Painting on rail station roof

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.
Painting on rail station roofIn each panel division in the station roof was a painting of Zagreb

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.

Jospin and his friendJosip and his friend, a delightful couple

As we travelled along we saw a number of abandoned houses and factories which, as explained by Josip, were as a result of the breakup of the Soviet Union. People did not have the money to maintain them and so simply abandoned them. We had seen the same in Croatia and Slovenia.

Abandoned factoryAn abandoned factory

Abandoned homeAn abandoned home

Relic of the socialist eraA relic of the Socialist era

We arrived at the main Budapest station at 17:30 – about a half hour 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.

Budapest stationBudapest main station

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.

Carved metal doorEntrance to our 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 bendy bus

This is the popular type of bus in many European cities. We called it a Bendy Bus

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. 

Budapest Heroes Monument 2On aspect of the Heroes Monument

Budapest Heroes Monument frontAnother aspect, maybe the front, of the Heroes Monument

Budapest Heroes Monument built after 1956 uprisingA portion of the frieze depicting the building of the monument

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!! 

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 Palace of Art  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.

Beautiful friezes on Art Museum wallSome of the beautiful friezes on the walls of the Palace of Art

 Budapest Art Museum entranceThe ornately decorated entrance to the Palace of Art

 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.

Budapest sculpture of woman contortionistStatue of a woman contortionist

Budapest park toilets Park toilets on their sides

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.It was a complete mixture of old and newer as well as both luxury and every-day run arounds.. I did a search but could not find anything which really explained the reason for this.

Chinese EmbassyThe Chinese Embassy building

A lovely steeple and 3 rubbish bins to keep cars in th bayA beautiful steeple towers over abandoned cars and rubbish bins

  As we reached the final corner before our hotel two bicycles with election advertising boards fitted to their cycles went past. I wondered if they were very unstable to ride but the 2 gentleman didn’t seem to have any problem.

Budapest electioneeringElectioneering in Budapest 

In Budapest and other Eastern European countries there were a number of things we saw for the first time. 

Beautiful example of an onion domed steepleA beautiful example of an onion domed steeple

Public electric bicyclesElectric bicycles for hire by the public

Budapest park exercise equipmentOutdoor excercise equipment. It is now popular all over the world

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.