Home Cooking in Hungary

We left Ljubliana on the 0858h fast train to Budapest where the plan was that Zoltan would be waiting for us. During the journey Isobel asked me if we could split up for a few days after our overnight visit to his family home in Nyiregyhaza so that she could follow her own itinerary around the Imperial Cities. On reflection, even though this was rather unexpected, there was no good reason to deny her the opportunity and I knew that I would certainly be able to occupy myself to good effect provided I could access enough internet to make the alternative arrangements. Having established that Izzy still wanted to visit Idar-Oberstein next week, as originally planned, we agreed to meet in that little Bavarian town next Tuesday evening, after going our separate ways on our return to Budapest.

Arriving in the Hungarian capital we transferred to the Metro and passed under the Danube with remarkable ease from “Deli” mainline Station in the South to “Keleti” in the North. Here we met up with Zoltan who had the use of a company car for the evening. I dread to think what would have become of our rendezvous if he’d tried to cross the city through the rush hour traffic and pick us up from the first destination though. In just over two hours we reached his home where mum, Zusanna, was absolutely delighted to meet Isobel and began feeding her with a will. After tucking into a couple of slices of bread with the delicious chicken and vegetable soup, Izzy pronounced herself surprised that there was to be a main course to follow. It’s not as if she hadn’t been warned but at least, in deference to the lateness of the hour, there was no dessert. Just a glass or two of the delicious Tokaj wine to sample although we could have chosen from quite an array of spirits instead if we’d preferred. This is Hungary, after all.

Zoltan hasn’t got his new house habitable yet and is still living at home so I’m afraid we spilled our luggage all over the living room while we occupied the pull-out sofa bed in Zusanna’s tiny flat. And to complete this chaotic picture, the bathroom was soon festooned with my washing. It was only for one night, after all, and our host had taken the following day off from work so that we could all make a little excursion into the countryside. Counting backwards from our scheduled rail departure back to the capital, he’d worked out that we just had time to pop into his new house and view the partially completed building and re-modelling work. It will be a lovely home when it’s finished but, in common with all such projects, both the time and cost estimates have had to be revised by more than double.

Next it was on to the lovely wine producing region of Tokaj and a bracing walk up the side of the little volcanic mountain, whose soil produces the incredible wines for which the region is so justly famous. The rain just about held off and we were able to appreciate the view before descending for a helping of the wonderful, spicy fish soup, speciality of the best restaurant in town. As it was only 11am, no alcohol was consumed! We got back to Nyiregyhaza with plenty of time for Zusanna to get to work on the enormous supply of comestibles without which no respectable Hungarian will undertake a journey to anywhere further than the next village. Not so successful, however, were my attempts to extract a trickle of wifi signal from Zoltan’s mobile phone so that I could continue planning my onward journey and I knew I was probably facing the prospect of arriving in Vienna at some ungodly hour of the night. Well, it’s not as if I haven’t coped with this sort of thing before and at least Haupbahnhoff has some decent waiting areas and coffee shops.

Categories: Europe

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