Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone has a happy and safe new year!

It is about 1 hour away from midnight here in Germany and this means I can basically tell the future. I will let you know if the world ends or not.

But seriously, thank you all for reading this teeny blog in 2015. This year certainly ended with a bang with our move to Germany and I am very excited for the adventures to come in 2016. Obviously traveling more is one of my resolutions (is that too obvious?) but I hope to make the most of my time in Europe and will be back in the States in May and September. 

Eat good food people. Love yous!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Budapest - the Day After Christmas

I know, I am getting really creative with my subject lines. 

The 26th is also a holiday in Europe so the city started off on the quiet side but there were definitely more people out and about. The temperature was definitely colder compared to the day before and there was more fog. Lovely. This meant finding warmth in any way possible. This also meant we spent like 3 hours on the hop on, hop off bus tour (which really wasn't much of a tour as the audio guide did not explain much about the city. But it did help us get a layout of the major points and figure out what we wanted to see).

After this, we walked through the Christmas markets again and went inside the beautiful St. Stephen's Basilica.

It was so pretty.

It was cool to look out from the steps to the Christmas markets.

After that we enjoyed some, what else, hot mulled wine by the fire.

After resting at the hotel for a bit, we headed to a restaurant called Boom & Brass. This was our "fancy" meal for the week. It still cost significantly less than a dinner for two in Boston haha.

We started off with a plate of meats, cheese, BRULEED foie gras, and bread. I also had Hungarian Merlot. Did you know that Hungary has a storied history with wine and has over 20 wine regions? I had no idea until I was there. 

My main course was bison with porcini mushrooms in a paprika sauce with almond crusted ravioli.

The restaurant was a bit touristy but the food was really good. They served mostly Hungarian dishes with a modern twist. After that, we headed back to the hotel to warmup and end the day.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Budapest on Christmas

I did promise you more Budapest so here it is.

Did you know the city was actually broken into 2 parts, Buda and Pest before it was united? The Danube river splits the two parts right down the middle. Although there are buildings and things that are thousands of years old, many were damaged between the World Wars and the occupation of the Communists and had to be rebuilt. The architecture is gorgeous. The view on the Danube is beautiful but unfortunately, most of our weekend was foggy and couldn't see the views.

Anywho, after our burgers on Christmas Eve, we awoke to a quiet city on Christmas morning. Our target was the Széchneyi thermal baths. Hungary sits on natural thermal springs so spas and baths were built upon them over the years. Most of the baths are outdoors and luckily it wasn't super cold, maybe in the 40's. After extreme confusion on buying tickets, finding our changing cabins, and getting to the baths, we made it! It was 100% worth it. We were there at about 11am and missed the major crowds. Score!

We highly recommend it! It was so relaxing and made for great people watching. There are two large baths with a swimming pool in between. 

This was our wicked cool Christmas selfie.

One of the best things we could ever do on a Christmas away from home. We spent a couple of hours there before moving on.

On the way to the baths, we visited Heroes' Square which is so large and grand.

Then it was time for a (late) lunch so we meandered over to the Christmas markets. Our first stop was for chimney cakes also known as Kürtoskalács (PS - the Hungarian language, or Magyar, is notoriously difficult. Luckily English and German is prevalent). 

Chimney cakes are pieces of dough wrapped around a cylinder then cooked over a coal fire. Flavors such as vanilla or chocolate are added. They are SUPER hot as we found out. We opted for the almond one. 

So good. Sweet, warm, crunchy, and cheap. Dessert was before lunch though today. We continued on through the markets and marveled at all the treats and lights.

Gorgeous, right? We chose a stand selling a variety of Hungarian foods. 

They have their own version of mulled wine and we chose a blueberry mulled wine and mulled wine with Pálinka which is a fruit brandy (of any flavor that you can think of and all over Budapest/Hungary). 

We also had these roasted potato wedges most likely with paprika (it's everywheres) and then a large sausage with toppings. It was such a late and big lunch, I just had a Greek salad at a kebap place for dinner.

All in a all, a very successful Christmas where a lot of stores, museums, and other places were not open but we were able to find our own fun!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Back on Track

So much good news all around!

1.  I figured out that my Mac has a slot for my memory card from my camera sooo I no longer have to wait until our sea shipment arrives to get the pictures off of my new camera. This means lots of catch up posts which I am sure you are all thrilled about.
2. We found an apartment! We can move in January 15th. More to come about that. I can't wait to no longer live the hotel life and have a real, functioning kitchen. 
3. I will have posts from our (very) recent trip to Budapest!

I don't even know where to start since there is a lot of catching up to do. Here are some scenes from the Christmas Market in Nuremberg which we went to a few times. And consumed a lot of gluhwein (which, I'm sure you've seen on the Insta).

It feels like a fairytale because it's so beautiful and Christmassy. Also, there's lots of amazing food. Including this fellow:

Essentially a sweet, fluffy dumpling with vanilla sauce. Ja. 


It's a terrible picture from my iPhone but this is the biggest "Feuerzangenbowle" in the world. Feuerzangenbowle translates to "fire tongs bowl" which is the process in which this ancient (exaggeration) concoction is made. A sugarloaf on hot tongs is soaked with rum and then burned. This deliciousness drips into a cauldron of hot, mulled wine with spices. If you look carefully, you can see a fire and a cauldron in the above picture. 

There's a mini village for this biggest Feuerzangenbowle in the world on the riverfront and you can get snacks and hangout by heated lamps. 

On Christmas Eve, my husband and I left for the city of Budapest. "Why Budapest?" you ask. Great question. But there's no clear answer. We decided we wanted to go somewhere, anywhere for Christmas since the European world is our oyster. Upon some research, it seemed as though Budapest wouldn't be completely shut down. We were mostly right about that.

We landed at night and like the shameless Americans that we are, we went out to dinner to a place down the street from our hotel (King's Hotel. Great location. Charming and old. But didn't feel super clean or welcoming). It was called Beer and Burger. As a side note, we got giant burgers, fries, and a beer (each of us) and paid only like 14 Euros total. Which is about 4,200 Hungarian Forints. That was fun math all week.

Although we had burgers and fries, we did have Hungarian beer.

My burger was a "duo" with chicken breast and a burger patty. I thought it meant that the ground meats were combined together. Turns out it was TWO patties. Oops. 

More Budapest to come! 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Germany Ramblings

Hello guys!

So this post is going to be a mishmash of things. Just warning you.

My husband and I are coming upon the end of week 2 in Germany. Still in the process of finding an apartment although we saw a great one tonight. Things are starting to come together but many things are outstanding (we have bank accounts but not German phones yet. Lots of wi-fi needed). 

We went to the world famous Nuremberg Christmas Market (Christkindlesmarket) and I took tons of pictures with my totally awesome new camera. Except the wi-fi thing that I need to transfer my pictures to my laptop has been packed away by the movers and is currently over the ocean somewhere. You will have to make-do with the random pictures from my iPhone for now.

In exciting news, we booked a trip to Budapest, Hungary for Christmas! We decided we wanted to go somewhere for Christmas since we couldn't spend it with our families. Upon a lot of research, it seemed like many things would be open during Christmas in the city so that helped make our decision. We are going Dec 24th through the 28th.

Here's the randomness:

We are stereotypical Americans and went to a Mexican restaurant in the current town we are living in, Herzogenaurach. It is called Chilli's. Amazing, right?

The menu was in German but luckily we know Spanish words. And German food words.

The food was pretty good! I had albondigas (meatballs) and chicken enchilada with potatoes and salad. It was HUGE. We also had "nachos" which tasted mysteriously like Doritos with melted cheese. 

They ended the meals by giving us gummies.

Germans love their gummies. Case in point below.

Smurf gummies! They have full aisles of gummies at the grocery stores. 

And I got like 2 pictures from the Christmas Markets as we went to one in Nuremberg and one in Herzogenaurach.

The Herzogenaurach one was really small but cute.

Me and Gluhwein are bff's (Gluhwein hot wine mulled with spices and sometimes other alcohol, served in mugs. You pay a deposit for the mugs and when you turn them back in, you get your money back).

The Gluhwein we had in Nuremberg was SUPER alcoholic as it was made with rum. And delicious.

Oh and I completely forgot to share pictures of these amazing cupcakes my friend Ashley made when we got together the night before Thanksgiving.

They say "we will miss you!" Adorable, right?

Ashley is on the right and my friend Kate is on the left.

I will have more updates for you soon, folks!