Exiting the airport and being greeted by a very tall, almost intimidating, bald man, in a perfectly tailored suit, take our bags and escort us to our very own shiny black Mercedes-Benz, while the city was being blanketed by its first snow fall of the season, definitely set our Budapest adventures off on the right foot. First impression, loving it.
After haven spent a week in France for Christmas, Budapest didn’t need to deliver much. Our holiday was already amazing! But, we wanted to go somewhere neither of us had been before, where we knew no one, and cold. We desperately wanted cold! After reading how Budapest was one of the top 5 winter destinations in Europe, and seeing how hotel and air fares were far less expensive than other wintry destinations, we quickly found ourselves booking a trip to Budapest.
Budapest is the 9th largest city in the European Union, ranked the most livable Central or Eastern European city, world’s second best city by Conde Nast Traveler, Europe’s most idyllic place to live by Forbes and the 9th most beautiful city in the world. And… most recently ranked the best place to gain 10 pounds, according to Ken.
If I only shared one thing about this city it would be… arrive in Hungary, hungry! Unlike most European destinations, Budapest offers 3 course gourmet meals for less than a burrito at Chipotle. After a week of roasted chickens, pomme frites, cheeses, galettes, and rich desserts the week prior, I arrived in Hungary already feeling a little… porky, but then someone put a bowl of Hungarian goulash in front of me and it was over. Trip made! It took every ounce of Christmas cheer inside me not to immediately call my mom to express how disappointed I was in her for lying to me. She, making me believe I had had goulash before. I quickly learned I had never had real goulash. Ever. The sub-zero freezing temperatures may have influenced my overall impression of this warm beef and vegetable stew like dish, but still. For the love of paprika in everything…. Budapest, I think I love you.
Incredible architecture, rich history, friendly and courteous locals, picturesque Christmas villages, and beautifully decorated Christmas trees surrounding us at every turn, everyday, all made for a memorable start to 2015.
I leave you with this.
Grilled Cheese, Blueberry-Buttered Loaf, Baked Apple Cream, and Quince Cheese.
[Mom, if you are still reading my blog… the fourth paragraph, 5th sentence was added for entertainment value only. I love your cooking.]