Three Things Thursday

It’s time once again for Three Things Thursday, the purpose of which is to “share three things from the previous week that made you smile or laugh or appreciate the awesome of your life.”

1. Farmers’ Market

We hadn’t been to the farmers’ market in three or four weeks because of our European trip. And, because spring arrived about a month early this year, when we went to the farmers’ market last weekend it was much different than the last time we were there.

I’m kicking myself for not thinking to snap any photos. You’ll have to use your imagination to picture all the festive colors of the produce:

  • vine-ripened tomatoes
  • snow peas
  • red and golden raspberries
  • green beans
  • carrots
  • green and yellow zucchini
  • Rainier and Bing cherries
  • blueberries
  • red and golden beets

And, of course, flowers galore. It was certainly a feast for the eyes.

2. Paprika

Before we left for our trip, our daughter surprised me by saying, “If you visit Hungary, you’ll have to try goulash.”

Now I’m sure I made goulash a few times while she was growing up, but I was still surprised that she took such an interest in it. We didn’t buy many souvenirs, but we did buy her a tin of paprika in Budapest:

Hungarian paprika, sweet
Hungarian paprika, sweet

Paprika can range from mild to wickedly hot. We were careful to get her a container labeled sweet. Now we’ll just have to get her to make us a big batch of goulash.

3. Miska Jug

The only other souvenir we brought back is this wine pitcher from Budapest. The shop was full of variations of these, but we finally settled on this one.

Hungarian Miska Jug
Hungarian Miska Jug

It’s a Miska (which I think is pronounced mishka) Jug:

Description of Miska Jug
Description of Miska Jug

Click on any photo for a larger version.

Viking River Cruise: Grand European Tour

If you’ve watched Downton Abbey or any other Masterpiece! presentation, you’ve seen the commercials showing Viking’s longships cruising the world’s rivers.

My husband F. and I are setting out on the Viking River Cruises Grand European Tour. We had a 10-hour direct Delta flight from Sea-Tac (Seattle-Tacoma) International Airport to Amsterdam. After a layover of just under two hours in Amsterdam, we caught a one hour and 40 minute flight to Budapest, where we were met by representatives from Viking and taken to our ship, Vidar. We left Sea-Tac in the early afternoon of May 31 and arrived in Europe in the early afternoon of June 1.

Map of Viking River Cruises: Grand European Tour
Viking River Cruises: Grand European Tour

Neither F. nor I was able to sleep at all on the plane, so we were pretty exhausted by the time we arrived on board. Fortunately, our stateroom was ready as soon as we arrived. The ship’s personnel urged us to use our free time until dinner to walk around Budapest on our own, but we opted to take a nap instead. At dinner we discovered that just about everyone we talked to had done the same. We had no trouble falling right back to sleep after dinner.

This morning we had a tour of Budapest. We had a local Hungarian guide, who told us that the Hungarian pronunciation is Budapesht. The city comprises two formerly separate cities, Buda and Pest, separated by the Danube River. Buda is the older city, high on a hill, while the newer Pest is on lower ground across the river.

Fisherman's Bastion, Budapest
Fisherman’s Bastion, Budapest
Ceramic tile roof on Matthias Church, Budapest
Ceramic tile roof on Matthias Church, Budapest
Portion of Heroes' Square, Budapest
Portion of Heroes’ Square, Budapest

Hungary is famous for its paprika. The capsicum pepper plant used to make this popular seasoning was introduced to Hungary by the Turks in the 16th century. The spice’s pungency ranges from sweet to very hot. The brighter red the paprika, the hotter the spice. We made sure that the tins we bought to bring home were labeled “mild.”

Peppers used to make paprika
Peppers used to make paprika