It took the aircraft 5 hours to reach Budapest, in Hungary. We had boarded the flight in Dubai, and this was the last leg, the first being, Delhi – Dubai. I was asleep on the empty seats for most of the duration of the flight.
We collected our backpacks from the luggage belt and walked out of the airport. There was nothing to declare at the customs.
We boarded a bus outside the airport that would drop us to the main city. From that bus stop, we had to find the metro station and board the train that would take us to another train station, from where trains left for longer journeys, or journeys to other countries. Ours, once we boarded the right one, would take us to Lake Balaton. Finding the bus stop was not difficult. It was right outside the airport. The bus took us to the main city.
We got off the bus. With confused looks on our faces, we looked into our phones at the google maps app, and then we started spearheading in every direction possible, to find the correct metro station. There were only two that we had to choose from. But they were in opposite directions!! Close to where the bus had dropped us off at. We were lost for a good 15 minutes.
According to our experiences from all our travels till date, the first day in any city has been difficult to get a grip on, especially the directions. We usually find ourselves going in every direction until we realize, we are going round and round in circles. And this was the case, on that particular day in Budapest as well.
We had 2 backpacks each. My daypack was heavier than Anoop’s so he vouched to carry it for me and I, his. We had our down jackets on, the backpacks on our backs, and since we had already hauled ourselves with all the luggage in all directions possible, except up and down, for the last 15 odd minutes or so, we were sweating, and that made us even more miserable than usual. We had poor 4G connections on both our phones. It took us 15 more minutes of doing this, until we did something right.
I am not complaining. This happens to us every time we arrived in a new city or a town. Everything was alien. English was not spoken by people, so asking for directions was pointless. We were being stared at. It was a hilarious situation in hindsight.
We eventually figured it out and finally found the correct metro line, on which the train would take us to the main Budapest Deli station. WE got onto the metro train. Another 15 minutes and we found ourselves boarding off the train, and standing on a heavily loaded, long elevator, going upwards, towards the skies and outside the building. Another 10 minutes of walking with our, oh so heavy backpacks, and following the universal signs that led to the train station, we made it. The signs were universal but the language was Hungarian. So, we relied on the signs that were universal. Victory!! We made it to the train station.
We found a spot to keep our backpacks. Anoop and I hugged. Part 1, 2, 3 were all over. Now onto the next part!
We now had to figure out where to buy the tickets from, for the train we had to take. I guarded our backpacks outside the station, near the wooden seats, that were made available for the public to rest on, while they waited for their trains to depart. Anoop in the meanwhile, got the tickets for Siofok, Lake Balaton. The tickets did not mention the platform. We didn’t speak Hungarian and there were 13 platforms to choose from. For the sake of another adventure, we even contemplated getting onto one of the trains that could take us to a destination unheard of. Just kidding! But we did not.
Instead, we found a worker, clad in a fluorescent jacket and he had a tag on. and that is why we thought he worked at the train station. We showed him our ticket. He was kind enough to help us out. He didn’t speak English. And then Anoop asked him about the trains lined up there and which one of them went to Siofok? Anoop just said the word ‘Siofok’. With a smile on his face, the man spoke to us in Hungarian, and we assumed he said he did not know, as his gestures and the movement of his hands suggested so, and that he would come back with the information. That was good enough for us! Phew!! We waited there for a bit.
While he went to look for the information, we decided to grab something to eat. Again, I found myself guarding the backpacks. I lit a cigarette, while Anoop went and bought us 2 slices of pepperoni pizza and a bottle of coke. AS soon as we thought we had time to eat, the worker showed up and told us he had found our train. We heaved our bigger backpacks on our backs again and then the daypacks on our chests and shouldered them and then got hold of the grubs we had just picked up from the cafeteria and then walked behind the man. He pointed at the train, when we reached the platform. WE thanked him and made our way to the coaches. We got into one of the coaches and put away the backpacks. The ticket checker came and he informed us that we had half an hour before train departed the station.
We ate the pizza slices and sipped some coke. After all of this, I had some time to breathe and then I took off both the jackets and sipped on the coke. After we finished eating, Anoop decided to bring us 2 cups of Americano coffee. He returned in 10 minutes. As we sipped on to our coffees, the doors of the coaches closed. They were automated doors and they made a sound as they closed. The whistle went off! And soon after, the train left the station.