great travels

Road trip! Day 2: An Evening in Budapest


We are on the way again to Budapest. Once we cross the Hungarian boarder, we are required to purchase a vignette, which is basically a toll for driving on the highway system. The information online states that this vignette is about 10 euros only the monetary unit here is not euros. It’s the Forint. Several vignette selling booths are around - but they all have an up charge and taints our first impression of Hungary. That and the random guy coming up to us offering to sell us a new S10 phone for a “real good price.” After, unsuccessfully, trying to buy an electronic vignette online, we acquiesce and purchase a vignette from one of the booths. Finally legal, we continue our drive only to see the official vignette sales office on the very next exit.

The hotel we have booked is just outside the inner city and appears to be along the highway. It is a strange configuration to be turning into the driveway directly off of the motorway but – well – there it is. The hotel offers free parking (yay), breakfast, and is close to a public transport stop. We check in and, map in hand, head out to take in some of the nightlife. Our first problem we encounter is not being able to find the train station. We are told it is about A 7 minute walk but the way is not really well signed. And we spend some time wandering around an old unused station before we are pointed in the right direction to buy our tickets.

Instead to the 49, we decide to take the subway (the Metro) to the inner city (the M4 to the M3). The first item on our list for tonight is some dinner. We select a Hungarian restaurant with good reviews and Start walking. Soon we realize that there may be an issue – it seems that this is a weekend for Octoberfest – making most of the restaurants full to the brim. We are hoping we will have luck at our chosen eatery. When we arrive, the outside seating is full despite the cool temperature so we elect to sit inside. In the doorway is violin player – I am unsure if he is part of the restaurant or just playing for change. Olaf orders the pork medallions but I go out on a limb and order a Hungarian goulash served over dumplings (similar to Spätzle). It is delicious and we both leave sated.

Our next plan is to walk in the part of the city with a thriving nightlife but after 20 minutes of walking, we realize it is farther than we thought and we abandon this idea for a walk through the inner city and a ride back the the warm hotel – we have a bottle of wine with our name on it and we want to be up early to explore the city (in the light) before we journey onward to our next stop.