Thursday, December 06, 2001

In Search of Gluhwein Ingredients

In Search of Gluhwein Ingredients

We seem to start out later and later in the mornings. Part of it is the weather and part of it is that there is not that much to do here. Ron has this need to continue visiting the tourist office in spite of my fears for his safety and until he and the employees are on a first name basis. With his new recipe for gluhwein in hand, he went in to see if they could tell him what the mystery ingredient was that the original woman last night could not translate. Here, they could not give an English word either, but wrote something else down and told him where he could purchase the spice. This woman said she thought it came from a flower.

As we were walking through the market yet again, he said he wanted to go to the Roman museum, which was on the next block. You could not drag me into another museum, so I offered to wait outside. When he looked it over, he decided not to go in either. Instead, it was now our mission to find the department store that had the food hall where the gluhweins mystery ingredient was for sale.

Within a few blocks from the hotel was the store and the food hall was in the basement. It was a treasure trove of gastronomic delights, but I laughed when I saw Pop Tarts, Bisquick, and other American food items. Ron went to find someone to assist him in finding the spice that would add the final touch to the wine. A saleswoman looked at the paper, then grabbed a package and handed it to him. A second later, she had second thoughts and went to ask yet another salesperson. She returns to grab a bottle of Spice Island brand of spice and give it to him. We really chuckled then as we gave away about twenty bottles of different Spice Island spices when we moved. Ron looks at the bottle, but not really looking and seems pleased that the mystery was solved and we can proceed to the cashier. I took the bottle, looked a little closer and whispered, “Ron, these are whole cloves!” As he looked at the bottle again, he pointed to something on the label. The spice company is from Iowa. Indeed, also on the label, it stated whole cloves. Mystery solved.

There was yet another Christmas market circled on his map, so we had to investigate that one also. It was a good hike, but the air was crisp and only threatening a shower. On the way, another church was in view and had to be explored. Churches are right up there with museums in my book. I have had my fill, but I went anyway, sat in a pew and wrote notes.

When we reached the Christmas market, it was small and mostly food and wine booths. There was nothing to catch our eye, though the vendors were doing their best to grab our attention and then our marks. Puppets seem to be a popular item at these fairs. There are a number of booths that are selling them. Most of the puppets are like stuffed animals with a hole for your hand.

In desperate need of tea, Ron wanted to go back to the bakery I had pointed out to him yesterday that was named Schmitz and Whoever Baked Goods. The selection was sumptuous and the goods were more in line of what we had hoped. They were pleasant to look at, smell, and fresh. While we were sitting there, I asked Ron if he felt a connection with the area and he said he did. It certainly makes me feel some satisfaction that even if I am not impressed with the city, that we came here anyway, if it filled a need for him.

So now, we returned to the hotel so I could write and he could nap. When he arises, we will go check the e-mail one more time to see if we have a place to sleep in Budapest tomorrow night and I will send this out through the cyber fibers. You may not hear from me for longer than a few days, as hopefully, we will be ‘moving in’ on Monday! Hooray!!

Have a good weekend.

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