Friday, September 9, 2011

When in Romai part......

I was born in England and brought up in Canada by Hungarian parents. I spoke a bit of kitchen Hungarian but in school I was only allowed to speak English so that is the language I feel most comfortable with .
I was raised in a Hungarian home with salami, peppers , lots of sour cream and only food that you would find in Hungary.  I was the one who had the weird sandwiches at the lunch table. No tuna salad for me nor white bread. My parents shopped at the market that catered to eastern Europeans so we always had rye bread and strange cold cuts.
I was 14 when I went over to a friends house after school and was given a peanut butter and banana sandwich!
I remember looking at this cut up white bread with no crusts and wondering how I can politely say I was not hungry. I had no idea what they were giving me . I had never heard of peanut butter in my life and then to put a banana in the bread. My friend Elizabeth made the sandwich  and I did not want to hurt her feelings so I took a very very small bite.  Then I took another larger bite , this was such a new taste for me. I was sold. This was amazing , a sandwich that had no paprika spiced meat, or peppers and that still had an amazing taste. But this created a HUGE problem, I loved peanut butter but my parents did not know what I was talking about and had no idea where they could even buy this and they did not want to buy it as it was foreign to them. It was only when I moved out and had my own place that I had always a jar of peanut butter in my kitchen .

My husband has another story of peanut butter. When he came from Budapest to live in Canada he went shopping to get some good dark European mustard. He went to the large North American  supermarkets to look for it and bought a jar of what looked like dark mustard. Once home he opened it and was peanut butter, he has hated peanut butter ever since.

Now I have found my beloved peanut butter here in 2 stores and my husband can get all the dark mustard he wants and be confident it is mustard!

It was a beautiful day and so a girlfriend and I decided to go to the Romai part or Roman bank.  It is like a boardwalk without the boardwalk. It is an area in district 3 Budapest by Obuda that is easy to get to and yet is a different world than the rest of Budapest. Romai part lies of course along the Danube river , it is a calm relaxing place during the weekdays but becomes a lively place on the weekends. You can rent a canoe or kayak, you can just stroll , you can sit in one of the many outdoor restaurants and bars and watch the people go by , the one thing you can do is swim in the Danube . In the 1800-1900's the Danube was swimable and so this was a great getaway from the heat for the people living in Budapest.  If you could not afford to go to the Balaton then you went to Romai part.

I love this area as I love anything that has to do with water. We started walking the slightly dusty path along the river, it was a weekday so the place was almost empty.  The stretch is divided onto ,one part having the restaurants and the other part just the path , both equally enjoyable.
There are bright colorful places offering the latest cocktails .
and then there are the more dignified places , with landscaped areas  and set back from the river. During the weekend all the places are packed and many have  bands with loud music competing with each other .
As we were strolling along the cooking shacks had started deep frying their menus. I think that is the biggest problem for me , most of what is served here is deep fried. The heck fish is what just about everyone orders.  They take this fish whole and score it , cover with flour , sprinkle paprika on it and deep fry it . We found a place that also served sausages and chicken , of course all of this was fatty but well when in Romai part .......
The thing is you do not come here for good food, you come here to get a way from the noise and movement of the city .
So this was what we decided on . They actually take each item and weigh it and then you pay for the weight.
The chicken was tender, the colesalw great without any majo, and the potatoes well you can never make a bad
potato, everything was fresh and hot. Many people from the neighboring businesses come here to eat .
 Along the river are the areas you can sit at with your food. We took our trays and sat down under a large tree by the river and watched the boats go by. Such peace.

Of course not all is peacefull here. This area gets flooded on a yearly basis and not just a few inches, many feet of water wash over this area. There is now talk of putting up walls to contain the flooding . What will this do to these wonderful little cooking shacks ?

We finished our meal and decided to take in a bit more of the danube before heading home. So we started walking the other way, away from the smell of the deep frying  . There in front of us was a very large ship anchored to the river edge. We decided to investigate as the gate was opened.
 To our surprise this was a floating 40 room hotel.

 This ship was reconstructed from a Russian paddle-wheeled steamboat built in the beginnings of the 1900's .
Inside everything looked new and very clean and like any large hotel in the city .

This is the view from the lower deck , a wonderful view looking north on the Danube with the hills in the background. The view shows a very peaceful river.

 This is what the boat looks like with the lights.

The great thing about the Romai part is that you can take a boat from the dock and get to the center of the city easily from May to Sept.and cost around 3 euros!

Well time to get back to reality . Some times you just need that escape and in Budapest I think I am lucky to have the Romai part to go to when things get hectic.

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