Zagreb to Budapest by train

We left Zagreb by train on our way to Budapest and this proved to be quite an energetic escapade. The rail lines between the 2 cities were being relaid and so our trip consisted of:

  1. one hour on the train
  2. a half hour by bus
  3. three minutes on a train to cross the border and get our passports stamped
  4. twenty minutes by bus
  5. an hour by train
  6. another half hour by bus
  7. the final hour and a half by train
Each change required us taking our luggage on and off the transport! It was a truly exhausting trip. This and our trip to Scandinavia in Dec 2015/Jan 2016 confirmed that we have now passed the stage of using a train pass and struggling with luggage. We are looking forward to doing cruises or coach tours in future. In fact, we have already booked a River Cruise consisting of 7 nights on the Danube plus 3 nights in Prague, in April.

There was one particularly happy event with regard to our train trip. At the Zagreb station we met a very nice young Bosnian man, Josip Perić, who was able to translate all the announcements for us, both on the platform and on the train. About 10 mins before our departure a young Croatian lady, Tina Fistrović, joined us as she turned out to be a friend of Josip. We shared a compartment with them and it really was a relief from all the other hassles. Two lovely young people on their way back to their universities in Prague. One of the great joys (and sometimes issues) with travelling both locally and abroad is meeting people.

We arrived at the main Budapest station at 17:30 – about a half later than expected due to the time spent changing trains to buses and vice versa. Then we learnt that we still had to take the Metro to the other side of the Danube River. Budapes(ch)t is actually two separate cities – Buda and Pes(ch)t and our hotel was in Pes(ch)t and we were now in Buda! Fifteen minutes later we arrived at the correct station and, after getting directions from 4 different people who all gave a different explanation, we discovered that our hotel was less than a 2-minute walk away.

Now for the next surprise. The entrance to the hotel was a big brass door off the street leading into a passage from where we had to take the lift up to the 5th floor as the hotel itself is situated on the 5th & 6th floors of a building. We finally checked in at 18:30, an hour and a half later than planned but received a very friendly reception. As it was still light and bright we went out for a walk for about an hour, ate a very uninteresting and tasteless supper at a McDonalds and returned to the hotel.

We had expected to have at least 2-3 hours to do some sight-seeing the first evening as well as 3 hours the next day. It was not a lot but, as our Berlin hotel had not agreed to our reducing the number of nights we stayed there, meant that we were limited to just the one night in Budapest. Although we arose a bit later than planned we were out walking by 08:00. It was a beautiful clear day which was not too warm so perfect for walking. A short distance down the road we came to a lovely large park at one end of which was the Heroes Monument built to celebrate the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. It was a most interesting but impossible to actually understand sculpture. Close to this was a huge wheel timepiece with a sand timer which seemed to be out of action. Trevor tried giving the wheel a turn without success. It was STUCK!!Budapest Heroes Monument builtFrieze showing the building of the Heroes MonumentBudapest Heroes MonumentRear of Heroes MonumentBudapest Heroes Monument frontFront of the Heroes Monument

Further down the road we arrived at a beautiful ornate building with dozens of coaches parked outside and tourists pouring out of them. As we approached we discovered it was the Art Gallery and were allowed a quick peek even though we were not actually going in. What a nice doorman. It was one of the most ornate buildings, both inside and out, that we have ever seen.Budapest Art Museum entranceBudapest Art Museum entranceBudapest Art MuseumA wall of the Art Museum

We worked our way back to the hotel and station through the park and saw some interesting, beautiful and hilarious things. There was a fascinating sculpture of a woman contortionist in pink and yellow, some portable toilets lying on their side, a set of adult exercise equipment and some of the largest crows ever. The park itself was quite beautiful with tall green trees and well-manicured lawns. We took a different street back to the hotel passing some architecturally beautiful homes, churches and office buildings, one of which was the Chinese Embassy. Yes, it is painted in red and yellow but looks very stately.

All along the street were a number of parked cars which had clearly not been moved for months – flat tyres, very dirty and some even had plants growing around them in the gutter. I did a search but could not find anything which really explained the reason for this. Unlike the reason for cars abandoned in Dubai for which there are plenty of pages. It was a complete mixture of old and newer as well as both luxury and every-day run arounds.Budapest park toilets Budapest park toilets - How does one use them?As we reached the final corner before our hotel two bicycles with election advertising boards fitted to their cycles. I wondered if they were very unstable to ride but the 2 gentleman didn’t seem to have any problem.

Budapest electioneeringElectioneering in Budapest

The hotel management had kindly allowed us to keep our room for an extra hour so that we were able to shower and change before taking the metro to the main station once more. Budapest was not a favourite place to visit but it was very interesting and the people helpful and friendly. We will be spending a day there on our Danube Cruise in April so look forward to seeing something different.

 

About Me

I was born into the early part of the Baby Boomer generation, the 3rd of what came to be a family of 6 daughters. Although both our parents, who are now deceased, had been raised in rural Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal) and the 2 eldest daughters were born in a country town, the other 4 of us were all born at home in Durban. Read More

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