Over the past few days we traversed the distance between Vienna and Budapest, with a stop in Bratislava. Never having been to a Slavic country before, I was surprised at the beauty of both Slovakia and Hungary.
We enjoyed an afternoon stroll (in the pouring rain) through the old town of Bratislava. The architecture was an interesting mixture of buildings erected throughout the ages, including their time behind the iron curtain. But, the old town section was charming, and even though it was pouring pretty hard, we had such a nice experience.
We stopped for a local favorite from the city’s oldest bakery/store. Pastry horns filled with either poppy-seed or nut paste. We accompanied our sweet treat with a glass of the local elderberry wine. Yum!
Until I started preparing for this trip, I had no idea that Budapest is really three cities combined into one, or at the very least two cities combined into one. Buda is on one side of the river, and is hilly. While, Pest sits in the flat plain on the other side of the river. The buildings, especially the Parliament building, are just magnificent. We did an over view tour on one day, and then visited a beautiful synagogue the next. There is such an interesting sense of rich history, which permeates the air in Budapest. They were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until World War I. So, in many ways their cultural scene is just as impressive as Vienna’s. Sister cities. Twin capitols of a long vanished empire.
We were fortunate enough to have dinner at Costes Downtown, which proudly displays its Michelin star! The menu was inventive and creative, the food delicious, and the atmosphere was beautiful. Each course was accompanied by an appropriate Hungarian wine and ended with a tray of sweet treats. However, the most delicious and inventive thing on the menu was the caramelized butter served at the beginning of the meal. Yes, you heard me – CARAMELIZED BUTTER. It tasted like the best, browned butter, creamy and flavorful.
My only regret is that we only had two days in Budapest. It is a city I could visit time and again, discovering new treasures every time. All in all a lovely way to end this part of our trip. We are off to spend a week with family, so most likely no blogging while I’m there. But, expect updates from our cottage in the Cotswolds.