Do you remember when...
You could buy eggs not by the carton but as many as you wanted packed carefully in paper cones?
You could buy milk straight from the milk man in cans?
You could taste real vegetables because they tasted of the soil and not the chemicals that made them so big?
I was fortunate to have all that in my childhood. It is unfortunate it is now just nostalgia for the most part.... But, I am glad to say that a couple of months back I had the opportunity to relive that pure and simple joy in Europe... starting in Budapest!
There was so much old world charm in Budapest. Nestled between the Euro adhering and non-Euro adhering nations, the city literally envelops both sides of the coin in its protectively local approach in food and culture while still being beheld as the up and coming destination for business in Europe.
Budapest has many a face, from history to party city, but I will remember it for the numerous farmers' markets that I literally 'stumbled' upon! Weekend markets that bring the farmer directly in contact with consumer and an opportunity to really get to know the process of farming - produce, meat or dairy. Even the regular markets are so much more farmer friendly than most places I visited on my European sojourn.
Clearly, with such fresh produce, the food is expectedly tasty and I had a wonderful experience engorging authentic Hungarian and other non-Hungarian meals both at my hosts' and around Budapest.
introduced me street foods like
(the best to be had in Szentendre, a small town that makes a great day trip from the city) and my new favorite baked Hungarian item,
Amidst all the sightseeing, we constantly stopped to taste, nibble, eat through the day! It was not at all surprising to run into non-Hungarians even from the US who came, saw and stayed - be it the young Italian duo from Milan who find Budapest a lot more entrepreneur friendly city or the agriculture student from Pennsylvania who chose to work in the Hungarian farms and fell in love with the country!
It is indeed a beautiful city with stunning architecture and gem to walk around in the night on a clear evening with everything aglow! I am one for night beauty, there is a charm in seeing a city by night that is not nearly well-captured by the sun. Looking on the Danube at the stunning view of the elegant Parliament lit up on the opposite shore is indeed a sight to behold.
Walking around the city is indeed a nostalgic experience, juxtaposed between World War II history and new found economic openness and becoming one of the best destinations for night life in Eastern Europe!
It is a place, I want to go again and again and while I definitely am biased by the company, Budapest is indeed an experience worth having many times over!