Thursday, August 31, 2017

Finding The Small Things

Lots of Langos Choices
This past August, while travelling from the bottom of Poland to the bottom of Turkey I came across interesting things that added a little fun into the trip.   I would like to show you a few of them.
Walking along the Danube River in Budapest we had intentions of eating breakfast in the big market.  We were informed that there we could find the   Hungarian breakfast specialty called Langos, which is a large piece of fried bread (like Navajo fried bread)  with various toppings.  We were told that Hungarians like Langos, served with sour cream, garlic and cheese.    Other various toppings included mushrooms, hot spiced tomato sauce, and cheese.  This is very different from our Italian breakfast or even American.   You cannot eat it all.

On the main floor of the market people shop for vegetables and meats.  This market has some of the best looking vegetables in Europe.  Tomatoes, perfectly ripe, cabbages, corn,  broccoli and cucumbers.  We found this bin of cucumbers interesting as it held examples of what you see here.  This looks a lot like 5 cucumbers grown together.

While eating our first Hungarian dinner we saw several tables where people were squirting fizzy water from large bottles.  We had to try that!  It had a fresher taste than what we get in Italy, and from then on, we had to have this on our table.  I was also happy to see that this miniature water dispenser cost less than what we would pay for bottled fizzy water in Italy.
They have good beer in Hungary, but this seemed to take the edge off the heat of the day.  Plus it was kind of fun to push the top down and fill our glasses.

A bowl of pinkish soup was delivered to the table next to us and we were curious and decided to try it.  It was very good, and apparently it is based on beets.   At every restaurant we found someone eating this soup, so I think I can safely say that this is something Hungarians like very much.  We also tried a soup called fruit soup, which was served cold and had a nice fruity taste.

 In Turkey, while sitting in a barber chair, I saw this round red container with a guy's beard covered with soap.  My barber buddy, Umit, thought it funny that I wanted this as a souvenir.  I just think it interesting that this is how a barber in Turkey gets his foamy.  Plus the picture looks like it came from the 50's.
You can see a glass of hot tea behind it, which most shop owners in Turkey offer their customers.  We like this tea as it is a bit sweet and not bitter, and brought home 2 kilos.

They know beer and burgers
Last year in Antalya, Turkey we discovered near our hotel a burger joint called Beer Zone.  It turned out that they made a great burger, much better than the ones we can find in Italy.  In fact, I feel they are much better than most burgers in the states.  The meat was 100 per cent beef, made from the best parts of the cow, not the left overs, and the bun was toasted.  The burgers were delivered in a paper covering that made sure the burger did not fall apart while eating.  Beer Zone has toppings of the usual ketchup, mustard and mayo, plus hot sauces like habanero, etc.  They actually have a bottle of ketchup for every table, rather than the cheap tiny plastic tear apart container of ketchup were are force to use in Italy.  They have a lot of signs about beer, one of them you see here.
Our favorite restaurant at the beach in Cirali, Turkey serves this balloon bread.  I asked our waiter, Umit, how it was baked to make the huge bubble, and they said it was the high temperature.  This goes good with the hummus and/or garlic yogurt served as appetizers.
I can make fried bread balloon up like this when making sopapillas, but it is more difficult to obtain this bubble of air in my oven.    I would need a pizza oven.
Travel changes when one gets older.   You begin to enjoy the little things.  I have to admit to you that I have seen enough castles and lodgings of the rich people of the past, enough museums, and enough famous sites that now I like finding these small things along the way.  I really enjoy sitting and people watching, watching the residents go about their day, for instance.  I use my painting of watercolors as a way to slow down and just enjoy the day.   40 Countries in 70 years.  It has been good!

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