Hey party people!
I'm writing to you now after a long absence due to my hectic last month, which included a visit to the USA, a return to Berlin, and all of the preparations to get here to crazy, sexy Budapest! It was a stressful transition, but it everytime I move to a new country it seems to get easier. Probably its about accepting that you are going to be desperately confused for about a month, and trying just to relax and enjoy the panic.
I took an overnight train (for only 29€!) from Berlin, offering me the unique experience of sleeping with 6 other people in the space of a janitors closet while we passed by Dresden, Prague, Bratislava, and a bunch of other random European cities. We arrived the next morning at Budapest's Keleti station, a train station that is both beautiful and sketchy as all get out. (There's all these weird back hallways with people playing cards and drinking shots at 9am...) Luckily, my new roommate was waiting for me, and took me back to our neighborhood which is still sketchier. On our block we have a heroin needle exchange, a brothel, a park which looks like a meeting point for human traffickers, and on the bright side, a gay bar called "Desire."
But despite the sketchiness, my apartment is lovely and centrally enough located to make the slightly disconcerting surrounding bearable. Just look, a mere 20 minute walk and I'm here, at the Central Market Hall in Fõvám square!
As a vegetarian traveling to Budapest this is a MUST. They have everything, from all varieties of local fruits and vegetables (like gorgeous Hungarian peppers) to every spice imaginable, including Hungary's favorite ingredient, paprika. (Both smoked and sweet varieties, natch.) Since I am too busy to prepare food at the moment (*sob*) I picked up some of Hungary's most available summertime fruits: flattened peaches and lascivious red cherries. I've been eating both with soy yogurt, muesli and agave nectar for a daily breakfast before heading over to Buda for my traineeship.
Meanwhile, back in Berlin, Summer is in full swing, with tons of festivals, live music playing by wanderlust-y tourists, and of course, a huge produce scare. You might wonder how cucumbers could become tainted with E.Coli.... or maybe, since you are vegetarian you don't wonder. (Hint: its from animal shit.) Sad. But look at these beautiful rainbows over Görlitzer Park!
Before I left I had a small dinner party to say goodbye to all my pals. Staying away from cucumbers and tomatoes, we indulged in a humungous pot of risotto, packed with sugar snap peas, asparagus, and lemon juice and zest. To reproduce in your own home, follow my normal risotto recipe (using 2 cups rice), lightly saute peas and asparagus on the side, then at the last minute, fold in veggies along with the juice and rind of one lemon. Completely lekker.
Meanwhile, its time to adjust to my new kitchen and get cooking here in Budapest. Wish me luck!!
Song of the Day: Ben Folds Five- Whatever and Ever, Amen