One feature of life as an international pastor is the need and opportunity to go to international conferences. The ICC Prayer Retreat this February is being held in Budapest. We flew in on an early flight on Saturday and are taking the opportunity to celebrate our thirtieth wedding anniversary a little early with a few days exploring the city.

We arrived not knowing any Hungarian at all. Not even hallo and goodbye. Thankfully people are used to that. Hungary is a small nation of about 10 million people and enjoys a unique language distantly related to Finnish. It is nt a major world language. In addition, the country has been ruled by successive empires, none of which were Hungarian speakers. We come in ignorance, but at least we come in peaceful ignorance.

Anyway we have a small list of must do and must see, including a proper goulash and chicken paprika. And cake. Hungary has good cake. We were accosted by a restaurateur as we tried to look at the menu of their restaurant.

We have many international dishes, look, burgers, curry, fish and chips.

Yes, but we want toe eat Hungarian good, like goulash and chicken paprika.

Paprika, paprika, Hungary is just one big paprika, she retorted.

Anyway, the place we are staying is besieged with highly recommended eateries. We went into one rather unprepossessing place. Outside it was off putting. Inside it was gorgeous, and run by cheerful men older than us. I had goulash soup as starter and paprika chicken for main course.

Now what shall we do next?

We decided that we should at least learn how to say hallo, goodbye and thank you. Helpful videos and some repetition soon got us greeting people acceptably. You have to make SOME effort, dont you?


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