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When we arrived in Budapest it was a last minute decision because we were traveling through Europe and we were in the neighborhood. I didn't know what to expect, and although I had heard about the city my knowledge was limited to goulash and not much else. Based upon the small amount of touristy research we had done, we headed straight for the Central Market Hall to get a crash course in local food. Rows upon rows of hanging peppers, pickles, meats, hand crafted cheeses, street food stalls, and mysterious aromas all under an eighteenth century partially enclosed glass window and copper facade. We had a wonderful day, trying everything we could, and stocked up on all the various types of smoked paprika and other spices that the country is known for. Budapest is a split city, with the large Danube river separating "Buda" from "Pest" which is a long story involving many wars and the city ultimately being reunited as one. Crossing the bridge onto the western bank we found an ancient hot spring bathing hall, which was enormous and resembled an old opera house, with several different rooms and hundreds of people bathing at once. I made a point to try all the pastries, breads, meats, and slow cooked goulash I could possibly stuff into my face in the short time (less than a week) we were here. I was amazed to learn that much of the Austrian food that I grew up with (my father's side is from Vienna) was originally from here, or very similar to Hungarian traditional foods. Overall it gave me a different perspective on these familiar foods, and a bigger belly from eating just a bit too much fried bread. Hopefully I can pass through here on my next trip to Vienna.

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