May Travel Round Up

May found me visiting friends in Croatia and Hungary. It was my longest time away from the United States since I studied abroad in Costa Rica twelve years ago. The trip brought some major ups and downs but I can't wait to go back to Croatia and explore more of the small yet diverse country.

DESTINATIONS VISITED

Croatia

Hungary

HIGHLIGHTS

Visiting my friends and their adorable dogs in Croatia. About a year ago, my friends bought a house with several acres in the Croatian countryside because they're awesome and insane. Not only was I able to visit my friends, they crafted a personalized itinerary for us. We explored almost the entire country, except the area close to Serbia and Dubrovnik, by rental car. 

Eating my way through Croatia. The food in Croatia was excellent. I ate the best gnocchi and sausage of my life there. Croatia got me eating mushrooms on a regular basis now and I even ate zucchini and didn't want to vomit. The produce throughout the country is seasonal and more intense than what we even have in California. Only one meal, involving canned corn on a salami sandwich, was god awful.

Relaxing in the Szechenyi Baths in Budapest. Overall, I hated Budapest but the Szechenyi Baths were a real highlight of my Europe trip. The bright yellow buildings provide a beautiful backdrop to the multiple pools. I loved floating around the moving pool and chilling in the hot baths. 

Waterfalls, waterfalls, waterfalls. I don't need to say more.

MOST POPULAR POST

I didn't post much in May so I don't have a most popular post. 

MOST POPULAR INSTAGRAM

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This dry piece of dobostorta was my most popular Instagram post this month.

WHAT I READ

When I found out that Idris Elba was going to be starring as Roland in the Gunslinger movie adaptation, I decided that I needed to read the Dark Tower series. I plowed through the first two books at a rapid pace but I'm slogging through the third book and find elements of it problematic, particularly in the scene when they are bringing Jake over from the other world.

WHAT I WATCHED

My current television obsession is The Handmaid's Tale. While there are some issues with the world building and narrative progression in certain episodes, overall I've been happy with the adaptation and think the show is shot beautifully. My favorite moment is at the end of one of the early episodes when Offred/June walks out of her house and the Simple Minds song "Don't You (Forget About Me)" busts out playing. The incongruity was absolutely perfect.

WHAT I ATE

OMG Croatian food: truffles, fresh pasta, grilled and roasted meats, stunning produce, and crusty fresh bread. My favorite dishes: the gnocchi with truffle cream sauce and shrimp from Mondo Konoba, the venison-pork sausage from Roca, and cevapi, a type of sausage served with ivar (roasted red pepper spread), raw white onion, and bread. 

Hungary was hit and miss with food but the best meal I ate in Hungary was at Macok Bisztro in Eger, Hungary. People travel to Eger for the red wine but they really should be spending their time eating at Macok. I ordered the cream of asparagus soup with braised beef cheek, the roasted rabbit with liver and potato croquettes and vegetable puree, and a passion fruit lemonade. Everything was perfectly cooked and seasoned. 

COMING UP IN JUNE 2017

I'll be heading back to Grand Rapids, Michigan this month to visit family. I will hopefully be exploring more of Michigan and maybe making it up to the Upper Peninsula.