For the first time in quite awhile I actually got a decent nights’ sleep.
I didn’t sleep a full 8 hours (I have yet to do that on this trip) but at least there was no snorer in the room – probably thanks to being in a room with 4 women and only one other man.
When I opened my eyes this morning and saw it was 7:30 my first thought was just to go back to sleep.
But then I remembered I was sharing a room with 4 girls and I should probably get in the bathroom before they all wake up.
I had time this morning before my walking tour so I sat in front of my netbook setting up google maps for Budapest.
Let me say that there are few things more frustrating than trying to do something on the computer with slow wifi.
Oh my God – I wanted to tear my hair out as I waited for the maps to load up.
I finally gave in and went downstairs to check out and grab their all you can eat breakfast for 3.90 euros ($6).
The breakfast was your typical hostel spread of bread, cold cuts, cheese and jams. There was also fruits and cereals and orange juice to drink.
Overall not too shabby and the bonus part was that I could make a sandwich for my bus ride later in the afternoon.
Just before 10am I headed to the walking tour.
Now, remember last night when I said I found that free walking tour and a weight had been lifted off my shoulders?
Well, after I submitted the blog around midnight I went downstairs to get some stuff printed out. I asked the girl about the address for the meeting point for the tour and that’s when she told me that the free tour wasn’t going to run today.
Sigh… back to frustration.
All I wanted to do was go upstairs and sleep and now I had to figure out what I was going to do today.
I ended up booking a paid tour online with some company for 15 euros ($22).
I hate doing these kinds of tours but I was in a spot and I didn’t want to just wander about Vienna on my one and only day here.
So, yeah, at 10am I headed to the meeting spot for the tour.
The tour had about 20 people in it and it wasn’t bad but it also wasn’t great.
Our guide told alot of anecdotes but never really any stories about the history of Austria unlike what I heard in Prague and Bratislava.
In the end it ended up being more like the tour I did in St Petersburg where I just tuned out the guide after awhile and just let him lead me to places to take photos.
So, I did take lots of photos and did see alot of the amazing architecture and beauty of the town – I just didn’t really learn anything about its’ history.
The tour ended at 1pm which was just enough time to grab some lunch and head to the bus station for my 3pm trip to Budapest.
For lunch I decided to just hop off a random stop between the center of town and where I was staying to see if I would have some luck finding a restaurant serving Austrian food.
I was in luck as I walked into a cafe just meters away from the metro station I got off at.
I ordered the sausage with goulash figuring I’d enjoy two separate Austrian dishes.
It was a good meal but I was expecting an actual bowl of goulash instead of a small smattering on the plate like a sauce. Oh well, just have to get it in Hungary which is, after all, the home of goulash.
At just after 2:00 I took the metro to the bus station.
I had the address highlighted on the google maps on my phone and used the GPS to direct me from the metro station to the address.
I walked for awhile following the little blue dot as it got nearer and nearer to the star indicating the bus station.
As I matched up the two I looked around – no station to be found. Worry started to set in as my bus was leaving in 15 minutes and I had no idea where to go.
I saw a couple of buses parked in a random parking lot nearby. It was a bus station or even a bus stop – just a parking lot. Neither bus had any markings on it indicating a bus line and neither had any destination placard on the windshield.
I saw a handful of people standing there with luggage so I wandered over there and asked if they were going to Budapest. When they said yes a sense of relief overcame me – ok, I found the spot…now, let’s get the hell out of this damn city!
The bus ride took just over 3 hours and we arrived in downtown Budapest at just after 6pm and checked into my hostel a short while later.
I went out to dinner and finally got some good ‘ol Hungarian goulash (1.70 euro, $3) along with fried rabbit larded with bacon, mash potato and onion (6.50 euro, $10).
And then the stress started…
Sadly, all this stress was my own doing.
I’ve been booking stuff last minute this trip as far as hostels and buses and trains and I’ve already been nailed a couple of times when the hostels I had originally planned to stay at were fully booked when I finally got around to booking them.
Not a big deal with the hostels as there are more than enough good ones out there.
Well, that’s another story…
My plan was to take an overnight train two days from now to Krakow.
When I went to book it tonight to my dismay it was sold out. Now, with overnight trains, it’s not like there’s a later one you can book – if it’s sold out, you ain’t going that night.
This led to more than two hours of hair pulling and stress trying to figure out how the hell I was going to get to Krakow.
I had one day to wiggle around with in that I could leave one day later but that was it.
I tried every combination you could think of but ended up booking a flight to Warsaw (a place I was actually going to skip) in two nights time instead.
After I finally figured out that was the way I was going I made sure to book everything else including 2 train trips and 4 hostels.
Huge sense of relief after it was all done. The rest of the trip should be smooth sailing as I don’t have to book anything else and nothing is changing – I’m going where I’m going and that’s it.
My last week of this trip looks like this: Budapest, Warsaw, Krakow, Gdansk and Stockholm.
Should be a fun week!