Friday, December 01, 2006 Austria Austria / Germany Germany / Hungary Hungary

Train to Budapest

Budapest stairwell [Enlarge]

We walked down to Munich's Hauptbahnhof in plenty of time for the 09:28 train to Budapest Keleti Pályaudvar (East Station), via Salzburg, Vienna and Győr. We had paid the extra EUR 6.00 (GBP 4.00 / USD 8.00) for a reservation and our non-smoking window seats were in a compartment in carriage 258. As we walked along the platform we passed carriages 260, 259, then 257… We eventually found 258 right at the end of the train, dark and empty. "Der Wagen ist kaputt" came a shout from inside, along with an instruction in German that our reservations were probably to be found in coach 259. Indeed they were, but unfortunately we no longer had window seats. The other people in our compartment were all German, three going to Salzburg and one to Vienna. We moved over to the window seats when they got out.

As we crossed the border into Hungary a troop of border guards got on at the frontier station of Hegyeshalom and made their way down the train. These were the first border guards we had seen since the French ones at Dover, but their visit was uneventful and they quickly worked their way down the train before getting off at the next station. It got dark soon afterwards so we didn’t see much of the Hungarian countryside before Budapest.

The Vámház Hostel was about 25 minutes’ walk from Keleti Station, but the walk was well worth it as the hostel is located right next to the Danube and bang in the middle of Pest (Budapest is actually the result of the merger of two old cities, Buda on the West bank of the Danube and Pest on the East). The hostel is in a top-floor apartment of a massive townhouse and the long climb up the staircase to it (see photo) evokes images of the communist era. The hostel was very clean and friendly, with unlimited free internet and coffee. Having checked in we headed out for a meal of Goulash Soup (Gulyásleves) followed by veal at the first restaurant we could find without a board outside proudly inviting us in to sample the "Tourist Menu". Anything would have probably tasted good after a long day's travelling, but this was excellent.

Map of Day 007

Day 007
Munich to Budapest

This map shows the route we took in this post. Click it to see larger maps of our whole route at flickr.

Maps are taken from the CIA World Factbook.


Jimmy K. said...

What was in the soup?

Glenn Livett said...

Goulash soup is the de facto national dish of Hungary. See