Saturday, December 28, 2013


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Wishing you a wonderful 2014

Mid-night on New Year's Eve is a moment that we should close our eyes and think of all the beneficial things we wish and want for us, our families and friends on the New Year that is starting.
So, mid-night I want to wish you "ALL" not just abundance in healthy, protection, money and lots of it but happiness in to the heart.
It is the Happiness, the unforgettable moments that we live, the only thing we take with us. Don't you agree?
Happy New Year


Places to go in Budapest, Hungary

You won't run out of things to do in Budapest. It is filled with lively restaurants, fascinating museums, exciting people and lots of shopping to distract you. Take a dip in one of the city's famous baths; savor the local cuisine; check out some of the cool, funky shops featuring homegrown designs; walk across the Chain Bridge or just sit, relax and people-watch at one of the great downtown cafes.

Chain Bridge

The Chain Bridge became one of the best known landmarks of Budapest. The bridge straddles the Danube between Széchenyi Square on the Pest side and Clark Ádám Square in Buda.
It offers one of the city's most beautiful views with the mighty Danube flowing below you, it is beautiful.
The Chain Bridge was the first permanent stone-bridge connecting Pest and Buda, and only the second permanent crossing on the whole length of the river Danube. It is one of the symbolic buildings of Budapest, the most widely known bridge of the Hungarian Capital.

This union of cities makes it one of the most symbolic buildings of Budapest; hence, it is the most widely known bridge of all of Hungary. Proposed by Count István Széchenyi, one of the leading figures in 18th century Hungary, work began in 1839.

An English engineer, William Tierney Clark prepared the plans and a Scottish engineer, Adam Clark, supervised the construction over the next ten years. At the Buda end of the bridge, the Place has been named for Adam Clark.

Gellert Hill 

After you have explored the Chain Bridge, take a walk further back in time as you stroll up to the top of "Gellert Hill" for a wonderful view of Budapest. Named after a Catholic missionary bishop who was invited to Hungary around 1000 AD to help convert Hungarians to Christianity; but was killed on the hill as pagans who didn't want to convert, rolled him down the hill in a wooden barrel. As you can see from the photo, it wasn't a short trip down that hill. Today, a St. Gellert monument and its fountain representing his martyrdom can be found on the Northeastern slope of the hill facing the Elisabeth bridge.

The Citadel

While you view Gellert Hill and its fountains, be sure to visit the Citadel, built in 1851 by the Habsbergs to demonstrate their control of the Hungarians and The mighty Danube. Equipped with 60 cannons, it was used as threat rather than a working fortification. After the reconciliation with the Habsburgs the Hungarians wanted to demolish the buildings; but, it remained and was converted to a tourist center in the 20th Century. There you will find amazing displays of the history of Hungary and Budapest.

Budapest's Parliament Building

My EU readers should  bring your passport for a free tour of Budapest's Parliament Building.
Guided tours of the Parliament are available when the National Assembly is not in session and takes 45 minutes. In addition to the history, the tour guide will address the architectural elements such as the main entrance, stairs, hall, lobbies, the old House of Lords as well as the  the Hungarian Crown Jewels (see below). Tours are held in several languages. Admission is HUF 1,750 for EU citizens (HUF 3,500 for non-EU citizens), and the ticket office is at gate "X". That is approximately $16.00 using current conversion.
Budapest ParliamentSome of the best views of the Parliament are not up close, but from the Danube (take a Danube cruise) or from across the river, especially from Batthyány Square, which is only one stop by subway from Kossuth square on the M2 line.

The Holy Crown

Here is a little travel secret!
The US was a protector of the Hungarian Crown Jewels for the people of Hungary. They had a history of being lost or stolen many times. However, after World War II, they were transported to Western Europe and eventually given to the American Army for safekeeping from the Soviet Union. For much of the Cold War, the Crown Jewels were held at the United States Bullion Depository (Fort Knox, Kentucky) alongside the bulk of America's gold reserves. They were eventually returned to Hungary under the presidency of Jimmy Carter in 1978.

St. Stephen's Basilica

St.Stephen's Basilica is the largest church in Budapest. It's free to enter the church and there is only a nominal fee of HUF 500 to go up to the observation deck.

The building was planned and built in 1851 by József Hild in classical style and continued by Miklós Ybl, who added a neo-renaissance taste to the original concepts. The inner layout and the completion of the building in 1905 is the work of József Krausz. Famous Hungarian painters and sculptors decorated the inner side, using 50 different types of marble.

The statue of the basilica's patron saint can be seen on the high altar. Papal sanction was required to display the statue of the Hungarian King who led his people to Christianity.

At the bottom of the left tower, you will find an elevator which will take you up to the top of the tower where you can see a beautiful panorama of the city.

The Chapel of the Holy Right is behind the sanctuary, where the right hand of the first Hungarian King, St. Stephen is held in a delicately ornate reliquary.

The square in front of the church became a beautiful pedestrian area with some cafes and benches to sit on.

"Margaret Island"

If you want an outdoor activity, try Margaret Island. Located on a 2,5 km-long central Island on the Danube, the historical Margaret Island is a special landmark of Budapest. All motorized vehicles, except public buses and taxis are prohibited. This helps to create a tranquil space in the center of Budapest. In addition to flowing vistas, Margaret Island hosts:
  • An outdoor summer thermal spa
  • A professional swimming pool where the Olympic champion water polo team trains
  • A small wildlife park which is great for families
  • The ruins of a 13th century Dominican cloister
  • A Japanese garden with sunbathing turtles,
  • A 5 km-long jogging circle along the sides of the island
  • Several nice restaurants
  • Two luxury thermal hotels
  • A rose garden. 

Whether cycling, picnicking, jogging, or just lounging around, citizens of Budapest appreciate the car-free and oxygen-rich environment. When the weather is hot, scores of people lay around the biggest fountain of Budapest, which plays pleasant music every 30 minutes. The island is bordered by the Margaret Bridge from the south, and by Budapest's longest bridge, the Árpád Bridge from the north. It is a must see.

"City Park"

Városliget (City Park) is a public park in Budapest close to the city centre. Its main entrance is Heroes' Square (Hősök tere), one of Hungary's World Heritage sites.The area was formerly called Ökör-dűlő, meaning "Oxmeadow". Originally developed in 1751 and opened to the public in the early 1800's, Városliget (City Park) was accepted as the name and it became the first public park in the world. City Park was the main venue of the 1896 millennium celebrations of Hungary, by which time Andrássy Avenue, Millennium Underground and the Grand Boulevard were built. 

"Dagaly Bath"
This world famous Bath first opened in 1948. Later, in 1956 it  was expanded with a 50 m swimming pool. Its water base at that time was provided by a well bored in 1944, which finally secured the efficient use of the thermal waters found under the bed of the Danube. In 1970, the water of the Széchenyi Thermal Bath was directed to Dagály Bath, thus raising it to the status of a thermal baths.

In addition to the pools and baths, Dagály has provided a full range of medical services to its guests ever since the 1970's. The 25 m long swimming pool, with its support systems, was opened in 1983. At the moment, there are 10 pools of various forms and temperatures in the facility's pleasant, picturesque surroundings.

In 2000, thew baths began an upgrade program to modernize and add newer amenities to the public. The 2 large-sized thermal sitting pools situated o­n the territory of the Bath were transformed into 4 up-to-date pools and equipped with modernized water filtering and circulation devices. Today, they are used as:
  • Children's pool
  • Thermal sitting pool
  • Fancy pool
  • Teaching pool
The fancy pool offers a wide variety of facilities to the public, a whirling corridor, an effervescent bed, a whirlpool, neck showers, geysers, splashing sunbathing.

In the summer of 2002, the mushroom pool and the kidney-shaped pool were renovated, and the latter was equipped with a wave-making machine that produced individual concentric waves simulating the roar of the sea.

If you have never been to a thermal pool, this one is an experience beyond compare.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Food in Hungary

For a century or more, Hungarian food, has evolved from the influence of Middle Eastern influence and Western European influence. Recipes were adapted to suit local tastes, giving them a Hungarian uniqueness. They love meat and eat a lot of pork, chicken, and beef, in that order. You will also find some fish on the menu. Hungarian dishes are usually heavy, fatty, and loaded with Paprika.  However, the rich flavor and aroma may tempt you to forget your diet and enjoy all that Hungary has to offer.

Jókai bean soup with smoked pork knuckles
You will find that this is a very popular soup in Hungary and available almost everywhere soup is served. It is a hearty, winter soup, thick & spicy with full flavor. Perfect for chilly Hungarian days.

Cold cherry soup
Several versions of cold cherry soup originated in Poland & Hungary. It consists of sour cherries and a lot of sugar, combined with sour cream and heavy cream - sometimes thickened with flour.

Main dishes
Chicken Paprika (Paprikas csirke)
Paprikás csirke (pronounced “paprikash cheerke”) is a popular Hungarian dish. As you guessed, it is traditionally made with chicken and uses a large amount of paprika in the sauce. It is usually eaten with galuska (spaetzle), and a cucumber salad with sweet-and-sour dressing Sometimes you will find this dish with veal as well.

Stuffed Cabbage
Stuff cabbage is a traditional dish in Poland, Russia, and Hungary. However the Hungarian version is more aromatic because of the spices while Northern versions tend to be sweetened with brown sugar.

I recommend you try the Hungarian version, it is wonderful.

Goose liver
It probably will come as a surprise to learn that Hungary is the biggest exporter of goose & duck liver in the world, exporting over 1,920 tons in 2005.

So you would expect Hungary to have several wonderful goose liver dishes. Well, you wont be disappointed. When prepared as a hot dish, goose liver uses black pepper, paprika and salt. When served cold it is often  an ingredient in pates and terrines. Hungarian Foie gras also can be flavored with truffles, prunes, or liqueurs with sweet fruits like figs or grapes, caramelized onions, onion jam, or Tokaji wine jelly served as accompaniments.

If you are especially interested Hungarian goose liver, you may enjoy the Goose Liver Festival held every September in Budapest. This year, it was at Buda Castle and featured many goose liver delicacies.

Gundel Crepe (Gundel palacsinta)
I do not know about you but I could go for this desert in a second, it not just looks beautiful  but tastes amazing! It is a chocolate-covered crêpe with a filling of rum, raisins, and walnuts. It is often flambéed after it is brought to your table. The Gundel palacsinta (crêpe) originates from the Gundel restaurant in Budapest, Hungary.

This is an impressive dessert.

Somló sponge cake (Somlói galuska)
Somloi galuska literally means "dumplings from Somlo." As you can see from the photo at the right, it is made with three different types of sponge cake, in addition it has vanilla pastry cream, raisins, and walnuts. It is traditionally scooped onto a dessert plate in round, dumpling-like balls and garnished with chocolate rum sauce and whipped cream.

Cottage cheese dumplings Túró gombóc)
The Hungarian cottage cheese has a special slightly sour flavour and a grainy consistency.  Made with balls of cottage cheese balls that are coated with toasted breadcrumbs and then served with sour cream and powdered sugar.

If you are a fan of not to sweet desserts, cottage cheese dumplings are simply heaven.

So, have a great time eating your way through Hungary! The food is delicious and unique.