The cog railway up into the Buda Hills was absolutely the most bumpy, rickety train I’ve ridden in my entire life. I don’t think they could’ve made it rougher if they tried. But it was good fun, and the young toddler bouncing up and down as he hummed to the rhythm of the train a riot to watch – nearly everyone in the car had a big smile the whole way up.
Not to mention that thanks to my handy Budapest Card, the ride was completely free of charge 🙂
The natural scenery in the Buda Hills reminded me almost immediately of Idyllwild, California – a totally different world from central Budapest just minutes below. Envision rolling hills packed with tall green trees and speckled periodically with large, secluded homes as pristine and modern as any.
From the top of the cog railway I continued through a leafy-green park to the start of the Children’s Railway, a short train line staffed entirely by schoolchildren between the ages of 10 and 14 (except the head engineer).
The moment I stepped into the station I heard an explosion.
“Whoa, one of the kids must’ve screwed up!” I thought – but as it turned out at that very moment there was some sort of war reenactment going on, with little kids dressed as old-style infantry firing off muskets with real live gunpowder.
The Children’s Railway itself runs about fifteen minutes through the thick mountain forest stopping half a dozen times at a variety of parks and trailheads along the way. The ride was nice, but perhaps unsurprisingly, far more entertaining were the staff themselves. Though most of them did appear closer to the 14yr old range than 10, having little kids come around to check your ticket, take your money, and salute the train as it leaves each and every station – all dressed in little conductor outfits and caps – was a real trip.
I rode the train about half its distance to Janos Hegy station where it was just a kilometer or so of hiking to the highest point in Budapest, with a great outlook over the city (photo in the previous post). From here it was a short chairlift ride back down the hill, then a local bus back to Moscow Square.
Means of transit for the day: tram, subway, bus, cog railway, steam train, and chairlift. Not bad for getting started at noon 😛