On to Budapest

Budapest Travel Blog

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Escalator to the Metro

So my Summer study abroad has just ended (and I mean just, yesterday was the day I had 3 finals and our farewell dinner). A few glasses of wine too many and I missed the morning train from Vienna to Budapest. Well I woke up on time, but decided to have breakfast with my roommate one last time, and by the time I lugged my huge luggage to the entrance to the metro (I could have taken the one much closer to the hotel, and with an elevator, but for some reason I listened to the lady at the front desk and took a walk twice as long to the metro stop, with a huge staircase and carried my 30 kilo bag down the stairs (my arms have gotten surprisingly stronger from that bag).  But as I was on the Metro I watched the time pass. I was only a few minutes late, but alas I missed it.

  I had to wait an hour for the next one.

Well on the next train I met the most delightfully quirky Romanian man. He was carrying lots of suitcases and a bicycle, all in pieces and each one wrapped individually in wrapping paper. He didn't speak english, I don't speak romanian, but we found a common language in italian, and i found he was on his way back home to Romania.  He saw my huge luggage and walked through the train to find a compartment for us to sit in, and he even lifted my heavy bag to fit in the overhead compartment, all the while calling himself Arnold Schwarzenegger :o)  I guess it was Apropos since we were leaving Austria. He was also carrying a package of nectarines, and offered me one. When I declined he insisted and kept repeating, "there is no cholesterol in them !" About an hour into the ride, my friend Simone walked past the  compartment ! She was on my study abroad program and also headed to Budapest and thought she would look for me on the train ! It was funny because i had missed the train I was supposed to be on, and she had initially gotten the wrong train in Vienna and got on my train an hour later in a different town.

  We went and had lunch in the dining car. I had a plate of goulash (one of many to come). It was delightful ! 

We finally arrive in Budapest and we make our way to the Metro. Now in every country I had been in previous to Hungary they were verrrry lax when it came to the public transportation. People couldn't have cared less whether you had a ticket or not to ride the bus/metro/tram etc... Well not so in Hungary. I went to the window to buy a full day pass and not till I was at the bottom of the escalator (after validating my ticket) did I realize that I was given a one ride pass. There was some wrting on it so I assumed this meant it was a full day pass. WRONG. We get off at our stop and at the top of the escalator there are people checking tickets as you get OUT of the metro. Well since we had to change metro lines I validated my ticket again (apparently you can't validate twice ???? so I was not supposed to validate the second time & I learned later that one validation is good for up to an hour).

Hero Square
Soooo of course I get stopped and the guard starts pointing to my ticket and saying something in Hungarian and pulling out a pink pad. I got a ticket ! I had no idea what he was saying so a nice Hungarian woman helped me, she said the ticket was because I validated twice.  I told her I paid for a day pass and even told her the price I paid and that I didn't even have any Forint left on me to pay the ticket, because I used what little I had (from exchanging my Euros) to buy the day pass.  None of this mattered and the guard walked me to an ATM (so sweet).  I didn't really know the exchange rate so my 6,000 forint ticket could have been equivalent to $10 or $100 (turns out it was about $30 ).
Welcome to Hungary !   My trip got alot better after this and it turns out... I LOVE LOVE LOVE Budapest ! Many more stories to come...

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photo by: Chokk