Sept 27, 2019 – Vienna, Austria to Budapest, Hungary
We checked out of the Airbnb and decided to take a cab to the Hauptbahnhof because we had to lug our luggage down the steps at the Friedensbrucke station and then change at Schwedenplatz as well. We used “Bolt” a more popular taxi service in Europe than “Uber”. The taxi dropped us off at the back entrance of the Hauptbahnhof.
The first thing we did was to find the luggage storage lockers on the first level below the ground level and put in the large suitcase. We didn’t have to carry all the luggage to Budapest as we were there for just two days. We then walked out of Hbf and reached the bus station that is on the opposite side or left hand side of the Hbf. We were early for our bus so we just sat there waiting for it to come. There were two other tourists from Malaysia going to Prague and we got talking. We gave them some tips for Prague as we had visited it last year. Apparently life is very stressful in Malaysia too… so stress seems to be a thing in South Asia :).
Our bus arrived sharp at 11.15 and the driver helped with the loading of our luggage. We got in and the bus was really comfortable. This is the RegioJet bus which also runs the RegioJet trains. As we all got seated, the lady who was the coach stewardess announced that we will be starting late as there were protestors on the road.
I looked out of the window and there they were ! These were protestors against the climate change and there was a truly large gathering of activists. We had to wait nearly 45 minutes for the protestors to move out of our route.
This is the first time that we have witnessed a protest in a foreign country. Mostly it was young folk, students who had placards and balloons etc and they were walking on the main road, not allowing any traffic to move. They were very disciplined and no trash was thrown around.
Anyway, we reached Budapest around 3.30 pm. The bus driver had a bit of an altercation with a car driver just before we reached the Kelenfold Vasut Bus station. There seems to be some sort of problem with the RegioJet buses and the Budapest authorities because we were dropped off on a side road in front of the tram track !
We walked across to the Kelenfold metro station, bought two tickets to reach Keleti train station. Welcome to an ex-communist country ! There were two people standing at the entrance to check our tickets before letting us get onto the platform and take the train. Felt a little odd after nearly a month of not being asked for the ticket :). We reached the Keleti station and struggled to find our way out. I went to the info centre and was told that we cannot walk it down to the Airbnb. The lady there told us to get out of the “E” exit and take a bus.
We couldn’t find an elevator so we trudged up the steps to reach the ground level. Google maps showed the Airbnb to be just under 2 kms. So we decided to walk it down as we had just one suitcase with us. We started walking and realised that the pavement was like the pavements in India – uneven and broken in places but Budapest is a visual treat … the Keleti station building itself is stunning. We reached the Airbnb around 4.30 and called the host who came by and showed us how to get into the building. An ancient elevator took us up and then the houses were old style barracks, but on the inside, the apartment was great, large, well planned and very modern. The bedroom windows opened out to a small park and it was just beautiful. Our host informed us that Bryan Adams was coming to Heroes Square which was very near the Airbnb we were at, for a free concert. How exciting ! even if we don’t follow his music :).
We had seen a Spar nearby so we put our stuff in the apartment and went out for a short walk to stock up on our groceries. On the way we caught sight of this beautiful cathedral and a memorial.
We ate a light dinner and tried watching some television but everything was in the local language which we couldn’t understand. The world athletics championship was being aired and we watched that for some time as that doesn’t need any language skills :).
Tomorrow we start exploring Budapest. Liking the look of it already.