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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Bedtime In Budapest

When we were in Budapest, we stayed in a lovely little flat on the Váci utca, a street which is pedestrian-only. This long, beautiful street is full of shops, cafes, churches, apartment buildings, hotels - to me, it was a delightful encapsulation of all that the city had to offer. The streets were paved in a cobblestone fashion, and there was never a lack of things to see and explore. Facing the southernmost end of the street was the Central Market Hall, the oldest and largest indoor market in Budapest, which first opened in 1897. I can honestly say that I could gladly have gone there every day, and we did go there several times. There are stalls with all varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables, different varieties of meats including wonderful Hungarian salami, paprika, fresh breads, sweets, Hungarian embroidery and other crafts, as well as restaurants, and a full-sized grocery store in the bottom level. It was heavenly. Many locals do go there every day to buy fresh ingredients for their evening meal and perhaps the next day's breakfast. 

Going further north there are shops that carry everything you might possibly need. You could get a sit-down meal or a sandwich, buy sweets or wines and liquor, go to a post office, or buy a purse or t-shirt. One of the delights we experienced just off the Váci utca was Café Gerbeaud. They make and sell delicious foods and chocolates. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I will insert two photos here. One is a BLT that Julie ordered, and what a BLT it is, with thick slices of fresh mozzarella cheese. The other is a Dobosh torte, or Dobos-torta, a traditional Hungarian cake. Multiple layers of sponge cake are filled with chocolate cream, and topped with a layer of caramel. 

There was something very funny and odd that happened on our lovely street in Budapest. Marie and Julie shared one bed, and Liz and I shared another. Because of travel complications, Liz arrived a day after the rest of us, so the first night I had the queen-sized bed to myself. I fell asleep to the sounds of a lovely rainstorm, and slept very well. The next night, however, I was awakened by something pushing on me. Yes, it was my sister, being a world-class bed hog. I tried to be easygoing about the whole situation, but in very short order my face was nearly pushed into the radiator that was between the wall and the bed. 

Suddenly, I was transported back in time to when I was nine years old and Liz and I briefly shared a full-size bed when I was sent to live at Gram's house. I was a scrawny, bony little girl, and Liz was fifteen years old and stocky. Every night, she sprawled all over the bed until I was sleeping on my side, clinging to the very edge of the bed. I had perhaps nine inches of space on the mattress on most occasions. Early one morning, I was awakened as I flew out of the bed and crashed down to the floor. Yes, Liz had literally pushed me out of the bed! And of course when Gram came in to see what had happened, Liz tried to claim it was my fault because I was pushing against her. More like fighting for territory! Soon after that, I had my own room and my own bed, and didn't land on the floor any more.

Having my face up against the radiator as an adult was more than I was willing to handle. I braced myself and pushed back, which of course accomplished absolutely nothing. So I shook Liz until she woke up and said laughingly,  "Hey, we aren't kids any more! This is my bed too! Am I going to have to push you out like you did to me when we were kids? I'm too old to have to get up and run around to get back in on the other side! Quit being pushy!" We had a good chuckle over it, and Liz was more polite about staying on her side of the bed after that. Now, as far as her being "as quiet as possible" when she woke up before the crack of dawn every morning? That's an entirely different story!