10th of August. Monday.
I got the train from Innsbruck, Austria at 5am to Budapest, Hungary. The sunrise was beautiful.
I thought I’d have to change but it turned out it was in fact a direct train. I had however misunderstood the instructions in Innsbruck and sat in the wrong section of the train, so I almost didn’t get to Budapest, and also nearly lost the train entirely when I jumped off at a random station to get into the right section. My minimal German had failed me.
As the train pulled out of Vienna it got very crowded and I ended up sat in the aisle. But I made friends with an Italian person I was sat next to. We played cards and I taught them the numbers one to ten in Irish (bhí mo phaicéad chártaí trí Gaeilge, buíochas le Foras na Gaeilge). We parted ways at the station as they went to meet their friends, after helping me find my tram to Haller Utca, where I was planning to camp.
It was 2,700 forint per night (or about €25 for three nights – with the fourth night free). They also had free Wifi and the showers were free. The camp managers had quite a laugh when I said I’d had to pay to shower in the camp-site in Munich, Germany. But Budapest is very cheap, especially in comparison to Munich.
The weather was even hotter than in Bruneck, Italy. So no need for the second layer on your tent most of the time. I did realise here that one of my tent poles had nearly shattered. It looked like it was weakened some how. It was sorted with some duct tape.
I’d visited Budapest once before for a fire-performance training course and had stayed in the hotel near the camp-site, so I knew the area quite well.
Unfortunately I realised I was running out of money and decided there to go straight to Berlin, and fly back to Ireland from there. I originally planned to stop in Prague on the way, and go to Belgium or the Netherlands from Berlin. I booked the flight on my phone for the 22nd from Tegel (cheapest flight). I took a short wander around that evening.
On the Tuesday I wandered over to the train station to buy my train ticket to Berlin. When I had looked them up online the cheapest has been about €80 but the site was difficult to understand so I decided I’d go straight to the train station to investigate.
I waited a long time (just shy of three hours) to buy a ticket. But while I waited I was given some bags of cold water, which was pretty fantastic.
I had a problem with my card while trying to purchase a train ticket (which ended up being being €39) which meant my card was locked, making it unusable. I used up most of my phone credit trying to contact AIB and eventually went to the Irish Embassy so I could basically use their phone.
Long winded description of what happened with my card:
I ended up ringing AIB multiple times and was told twice my card had been unlocked. The third time I was told I could finish unlocking it by using the Pin Services on any ATM. However foreign cards can’t do this on local ATMs. I got some money out at a desk somehow. I decided to wait ’til I got to Berlin where I thought I’d have better luck dealing with their banks. This will be continued in the next post but long story short I had to very embarrassedly contact a family member and ask them to send me money via Western Union.
With hardly any money on me, I spent my last three days in Budapest wandering around looking at some of the art and enjoying the dusty heat.
I spent a lot of time reading and napping in the shade of a tree in the camp-site and woke up to some wildlife a few times.
I took one last wander around on my last full day, and promised I’d visit again and be more organised with my money.
I spent my last 350 forint (about €1.15) on lángos, a traditional Hungarian food, which is basically deep-fried flat bread, which you cover with cour-cream and cheese. A stall near the camp-site does it and it was something I was really looking forward to having all week!
Finally, on Friday the 14th I packed up my tent for the last time. My cheap two person tent had done its job for the trip. I headed on over to the train station and hopped on my train at 10am, prepared for my 12-hour journey to Berlin.