Jordan Brock

On a Budapest Bound Train

I’m currently sitting in a cabin on a train bound for Budapest. I’ve just been woken up by Hungarian Border Police, and had my passport stamped. First stamps in 3 weeks. Caren’s had a heap from all over the place, but no one seems to want to stamp mine.

There’s a couple of days to catch up, so I’ll quickly go through what’s been happening.

We left Carol and Marks house yesterday, after a fantastic week. After the flurry of activity on the first day, we didn’t do a great deal, other than go to New York. But that was actually just what we wanted. Very relaxing. So it was with a very heavy heart that we got onto the plane to London two nights ago.

A relatively horrid flight (smooth, but think of close encounters with a paper bag and you know what I mean), and an hour long bus ride to cover 3 Kms to the hotel, and we found ourselves in London. Rather than succumb to the sleep we craved, we decided to catch the train into Central London and have a bit of a poke around. The weather, was fairly typical for London. Grey skies, but not menacing.

Expecting the train to cost in the region of a car payment, we were pleasantly surprised to find that it was less than a fiver each. After about 45 minutes on the train we got to Piccadily Circus. We walked up the stairs from the Tube station and wouldn’t you know it, pouring down with rain.

Because I effectively hadn’t eaten for about 20 hours, we sought refuge in a Burger King, along with heaps of other people. One devoured lunch later we walked out, only to find that the rain had got heavier. We worked our way through the wet crowds of French tourists, found a bookstore and wasted an hour in there. We decided that we would go back to the hotel because the rain was too heavy.

On our way, it finally slowed up, so we went for a short walk to see if it would get better. Which it did, turning into quite a magnificent late afternoon, blue skies, bright crowds. So we got a chance to walk around, oohing and aahing appropriately, deciding that it was pretty good, but there is no way that we would want to live in London, unlike when we planned out our lives walking around Manhattan.

Back at the hotel we had another forgettable meal watching India beat Kenya (and that bastard Ganguly got a ton! Bah!) and had an early night before another big day’s travel.

A quick flight this morning and we were in Prague. The plan had originally been to spend the day in Praha, wandering around and to then catch the night train to Budapest. But neither of us felt up to that, so we got ourselves to the station for the afternoon train, after checking with our Budapest hotel that there was a room available.

The train was late by over an hour, and waiting on the platform was prety damn cold. So when the train turned up, we were glad to see it. We wandered down to the first class end (nothing but the best for us!), only to find that the carriage doors won’t open. “Hmmm.” We get onto the second class carriage, hoping to be able to walk through, but those doors won’t open either. A conductor ambles by and says “They are out of order”, not really seeming to care about it that much either. We grab a spare cabin in lowly second class (pretty good actually) and settle in for the 7 hour journey.

I spoke to an american who travels a lot in the area and he said that with Hungarian trains, if you get on one, and it’s going where you want to go, then count yourself lucky. Don’t ask questions about why things are missing, or why you can’t get into the first class carriage. Just sit back and enjoy the ride. Which I have to say has been quite pleasant.