A Travellerspoint blog

Tired but happy in Hungary

Train journey and Budapest


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The long train journey continued...

It took about eight hours to get to Arad, the last Romanian stop before the border; it was past midnight by now, in fact closer to 1 am. Several people got out at this point, leaving me with only a couple of other people in my carriage. We stopped for quite a while here, but no Romanians came on board to check our passports. Eventually the train continued for a bit before stopping again - I assumed it was the first Hungarian stop, though I couldn't see a station name anywhere. Quite a long wait here before Hungarian border police came on board and checked passports. Then some more police came on board, checked passports again and also removed a panel from the roof of the connecting part of the carriage, set up a stepladder, climbed it and peered into the roof space - looking for contraband or for migrants, I assume.

We arrived at Budapest at 04.50, only ten minutes behind schedule. I took some money out, found the toilet and then set off for the hostel. My guidebook had warned me off taking a taxi from the station or from flagging one down in the street, so I didn't. I thought about using the metro or catching a bus, but was put off by the thought lugging my big case up and down the inevitable sets of steps and potentially not having room for it at all on the bus, so I ended up just walking instead. At least this time the way was flat! I was still knackered by the time I arrived though. As I walked through the streets I admired several grand-looking buildings and could definitely sense that I was in a Central European country rather than an Eastern one.

HBC Hostel turned out to be up two flights of stairs in part of a huge building with a central courtyard. As I arrived I realised that my big case had broken in a new place; the bottom edge had split almost all the way across. Luckily nothing had fallen out. Despite this, and my advanced stage of exhaustion, I managed to get everything upstairs OK. The lovely owner was up despite the early hour and let me in. He showed me into a different dorm to the one I'd booked (it was currently empty and actually better than the original one) and let me check in almost straight away.

After a few hours of sleep I felt much better. I went for a walk to the bank of the Danube, changing my leftover Romanian lei for Hungarian forints on the way (they wouldn't change my remaining Bulgarian leva, however). My hostel is in Pest, rather than Buda. I passed the Parliament building, which looks magnificent and is apparently the most photographed building in Budapest.

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On the way back from the river I passed a Spar! - so I had to go in and see how it was different to British ones. Cheaper, with lots of different unusual cheeses (some green, some red - the actual cheese that is, not the rind), sausages and cured meats, unusual sandwiches. After ten months in Bulgaria and then a month between Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey and Romania, it was a novelty to me to see so many ready-made sandwiches. I bought one, along with two macchiato coffee milk drinks.

On my way back from there I walked past a free walking tour just as it was beginning, so as it seemed to be following the same direction as me, I joined it for five minutes until I got back to the hostel. We stopped outside an old building covered in bullet holes from the revolution of 1956. I considered staying with the tour until the end and finding out more, but I was too knackered; I didn't have the energy to walk around for another hour and a half/ two hours. I have another four whole days to do stuff in, after all.

It was past 6 o'clock when I got back, so I decided not to bother going out again for dinner. I made the sandwich and iced coffee my dinner and have been on my laptop since then. I'm off to bed now though. More exploration to come tomorrow!

Posted by 3Traveller 09:27 Archived in Hungary Tagged trains budapest hostel hungary unesco_world_heritage_site river_danube

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