Europe day seven (Sept 14): The Long Way To Budapest

After breakfast, I walked around near the hotel a bit.   I passed a window with some art on display.   One piece really caught my eye.  A high-heeled shoe made from spent shell casings and part of a revolver.

IMG_3842

I had to grab a subway to go the three stops to the main train station.

The train taking me from Vienna to Budapest was scheduled to leave at 08:12.  I arrived at the train station on time.   I look on the departures board to find that my train had been cancelled.   In fact all trains to Budapest had been cancelled.  I wouldn’t have minded a few extra nights in Vienna, but I had already checked out of my hotel.   Also, my departing flight was from Budapest.   I went to the ticket office, thinking about what I’d do if I were stuck.

I’m here at the time of the Syrian refugee crisis and certain borders have been closed to try and contain the mess.

My tickets were purchased over a month in advance.   They were no longer selling tickets for these particular trains.

The ticket office handed me a revised schedule.  Language was a barrier, so I received little information.   I found the platform number on the ticket and headed there.    There was a small band of us who were figuring it out together.

TrainAndBusTicketsRevisedTrainItinerary

A small commuter train pulls up at the appointed time; there were no train staff around.   We decided it was our train and we all boarded.    The group consisted of myself, an Australian couple, and a Cuban couple from Miami.

The original train itinerary  had me scheduled to  pass through Hegyeshalom, Hungary.   The revised itinerary had me changing trains in Sopron, Hungary and getting to Budapest via Györ.

The trains were fairly slow,  but I got to see a lot of small towns and the countryside.

There was a conductor on the train who was both empathetic and helpful.  He was explaining to me that once we got to Sopron that we had two minute to change trains.   I wasn’t scheduled to go through Sopron and so my ticket wasn’t technically legal.   He said I wouldn’t have time to purchase the amended ticket and that he would let me on anyway.

The train from Sopron to Budapest was cancelled, but they had busses.   I purchased a bus ticket from Sopron to Györ for 1680 forints (approx $6.10).  The bus wouldn’t be leaving for an hour.   I started wandering the area.   I found a grocery store and an ATM.   I had Euros, Dollars, and Cz Crowns, but no local currency.   I withdrew 25,000 forints ($95) and went shopping.   I bought beer, water, peanuts, and crackers.

I told my new Cuban friends (Mani & Mary) about the market and they went and bought more beer and sandwich fixings.

Mani and Mary were both helping out a group of people from Argentina since they spoke Spanish.

We drank beer, had sandwiches and snacks, and had a reasonably good time.

Makes for a lot better story than, “I took a high-speed train to Budapest”.

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