bananas on top.  They tasted sooo good!

We walked to the apartment we rented through AirBnB.  We met up with the guy who rents it out. 

Ivan used the internet while I worked on the blog. 

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We walked around Budapest for awhile.  I was checking out the souvenir shops.

Ivan and I got a hot mulled wine.  It definitely warms you up and tastes great!

We went to the Greek restaurant Taverna DIonysos for dinner. 

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Ivan and I shared eggplant salad, spinach strudel, lentil soup, smoked fish filet and sole with cheese.  Lil Dave got a banana salad,  banana soup and banana strudel.  The food was delicious!!

We walked around some more.  We saw people dressed up in the square for Halloween.  Not much going on there though.

We walked back to the apartment.  Ivan and I used the internet and later I worked on the blog.

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