24 Hours In Budapest And An Adventurous 24 Hours Trip Back Home

Day 214/365: Missing your train is harsh!

Buda Castle with some heavy clouds over it

13:04 — Our train arrived at Budapest Keleti station about an hour late. The border crossings were simply too long to be reasonable. Why would you need to have two border controls if the two countries are both in the European Union? They had ladders to check for immigrants on the train. Hillarious!

13:23 — We quickly manage to get a hold of the underground system and catch our first ride to Astoria;

13:44 — The first stop is Blue Rose, a small local restaurant where we eat our very first Hungarian goulash. It was absolutely amazing!

14:04 — After taking some photos of the Danube, we get the bus from Astoria to Corvin Square, where our hotel is. Check-in is a little slow as the room is not ready yet, but the staff at Thomas, a Novum Hotel is very warm and have us wait in a small inside courtyard;

14:25 — The room is ready!

16:45 — We didn’t came to Budapest to just sleep! We leave the hotel to go for some sushi;

18:05 — The tram and bus systems in Budapest are spot on, but for a sleepy guy, it was a mess trying to figure it out in the first place. I am usually a great oriented person, but for some reason, it took me almost an hour to find the station from where the tram was leaving. The station was under a bridge, I thought it was on the bridge itself, which created a lot of confusion;

Just a random building in central Budapest

18:30 — After a brisk walk, we finally got to the sushi place. The problem was, I hadn’t realised the restaurant was a high-end one. I’m not talking leave-your-kidney-here type of high-end. I’m talking 5-Euros-for-a-cup-of-tap-water type of high-end. We paid for the water (with my card, of course, it’s all high-end) and then left the area. The restaurant is right next to the Four Seasons and the Sofitel hotels. Go figure…

19:09 — We found a small restaurant on the Danube’s bank, but the winds were so brutally powerful, we had to leave because the terrace was lifted off of our heads. We caught the tram back to our area;

19:43 — The tram left us in the underground section of the bridge from earlier, which was lucky enough as there was a very hard downpouring for about 20 minutes;

20:10 — We decide on leaving the cover and heading straight into the rain. We found some supermarket sushi at Aldi and also grabbed some beef and noodles from a Chinese place;

The goddamn trams/busses/underground can be complicated at times

20:45 — Soaked because of the rain, we finally made it back to the hotel and had some dinner. It was quite delicious actually, and it only costed about 1/10th of the one we would’ve had at the fancy place. Not a bad save!

21:05 — You can’t do much in Budapest at night and when it rains, so after some chatting and some bathing, we turned in for the night, not before spending about an hour on the balcony, watching planes depart from Budapest’s International Airport. It was magical!

The next morning…

09:05 — There was some leftover sushi in the fridge. We sort of fought over it as we forgot to book any breakfast at the hotel. It was fine, but my stomach is still mad about it, two weeks later;

10:40 — After some showering and some packing, we left the great hotel behind and headed for some sightseeing around the area. We spent about an hour or so in a local mall, where I failed to get me some running shoes. Luckily, they had a Starbucks so we could grab some Fraps on our way out;

12:03 — We managed to find a place called Belvárosi Lugas Vendéglő. Just Google it. It was by far the best thing we’ve ate in Budapest and probably one of the best, most affordable places in the central part of town. We started off with some goulash;

The Hungarian goulash

12:23 — Our main course was a deer stew with potatoes which we split between the two of us. It was so rich, decadent and extremely filling. Just the best combination possible!

Deer stew with baked potatoes

13:00 — After paying for our lunch, we headed to the most impressive St. Stephen’s Basilica which was right across the street from the restaurant. This church is simply beautiful!

St. Stephen’s Basilica, Budapest

13:45 — We strolled for a bit around the area and then went for the metro for one last trip to Keleti station;

14:30 — We arrived at the station and decided to go for some ice cream and also packed two Whoppers from the Burger King down the street;

14:58 — After we were done with everything, we started heading for the station;

15:03 — We enter the station and see that our train was leaving at 15:05. On the DB website, the official hour for the train’s departure was 15:30. Afterwards, I saw that they modified the time to 15:10. We arrived on the platform at 15:04 and the train, which was supposed to leave at 15:30, then 15:10, then 15:05, was gone;

Happy place, happy place!

15:15 — A small fight broke out between me and my dad. It was only natural, as we were both extremely angry about missing our train. After we both took a deep breath, we went to the information point and asked for the next train back home. We found only one train that was leaving for Romania that Sunday. It was a train bound for Brasov, which entered Romania through Oradea, a city 200 kilometres away from home. The price was about 65 bucks for two tickets. Ouch!

16:05 — The train leaves on the dot for Oradea. We are on board and heading home. Well, at least for Romania;

00:00 — With about 20 minutes in delays, the train finally pulls up to Oradea’s train station. We walked to the nearest hotel and booked a room for the night. We paid about 42 bucks for it. Ouch nr. 2!

07:30 — The nice ladies at the hotel set up the breakfast buffet an hour earlier for us. We ate and then quickly walked to the station. The fear of missing the morning train to Timisoara, a city 50 kilometres away from home, was as high as it could be after the events of the previous day;

8:30 — We are on board and heading home!

Overall a nice trip!

11:36 — The train arrives ON THE DOT, which is extremely uncommon for Romania!

12:40 — After a few more trams and busses, we got to a hitchhiking place and managed to find a guy who’d take us all the way home for 3 bucks each. Yes, please!

14:00 — We’re back home, all tucked in and ready for a long nap. What an excursion!

Pro tips for a successful city break:

  • always go over the trams and underground lines before leaving home when you’re going to a new big city;
  • never go to a restaurant that’s close to big, 5-star hotels, as they’re probably out of your budget-traveller budget;
  • always bring an umbrella in your backpack;
  • supermarket sushi? Maybe not the best idea;
  • triple-check the trains schedule on the day you arrive in a new city, especially in Eastern Europe. Check the information booth inside the station for the exact departure time of your train back home. You never know!
  • always have some cash, as well as some money on your card for extras when you’re travelling. If it weren’t for the 100 bucks on my card that day, I’d have been left with no chances of getting back home and would have had to wait in the station for the next train on my ticket, which was scheduled for the next evening.

Safe travels!

Thank you for your time!

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