The overnight train from Krakow was not quite as nice as our prior overnighter, which isn’t saying much. The biggest change was no air conditioning. We left the window open, which kept the temperature ok, but at the expense of a whole lot of noise. Waking up in fits to a blur of Slovakian countryside zipping by was a bit surreal. Despite this, I think Martha and I got a fairly decent night of sleep. Greg and Larissa seemed a bit more tired. After far too much hassle getting our bags into a train station locker, we grabbed some breakfast and did a little shopping before getting checked into our apartment. The “Budapest Card” that you can buy that covers unlimited public transit and discounts for like $15/day is absolutely worth it. We visited the opera house and strolled around a bit on our first day. On our second day we visited Heroes Square, Vajdahunyad Castle, Szechenyi Baths (Turkish baths), the Parliament Building, walked the Chain Bridge (Szechenyi Lanchid) and rode the Funicular to Castle Hill.
In parts (like near our train station), Budapest is a bit grittier than our prior stops. Situational awareness, particularly at night, has seemed more of a concern than in, say, Prague or Berlin. There are lots of Roma that camp out around the train station and Larissa was convinced they would enjoy the slightly over-toasted (burnt) bread we had left over from breakfast. We joked that it would be a good way to head off a Gyspy curse, but Greg said it might actually increase our chances because the bread was so burnt. The Larissa/Roma food donation went just fine, but if things take a turn for the worse that day may be remembered as “The Day of the Black Bread.” There was also a gypsy band* at Karpatia (dinner first night) serenading guests at their table and we were made to enjoy a couple songs. We likely dodged another curse by tipping them well on the way out. We’re heading to Slovakia next, and I’m already concerned about some kind of “Hostel” plotline. We can’t have a “Drag Me to Hell” hex making things worse.
Our train tomorrow is only a couple hours, but it’s really, really early. Our Hungary gallery is below:
*It was advertised as a Gypsy Band, we didn’t just decide to call them that.