Across Continents

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Budapest or bust

I thought Budapest at night quite beautiful. I’d have appreciated it more, but it was rush hour, I’d only a rough idea where I was, and even less of a clue as to how to reach my destination. The day had started well enough. The sign I’d seen the previous night had definitely said hundred kilometres to the capital. But by early afternoon I found I’d still a good sixty kilometres remaining and about two hours of daylight remaining. Not good.

As the light began to fail, I’d at least reached streets that were lit. I have lights, but they’re so you can see me on the road, not bright enough to navigate by. And a map that has the entire country on one sheet wasn’t a huge help. My destination was the Aboriginal Hostel in downtown Budapest. I’d a bed booked in the dormitory, and the flyer I’d picked up in Bratislava had a small map. Helpful in daylight, but much more tricky to decipher under street lighting. At least it’s not raining.

Judging progress in urban areas, the starting and stopping of traffic, studying each and every road signs looking for hints as to where you might be, is difficult at the best of times, but especially so at night. Always much slower than you’d ever imagine. Much slower. It’d been dark for a good hour when I finally reached the city centre. Almost there. I pick my way through the pedestrian areas and quieter back streets to reach the hostel. Then a problem. An arterial route, one of several to be traversed, can only be crossed by means of an underpass. Steps. Not a chance. A lengthy detour then back on track.

Buzzer

It’s been dark now for several hours. I reach the square I’ve been searching for. But no hostel. Double check the map. Hungarian street names don’t exactly stick in the brain, but I’m sure I’m in the right place. Definitely. Ten more minutes of pacing up and down, then a careful re-read of the address. Number 46. Must be here. I find it. An old apartment block. But the hostel? Careful study of the list beneath the buzzer. Found it. At last. Job done. For tonight.

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One response to “Budapest or bust”

  1. Hello, this is Cassie. We met at the bike rack at the hostel in Bratislava. We’re back home now, and we were checking out your blog. You seemed to have had similar experiences to us along your trip along the Danube. We stayed at the Boomerang Hostel in downtown Budapest, and we had similar trouble figuring out where the hostel was. The brochure had a picture of the building where the hostel was located, so we knew we were at the right place. But, we couldn’t figure out where the hostel was in the building. We walked completely around the building, and then, we saw the small sign for the hostel on the door. We had to press 11 on the buzzer to get in. We’ll be interested to hear about the rest of your trip. Good luck and happy travels!

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