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First Days

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We arrived in Budapest mid afternoon of January 14. Light snow but quick trip by taxi to our apartment in District XIII where we were met by Dora, who works with our program, and David, who manages our apartment rentals for the program. The evening photograph below is from our first night. So amazing to look out at the Danube — a large bay window in the bedroom and french doors to a small balcony off the living room — and across to Margit Island. Boat and barge traffic has kept us glued to the windows for the first couple of days as we regulate our bodies to Budapest time.

Our part of District XIII is residential with mostly Bauhaus apartment buildings — including ours– facing the river. An architectural museum of the style.

http://www.budapestarchitect.com/text/bauhaus/bauhausoverzicht_en.php#.UPmA3aW5dSU

I’ll do a photographic study of the area soon since the facades are so beautiful in their simplicity and ornamentation. One street back is a tree-lined street, Pozsonyi ut, with interesting shops, a nice grocery, an excellent produce shop, and many neighborhood restaurants. We are a short walk to the 4/6 Tram Stop at Margaret Bridge and the #2 Tram that is often called the most beautiful tram ride in Europe because it runs along the river with mostly unobstructed views.

We’ve spent some time exploring our neighborhood and getting things organized at Corvinus for the start of the semester.

I’ll write a lot about food in this blog so lets begin: We had an early dinner at Pozsonyi Kisvendéglő Radnóti Miklós St 38 on Tuesday. It is less than a block from the apartment, a traditional neighborhood restaurant with gargantuan proportions of traditional Hungarian dishes for unbelievably cheap prices. We had appetizers and entrees plus a decent bottle of wine for about $35 US total. The appetizers would have been a substantial meal by themselves, with the Hortobagy pancakes(with minced meat and sour cream) worth a trip by itself. Angela’s chicken cutlet with potatoes were tasty and tender and could serve three; and my roast “pork bits” with sour cabbage and potatoes were yummy and substantial. The place itself is old world with dark wood booths, red checkered cloths on tables, friendly service, and lots of locals — apparently regulars — and reserved tables. It will definitely be a regular spot for us but we already learned to order half as much next time.

I cooked dinner Wednesday and Thursday evening — the kitchen is small but adequate. We have good markets close by but this weekend I’ll shop at the Central Market!!

It was sunny yesterday but grey with light snow off and on today. We stayed in, getting ourselves organized while watching the river.

We did get out for a late lunch/early dinner though, to another neighborhood restaurant two blocks away: Kiskakukk Etterem http://www.kiskakukk.hu/index.nof?o=0&k1=11&nyelvid=2

The restaurant dates to the early 1900s but nicely renovated recently preserving its old world feel — high ceilings, large windows, dark oak paneling, cream colored walls, old photographs of Budapest and some tapestries, old wooden tables etc. A very nice atmosphere. The food is typically Hungarian but slightly lighter/upscale than usual. Service was friendly and nicely paced. I had game soup and crispy goose leg with stewed red cabbage and wonderful onion-mashed potatoes. Yummm. Goose leg is my favorite Hungarian dish and this one was worthy. Angela’s crispy duck breast turned out to be half a duck — way more than we both could handle — and though a tad dry it was very good and she especially like the onion-mashed potatoes. This will be a place to take friends. Also relatively inexpensive: our entree were $11.50 US each.

Our students begin arriving this evening so I will head to the airport to meeting them shortly.

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