(This is the 17th post of our Croatia-Budapest trip, June-July 2014)
Saturday, June 28
We thought we had paid for a high-speed first-class rail ticket, but apparently there was some problem with the train, or our brains when we made the reservation (don’t think so), or something, so we were we to take Train A and transfer to Train B up the line.
So what was supposed to be a quick 4-hour ride, ended up being a train ride to oblivion. Because we had fancy tickets, we had to kick out some squatters in our seats. By some miracle the numbers matched up and they left.
All the cars had been tagged with graffiti.
We kept stopping and adding more cars. The train would shudder as they’d connect, then we’d slowly take off again. This was repeated several times, until at the above stop, we added cars and then chugged backwards. We had started out with a relatively small train in Zagreb, but when it was time to get off the train in Budapest (nearly an hour late), the train was so long, that those of us in the nice car (which had been at the front at the beginning of the trip) were so far back we had no train walkway to land onto — only train tracks. Instead we walked through several cars to get to where we could see the train platform of sorts — this was patchy asphalt — but worried about being carried back to Zagreb, so hurriedly got off, dragging our suitcases until we made it to the less-patchy asphalt platform. We weren’t in Kansas, Toto, and it felt like it.
We try to hit the bathrooms before figuring out the next transportation hassle, but the bathrooms require coins. Florints, Budapest coins. So we finally find an ATM, get some money, but need change, so we buy our subway tickets (someday we are just going to take a cab, I know it), get the change. Then we take turns watching the luggage while the other person uses the bathroom. Holding our subway tickets in the air, to show the guards at the top of the escalator we are law-abiding tourists, we head down into the mass transit system.
Dave is in front of me by two paces, and as he rounds the corner toward the train, the doors are open and it is waiting. He starts to make a run for it. I holler at the top of my lungs, “Don’t you dare get on that train!” and he freezes just before jumping inside. I can envision him being whisked off to somewhere in Budapest while I am left on the platform to dissolve in tears, weeping as he leaves me behind, no money (he had all the florints), no husband, nothing. Luckily our marriage was saved by his good reflexes, and we caught the next train.
We took the train to a street-level tram (signs on the street, above) and by following the maps I’d printed off at home, make it to our Palace. No kidding. It’s Hotel Palazzo Zichy and it used to be some nobleman’s palace of a home-now-turned-hotel. We loved it.
(Many of my reviews of Budapest are found on TripAdvisor.)
Bordering this little square are the hotel, a church, a very fancy (apartment?) building, and a more normal apartment building with a pub in the basement. In the dimming light, we take photos of the surroundings.
More details about him on the hotel’s website.We are too worn out to do anything else, so after these two tasks: eat an amazing meal and explore the square, we walk back across the street to hotel.
Our internet works fine, and I laugh at the translated website: “Perhaps a little maintenance on our own selves is why summertime is such a tonic, even if we don’t know what ails us.” The bistro and this hotel are the tonic tonight, complete with chocolate on our pillows.
Next post: Camera-less Tourist and Castle Hill