Monday, June 30, 2014

Budapest part 1

I'm currently blogging from Budapest, Hungary.  But this isn't any ordinary vacation.  I'm here for Peter's sister, Anne's wedding.  I got here on Saturday and I leave on Sunday.  I was lucky enough to have visited Budapest before with my family, but I didn't appreciate, so this is Round Two and I'm loving it. 

Let's start with the prospect of being vegan in Hungary.  There is basically nothing.  About 95% of the dishes feature meat heavily and if they don't the main component of the meal is grilled cheese.  Other than that, there is the celery in my Bloody Mary and a variety of pickled vegetables.  I'm a little ashamed to admit it, but I caved and I commenced vegetarian mode.  I'm with about half of Peter's entire extended family so it's not like I can be like, can we please go somewhere that serves vegan food.  Yes, I could have ordered the grilled veggies without the grilled cheese on top, but I'm on vacation and I decided to go a little crazy.  Peter ate most of the cheese though.  He's basically vegetarian now, which I'm really proud of/psyched about.   

Grilled vegetables and mozzarella
However, when I'm not eating out with Peter's family, I explore my vegan options.  I bought the HappyCow app for my phone and I've looked around at what's nearby.  Today Peter and I ate lunch at Thai Wok, which is my favorite kind of place.  Where you basically build your meal by choosing the base (I chose rice noodles), your add-ons (I chose tofu and mixed vegetables) and your sauce (I chose pad thai sauce, which I made sure did not have fish sauce in it).   If you go there, make sure that you ask for no eggs in your noodles because I made that mistake.  It wasn't listed in the description, but it was in there... I considered sending it back but I didn't.  I also got the Pad Tea and it was phenomenal.  

But this blog post isn't about how I screwed up at being vegan, it's about my trip to Budapest!  The first night we had a traditional Hungarian meal (I had the grilled veggies which I showed above) and then Peter, his sister Jackie, his brother Kevin, cousin Ian and I went out to explore Budapest.  We ended up riding a giant ferris wheel which is very similar to the London eye, just smaller. 

Then on Sunday we all slept in and then met up at the Hard Rock where I had my first Bloody Mary ever.  Something about tomato juice just always turned me off, but it was so so tasty.  I had a normal one and a spicy one and ooooooo boy I will be having more of those in the future!!

Then we went and ate lunch and walked down this long street with people selling old things and things that they have made.  I am trying to be fiscally conservative on this trip so I didn't buy nything but a few things caught my eye, like this one Soviet Union-era hat and a flask and some "energy crystals", but let's be honest I do not need an energy crystal.  We also found this random old car show with a bunch of cars and motorcycles.  Peter was super excited about it. 

1998 Lotus (I have no idea the significance of this)
Then Peter and I walked along the water, where I was STUNG BY A BEE.  It hurt so terribly.  This was only the second time that I was stung by a bee and I'm not going to lie, I cried.  THEN Peter and I stumbled upon a beer festival, where we killed about two hours waiting for dinner.  It's crazy being in a city where there are so many things to do!
Then we met up with everyone for dinner in a boat/restaurant on the water.  Peter and I communally ate a Greek salad, stuffed shells, gnocchi in a parmesan cream sauce with porcini mushrooms and spinach and this thing that was basically lasagna but instead of noodles, there were potatoes.  The view was so beautiful and by the end of dinner I was no longer terrified by all of Peter's relatives. 
Then we went back to the hotel for sleeeeeps.  This morning we slept in again.  Peter and I ate at Thai Wok and then met up with everyone.  It's his brother's birthday, so we went and did this cool Trap thing where they basically lock you in a room for an hour and you have to solve a series of riddles and use random props in the room to get out.  The guide (for us it was Robert) can see you and hear you to help you if you need a hint or an idea.  We definitely utilized Robert but I think we did a pretty good job getting out of it.  We finished right before our hour was up.  We were in the medieval room.  There was also an Egyptian room that looked preeeetty cool.  You can learn more about the Trap thing HERE.  I would definitely recommend it to anyone visiting Budapest.  It's only an hour and it's really fun!

So far I am LOVING Budapest.  If I was here by myself I would probably try harder to find vegan options, but it's not my priority.  But I'm having the time of my life right now.  I've been keeping up with the World Cup religiously and I am super duper excited to watch Team USA play tomorrow night!! Italy is out but it's whatever.  I think this is the year for a non-European team to win but it will probably end up being Germany or The Netherlands. 

I'll post more as the trip goes on!!

ciao ciao! - Katelyn

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