Prior to my day of running around looking for my great grandfather, I slept for only a brief four hours. Even though I didn’t return from Trafó Club until nearly 5:30am on Friday morning I wanted to see and do as much as I possibly could before catching a train to Ljubljana first thing Saturday, so hours were at a premium. But as it turned out I ended up spending so long running around in the outskirts – nearly six hours in total – that by the time I made it back to the city, the railway office was already closed. It looked like I’d be staying until Sunday after all.
Thankfully, something good would come of the one-day delay: Kitti, who I met at Corvinteto on my first night out in Budapest, was celebrating her birthday on Saturday night and invited me to the party. As the weather was slated to be warm and beautiful, the party would take place in a park – which just happened to be right across from where I was staying. So rather than spending Saturday night on a train I could sample a local Hungarian birthday party and – hopefully – make my way West first thing in the morning. Plus I’d have one more sunny day to make the last few touristic stops I’d originally intended to squeeze in on Friday.
So after after a much-needed long night’s sleep* I woke up and headed straight to Keleti Station to reserve my ticket onwards to Slovenia.
This was my first real “flashback” of the trip – as Keleti Station is the very place where, for the first time in my life, I traveled internationally all on my own. It was on a European backpacking tour with my 3 best friends in college (video here); until Keleti Station we’d remained together pretty much the entire time, but here, in Budapest, I separated from the group and got on a train all alone, heading North into Slovakia to visit my grandmother’s birthplace. I distinctly remember my nervous trepidation when those doors hissed shut, my friends receded into the distance, and for the first time ever I was truly on my own.
It feels like a lifetime ago.
I reserved my ticket to Ljubljana for 2pm the following day (it turns out that leaving in the afternoon costs less than half of leaving in the morning) and returned once more to the Cog Railway that had been closed a few days earlier.
On the way there I passed through Buda’s main transit hub, Moscow Square. For the first time in weeks, the endless beautiful women I’d witnessed on the day of my arrival were again out in record numbers. It was as if the rains had forced everyone and everything into hiding, and only now did they pop out for a long-awaited breath of fresh air.
I think I may need to return to Hungary someday. And this time, I’d make sure to come in July-August. And no more university dorm lodging. Next time I’ll be staying here.
*Actually this isn’t quite true: I did hop on a tram and head downtown with the intention of going out Friday night as well, but when I got there I was just feeling so tired from my lack of sleep the previous night that I opted to head home and rest almost immediately. Bad Justin, no being lazy while on the road! 😉