Some years ago a conversation, after a long and raucous dinner party resulted in 11 of us spending just over a week together on the Greek island of Symi, in the Agean Sea. It was undoubtedly one of the best holidays and destinations of all time. I shared this with you once before.
When the same group of friends started a conversation about doing it again, two quirky conclusions occurred. We ended up deciding to rendezvous in Budapest and the group decided to call themselves “The Simples”.
The Budapest decision is not so hard to fathom. One of our group (our darling friend Peter) was of Hungarian descent. His father immigrated to Australia from Hungary as a young man (not unlike my own father from Italy). So as the conversation developed about various destinations, we quite easily came to the conclusion that we should visit Budapest. He was the only person who had ever been there before. This was a new destination for the rest of us. He did an incredible job of seeking information, researching places to stay and generally being the most awesome “go to man” for details of travel.
Tez and I were making our way to Budapest via a very short Paris stopover (see previous post). Our quick trip to the airport from central Paris and a 2 ½ hour flight became a 20 hour journey – long story, probably too boring to retell, but it did conclude with lost luggage. Poor Tez went for another 24 hours before he could change his clothes. Our Air France experience was not what we were expecting ……………… enough said perhaps!
Finally reunited with our Aussie friends and our very dear friends from North Yorkshire (Jules, Hank & Robbie – you know them, they run the fantastic ‘Glamping’: Down in the Copper Beech Glade), we headed off to explore, over the bridge to Buda.
Now those of you who know geography will know that Budapest is actually two cities, united into one, Buda and Pest. I promise I will not give you a history or geography lesson, but suffice to say I had no expectations, what a wondrous surprise the history, culture, beauty and the cosmopolitan vibe of Budapest, turned out to be.
We had such a great time. What turned out to be the group favorite restaurant was a local small venue in Buda. Probably only seated 40 people and I imagine was a very good representation of good home style cooking. The waitress was such a lovely woman who would blow kisses to us all, when we arrived and departed – to the point that we affectionately nick named the restaurant “Kissy Kissy Restaurant”, rather than try and recall its actual name. The most refreshing part of visiting there was that it was never a hassle for her when 11 of us arrived and she had to re-arrange tables to accommodate us. We were always welcomed with a smile and such sweetness. Many happy tastings experienced at that eating house!
I really did enjoy eating traditional Goulash. I also enjoyed the experience of observing the influence of cuisines from other neighboring countries. The culture and geography of food is as fascinating as history and buildings…in my view anyway!