Budapest to Slovakia

This morning we found our taxi driver asleep in his car outside our hotel, which was kind of funny. What wasn’t funny was being taken the long way to the station  – about 3 times as far as we’d walked the previous day to buy our tickets. Le sigh.

Early morning light at Keleti station.

Still, we found our train and, after being asked to move seats, realised that there was an allocation system that we weren’t part of so we found some unoccupied seats and got comfortable. Hungarian trains are pretty nice and the toilet was decent too. Unlike toilets on Vietnamese trains, which are full of water. Full on a train. Don’t get me started.

Anyhoo. The hostel website was full of confidently brief directions on how to get there via public transport so we didn’t do all the research we should’ve. Note to selves and other travelers: if you’re taking trains in non-English speaking countries don’t just work out where you’re getting on and off, look at the last stop on your line because that’s what the signs will say. No problem with our first train as it stopped at Kosice on the border. Unfortunately our next stop, Poprad, wasn’t the final stop on that line so in the 15 minutes we had to make the connection there was a bit of stressful hurrying about trying to work out which train we wanted. Not ideal when you’re carrying all your worldly possessions on your back.

We found the right train, though, and then got off at Poprad. About 20 minutes before Poprad the view goes from flat fields to OMG! MOUNTAINS! Big, jagged, snow covered mountains. Since this is something I can’t ever recall seeing in such magnitude and at such close proximity previously I was very impressed.

With luck and our last few euros we hopped on the bus to Zdiar and made it to our hostel, the Ginger Monkey. This place was recommended by our friend Ben, who was here a while back. Probably not at the same time of year though – it’s just us and one other guy here at the moment, with a girl arriving tomorrow. I don’t mind a bit of quiet though and it’s a stunning place to have a break.

With no restaurants open during weekdays in the off season, we walked down to the local mini mart with the hostel’s dog, Wally, and bought ingredients for tuna pasta. This will be the second from-scratch meal I’ll have made in two months.

After bringing our food back we took both dogs for a wander, hoping to find the river walk. Miraculously, in a village with two streets, we managed not to find it and lost both dogs along the way. No doubt they’re off greeting all the other dogs we passed – there’s more dogs here than people if our walk was anything to go by.

I’m saving the mountain photos for tomorrow. Tonight will be maybe a movie and then definitely and early night. Hopefully there’ll be blue skies for a nice long walk tomorrow.

6 thoughts on “Budapest to Slovakia

  1. Oh god, I have the WORST memories of Hungarian trains. Namely, catching an over-nighters from Budapest to Croatia, which was *supposed* to be non-stop, no changes, and was *supposed* to take 14 odd hours. 26 hours, one unexpected, rushed change at the border, and an almost entire trip spent huddled with five other backpackers on the floor between carriages as the train we had to change on to was full, and a few occasions of almost falling backwards out of the train when the doors I was sleeping against opened, we finally arrived in Croatia. Glad your trip was much less painful!

    That photo you posted of your hostel view looks amazing! I’m planning on visiting a friend in Bratislava in September so might have to go exploring 🙂

    • Good god, that sounds awful! I’m very happy we didn’t go through anything like that. If your friends has recommedations for things to do in Bratislava, let me know. Nearly everyone we’ve spoken to is all ‘Bratislava is boring!’ but I imagine a local knows where to go and what to do.

    • Wow. That puts the few strained moments we’ve had this trip in perspective. Fortunately we’ve had nothing like that! Worst so far has having to rebook a Ryanair flight because their name change fee was astronomical and they refused to budge on it, but rebooking was only about 20 quid less than the fee. I think I’d prefer an inconvenience that I can solve with phone calls, internet and cash than one where I have to sleep on the floor of murderous public transport for extended periods. 😛

      When we catch up with you we really must swap more travel stories! 😀

  2. Just sent her a message 🙂 She works in film/the arts, so I’m sure she’d have some good tips!

    Yeah, I had a few epic trips like that. Horrible at the time, but hey, they make for good stories 😉

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