21 December - The Sun Will Rise

Unlike yesterday, both of us got a slower start this morning.  Crystal bought six tickets for the Legenda boat cruise this afternoon.  Justin went through the World Cup videos he’d taken, picked out the best clips, and then combined them into a movie he produced.  We eventually got ready and left around 10:00, just wandering south through town.  Near the hotel was an area that we weren’t familiar with, the Gozsdu weekend market.  It was one full block of a covered market, with restaurants and bars on either side for the entire block.  Even at 10:00 a lot of the cafes had a lot of patrons; we can’t fathom what it must be like at night and on weekends.

We went past the synagogue, noticing there were security cameras everywhere.  We headed over to Csendes, a “ruin bar” that Crystal had found when researching interesting bars and restaurants in the hotel room this morning.  We saw they opened fairly early, around 14:00, and we wanted to check it out when we walked past.  There was a sign on a plant outside that read “the sun will rise and you will try again.”  If that was simply coincidental, it was quite the coincidence.  The butcher shop that we wanted to eat at, Belvárosi Disznótoros, wasn’t open yet, so we kept walking around the neighborhood.  [In hindsight, we think we’d checked the hours for the other of their two locations.]  We ended up at a place called Central Grand Cafe and Bar, a big place with a high ceiling, large chandeliers, etc.  It reminded us of the Hotel Sacher Bar in Vienna.  

We met the other four in our group at the Central Market.  The market, while touristy, is still a legit local market with lots of people clearly doing their daily or weekly shopping there.  We perused the market for about 45 minutes, then headed out.  Dewey and Clarita headed back to the hotel, and we went with Heidi and Tom over to Belvárosi Disznótoros, which was now open.  Coincidentally, Tom had wanted to go there as well, based on some YouTuber he’d been watching recently.  Heidi and Tom got two different sausages, and we did as well.  One looked like a kielbasa, and the other one was similar to a boudin-type sausage, with rice inside.  Crystal also got a duck leg, and we split some potato chips.

The four of us then proceeded to head north to a strudel place near Cafe Kor, Első Pesti Rétesház.  This was another place Tom had found watching some YouTube videos.  For once, it was nice to be the followers and not the leaders, letting others do the diligence and leading the way.  We got some tasty strudels and palinkas there, and then split off, as Heidi hadn’t slept well the night before and she wanted to rest.  The two of us then headed back south again, to Csendes, which was now open.

They had an extensive and eclectic menu, and it took a while to decide.  Once we decided, we had to order again, as they’d run out of tequila and couldn’t make any of the drinks with tequila.  Crystal ordered a lavender Collins, and Justin ordered something called a Brockmans.  For our second round Crystal ordered the same thing, and Justin ordered something with blood orange gin, simple syrup, and fizzy water.  The walls were littered with little notes everywhere, including one from two friends from France that had traveled together and one that had a Spanish phrase we weren’t familiar with, “Se lo pasaron bomba” - “they had a blast.”  Our “seats” were hunks of bathtubs, with a cushion over the porcelain.  They weren’t the most comfortable, or the easiest to get in and out of.

We met the other four members of the group at 16:15 at dock 7, in front of the Marriott, to get on the river cruise.  Everyone had come from different places, but we all converged at basically the same time.  Even though the cruise wasn’t set to leave until 16:30, they let us get on early.  Crystal, Heidi, and their parents sat inside.  Justin and Tom went outside, expecting to come back in when it got too cold.  But it never did, so they chatted about Hungarian real estate and high ceilings whilst watching all the scenery go by.  They each ordered champagne for their drinks, and then at toasting joked about their romantic evening together.  Inside, everyone else was listening to the audio and watching the video about the history and other facts about Budapest and the notable buildings.  For example, the person who designed the Parliament building also designed the Rathaus in Vienna.  Moreover, Buda Castle actually was used as a castle (Tom and Justin had wondered about this, not listening to the audio outside).

When the cruise was over, Dewey and Clarita went back to the hotel, Heidi and Tom meandered around the Vorosmarty Christmas Market, and we went back to the hotel (separately), but just before arriving, we noticed Boutiq Bar was open.  It was theoretically open only Thursday through Sunday, so we hadn’t expected to be able to visit this year.  Justin went in and sat down and ordered a round whilst Crystal went back to the room.  When she got back, we ordered another round, then shortly before 19:00 we headed over to Aszu to meet everyone else.

We’d attempted to eat at Aszu last year, but it was completely full, which is how we ended up at Cafe Kor.  So this year we made reservations…at both.  Dewey and Clarita had already been seated, and Heidi and Tom were about two minutes behind us.  The dining room was much bigger than Cafe Kor, and it was a bit brighter as well.  The table split some smoked trout tartare and some goose liver pate.  Crystal ordered a mangalica pork shoulder; Justin, Heidi, and Dewey all ordered Ox; Tom ordered duck (not crispy); and Clarita ordered the deer.  Everything was very good, but Crystal’s was the best.  The Cabernet Franc was pretty good, we went through three bottles of it.  We finished with a round of palinka.

We walked back to the hotel, and caught the second elevator again, this time with Heidi.  We took her down the street to Boutiq Bar so that she could try the Space Zombie.  We thought she’d like it because the Space Zombie is made with Whiskey (or maybe Bourbon?), not Rum.  Crystal got a señorita margarita, and Justin got some spicy mezcal drink that wasn’t on the menu but should’ve been - it was phenomenal.  We heard about Heidi’s trip to Cancun over Thanksgiving, and what Heidi and Tom did when they were in Naples just prior to meeting us in Budapest.  We hadn’t realized that they had spent one night in Rome, our first night there, so we actually could have met up in Rome.  Well, whatever, we were together now.  We got back to the hotel a little after 23:00 and went straight to bed.

Previous Entry
Next Entry