Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Nagy Vásárcsarnok - the central market hall

This is the central market across the Szabadság Bridge (Freedom bridge) on the Pest side. I went to buy some Asian ingredients. This is one of the few places you can find things like oyster sauce, Asian noodles, lemon grass, different rices, etc. But you can also find things like sertés-és marhahús (pork and beef meat) and zöldség es gyümölcs (vegetables and fruits). And paprikas, of course. 

 And Pick salami.

And füstöltáru (smoked goods)- like somehow you need a whole store for smoked things other than Pick salami. 

And eggs. Don't forget the peppers  to grind your own paprikas. (hanging from the ceiling)

I had a lovely time, and flirted with the butcher. I definitely have a thing for burly guys in white aprons holding a meat cleaver...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

It's a dzsungel out there!

Jack and I were walking around downtown Budapest this weekend when Nate was away in Istanbul.  Here's a place I liked- I like the idea of having some guy that looks like a Greek god over the window.

DZS is a letter in Hungarian; it comes after the letter "DZ" (of course) and right before the letter E. It makes the sound of the letter "J". Étterem is the Hungarian word for restaurant, so this place is the crazy cafe and "jungle" restaurant. 

Here's the Nyugati pályaudvar- the railway station. Lots of pickpockets here, or so I'm told. Someone from school who is the consul at the embassy said that he sees LOTS of young tourist who "lost" their passports right after they got off the train at Nyugati; it was just in their back pocket, and then-- gone. 

This is the Szabadság híd (freedom bridge). Jack drew a beautiful map of Budapest, including all the bridges he knows. This is his favorite. He loves the Erzsébet híd as well, the Elizabeth Bridge. And when Liz and Nate were here, we all called her Erzsébet. At first, I don't think she liked it, but by the end of the week, she loved being Erzsébet.  No good pictures of the bridge though- will try next week.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Advertising, Hungarian Style

I really love the signs outside of shops in Hungary.  Here are some favorites.
This one for (obviously) ladies' shoes. (cipők)
This is another shoe store, featuring this brand of kid's shoes.

I think this one was a tea and tobacco shop, although it was Sunday and closed up tight, so we didn't go in to look around.

And I love the needle and scissors for the tailor shop. Women's and Men's clothes.

Here's a beautiful dragon for the Pet store. 

This one is in the Buda castle district; can't remember what they sell here (I took this in October). But I liked it- will have to check.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Rant about the Hungarian Postal Service

Thieves!! Thieves, I say!
Also, even the ones who are not thieves are incompetent and unprofessional.
My sister in law sent me a birthday package. They opened the package, opened all the cards inside, and stole the gift card.
My mother sent me a birthday present; it showed up trashed and a month late. No money in it to steal, luckily.

I will post pictures- and I would name names, if I knew them.
No apology.
No claim form to fill out-- just my tough luck.  I asked if there was something to sign, and of course no one admits to speaking English. Some man in back of me in line explained there was nothing to sign; just take my tattered package and be happy it showed up at all (that part was implied)

Monday, March 14, 2011

A nice place to spend eternity

This probably seems morbid, especially since it's my second post about visiting graveyards. But I  have to admit, I'm kind of interested in how other places honor/ bury/ remember their dead. This was in the town of Ramsau, Austria, and we were driving home from our ski weekend. I wanted to take a picture of the church, but then noticed the cemetery next to it. When I was in Salzburg years ago, I was struck by the ornate iron work on the head stones, and the style was the same here.

Here's Jack, traipsing through the graveyard. Nate to the left of him, reading headstones.

I liked the wheat imagery.

Definitely still winter here. But what a view! Not a bad place to spend eternity.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Nordic Skiing- All the parts I like without having to go downhill fast

Day Two of our Austria Ski weekend. My ungrateful, miserable, wretched children complained- COMPLAINED I say- that they didn't want to go cross country skiing in Filzmoos on the most beautiful cross country ski loops Ever. They only wanted to go downhill at Schladming again. And they wouldn't let it drop. At all. All through Dinner. Over and over and OVER again. Talking about how they loved downhill skiing and no one wanted to go cross country and it was Bo-ring and why couldn't they just go back to the terrain park.....

So-- I finally pulled the Mother Trump Card- Guilt.

"You know," I said, easing the gear into first, "I don't really like downhill skiing.  In fact, it scares me." (this they knew, based on my pathetically slow descent on every run). "But we went together today as a family, and I didn't complain even once that I didn't like what we were doing." Now, the engine was purring, and I was hitting the gas. "In fact, I'm sure you didn't even know that I didn't like skiing. Because I wanted to make sure that you were having a good time." And Nate immediately caved. I never even eased it into the passing lane. "Okay, Mom; you're right... Jack- we're going cross country skiing tomorrow." Jack looked mystified. He clearly is not as susceptible to Mother Guilt as Nate is. He didn't know what had happened. Maybe he just needs a few more years of practice!!

And you know what? As soon as we got there, they put their skis on while Kent and I bought tickets to the gondola, and skied down the little hill by the lift and side stepped back up it, and skid down it again. They were already having fun, in the parking lot. Miserable Wretched Ungrateful Children. And then we took the gondola to the top to Ski Amade and the Loipe (cross country runs) and they had a blast and skied hard and had fun and did I mention that they had FUN??

And, as I mentioned, cross country skiing is all the parts of skiing that I like- being outdoors in the winter (without being cold), exercise, great views, sparkling snow covered trees and mountains. And not going downhill fast. In my opinion, the best of all possibilities.

The trails were beautifully groomed- 2 parallel tracks about 5 feet apart and then an adjacent groomed area for skating. Amazingly beautiful.

Nate found a tree house that needed climbing. Then everyone decided they needed to climb it.  And throw snowballs at me.

Back at the gondola, Jack is tired after his long ski. And Nate was Starving. But we all had a great day.