As I’ve mentioned before, I love the chance to get inside a local’s home when I travel, and the best way to do that seems to be by booking a “tour” that includes a meal. I’ve done so in China and in Amish Country, and now I’ve added Budapest to my experiences.
I visited the home of Krizsta, a Hungarian woman who made me Hungarian goulash. I arrived at a green door facing heavy construction and a park (Klauzel ter) that housed as many homeless as the apartments behind the door did. Krizsta buzzed me in and I walked up two flights of stairs to find her behind another green door. I was the only person invited for the meal and we arranged a lunchtime visit.
First, she asked me if I’d like wine or beer (part of the deal) and I sat at her kitchen table watching her cook while we talked like any two women who find they have much in common. We discovered that we were the same age and twice married. We both had grown children from our first marriages and a younger child from the second. I am already divorced and she is separated. We chatted about being single at this stage in our lives and remarkably, both embraced it as being a wonderful turn of events.
Then we talked about travels. We have both traveled extensively and love so many different parts of the world. She is planning to relocate to a Scandinavian country as the politics in Hungary become worse. I though maybe I should, too, if the November elections here in America make Trump our new President. She didn’t think that was really possible. I’m all too afraid that it might be.
We dined together at her dining room table and turned our conversation to places of interest in Budapest. I ate my goulash and finished it off with some homemade cherry cookies she’d made without even realizing what a huge cherry lover I am. Then she sent me home with a tin full of cookies to take back to my family in America. I felt like I’d visited a friend.
The next night, I stopped at the Andrassy Bizstro and ordered their Tourist Menu. It included Goulash Soup with spicy peppers and a spicy chili mix on the side, Chicken Paprikash, and a jam crepe for dessert. I’d never tell Krizsta this, but I liked this goulash better. Hers needed the spices she didn’t add. My waitress was delightful, but of course, we didn’t sit across the table from each other and chat. That’s what made my Goulash dinner with Krizsta so special. But one thing is certain– both meals were good for my soul.
Have you eaten in a local’s home when you traveled? Is it something you would do?