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Bewildered in Budapest: The Kindness of Strangers

Bewildered in Budapest: The Kindness of Strangers

When I planned my InterRailling trip, Budapest was one of my must-see destinations. After a wonderful week in the Czech Republic visiting Prague and staying with an amazing family in Olomouc, it was time to move onto Budapest. I set off from Olomouc and travelled for almost two hours to Břeclav. It was supposed to be a 30 minute wait for the train to Budapest but I arrived to find that there was an 80 minute delay!

Břeclav station was tiny and there wasn’t really anywhere to sit other than on the platform. There was a public toilet and a tall potted plant and that was about it. With no luggage lockers available, I had to carry my backpack with me when I went down to the local supermarket. I had wanted to do some more exploring but decided to head back to the station instead of wandering around town with my heavy backpack.

At the station, I got chatting to a couple of fellow Brits who were travelling to Turkey by train! It turned out we were all waiting for the same train to Budapest.

The train eventually arrived 80mins after the scheduled time but as it journeyed on, it stood at every station for a good 5 or 10 minutes so the delay got worse and worse! It eventually arrived in Budapest TWO HOURS later than it was supposed to!

I got off the train and quickly located the piece of paper that I had scribbled the hostel address and public transport directions onto. However, when I left the station, I found out that there were road works everywhere and the bus stop was impossible to find! It was almost 9pm and I was exhausted so I decided to look for the taxi rank – but I couldn’t find that either.

By this point, I was fed up and my backpack was weighing me down. But just at the right time, I came across a bus stop where a lovely lady was waiting with her daughter and baby granddaughter (who was asleep in her arms). I showed them the address and they spoke to each other in Hungarian and then signalled to me to follow them. I know that as children we are taught not to trust or talk to strangers but sometimes you have to throw the rule book out of the window!

I followed them down the road and round the corner to another bus stop. Although there was a significant language barrier and I was clueless about where we were going, I felt in my heart that I could trust them. Within 5 minutes a bus arrived and we jumped onto it. I had no idea how far we were going or if this would be the only mode of transport we would take but just a few minutes later we had got off the bus and I was following them down the road again. A tram journey was next. I sat and watched as the buildings and lights of the city passed by and wondered if I was getting any closer to the hostel.

Fifteen minutes later, we were off the tram and walking down the street again. I hoped that we were heading to the hostel but lo and behold we boarded another bus. I guess this hostel was a lot further from the station than I thought!

Twenty minutes and two bus journeys later we arrived somewhere that seemed quite busy and cosmopolitan. After crossing a few major roads, I saw them look up at the road name and realised that we were on the road where the hostel was!

Finding the hostel was another story though. In Prague I wondered around Wenceslas square several times before I finally spotted the TINY sign that indicated that the hostel was on the first floor above a shop. This hostel was almost as tricky to locate.

I followed the lady and her daughter down what seemed like a semi-residential street. They looked up at the building numbers and eventually stopped outside what seemed like a large old house. I looked around for any signs that that it may a hostel – and then I spotted one – a set of buzzers on the wall!

I ran over and scanned the set of buzzers and then…Eureka! I saw the name of the hostel and my face lit up!

I could barely contain my gratitude to the lady and her daughter (and her sleeping baby granddaughter). I hugged them both and was so touched by the fact that they went out of their way in the late evening whilst carrying a sleeping baby just to make sure I got to my hostel safely. The next thing I knew they had handed me the baby and were taking a picture with me but I was more than happy to oblige!

There have been many incidences on my travels where the kindness of strangers has been truly touching. In Vienna, a man got off his bicycle in order to direct me to the Museumsquartier after seeing me looking lost. In Ayutthaya, a man directed me all the way to one the temples, then showed me a local market to buy food and then took me to the outdoor seating area of his friend’s restaurant so I would have somewhere to sit and eat my food. His friend then gave me fruit and a drink and let me sit and rest for as long as I wanted because I had spent most of the day cycling around the city. In Ko Lanta, one of the members of staff at the hostel drove me to the repair shop after an accident with a bottle of water drowned my phone and camera.

Growing up in a big city has made into a quite cautious person but travelling has taught me to trust my instincts and ask for help when necessary. Sometimes things don’t go according to plan and I have to rely on the kindness of a stranger to help me fix it.

Such kind acts put a smile on my face and really make my day. I love the fact that amongst all the negative things that happen in the world, there are still good people around who are willing to go out of their way to make someone else’s day better.

Liebster Award

Liebster Award

Yay! Thank you to Ola for my nomination for the Liebster Award!

Here you can see my answers to her 11 questions:

Which is your favourite travel destination and why?

Probably Ko Lanta in Thailand. The people were so friendly and it was quite rustic – gasoline was sold in bottles and from old school American-style petrol pumps. There were beautiful quiet beaches with less than 10 people on them and I got to watch some amazing sunsets. I stayed in a great hostel with wonderfully kind staff and there was a lovely family owned restaurant across the road which served delicious food. I had such a relaxing time there and it was my favourite place throughout my entire month-long Thailand adventure.

 Most delicious food you had on your journey?

The fresh pineapple that I scoffed regularly in Thailand and Ghana both have to be the most amazing pineapple I have ever tasted. I love Pad Thai and there was a particular chicken curry that I ate at a restaurant in Thailand that I can’t remember the name of but it was very tasty. Ooooh and Tom Yam soup…

Do you prefer solo travel or group travel?

I’ve never been on a group backpacking trip but I have been on short holidays with my friends and on a family trip to Ghana. It is lovely to have company when you’re away and also to have the shared memories when you get back but for backpacking so far I have enjoyed going solo. I love the freedom to pick and choose where I go and what activities I do and to extend or shorten my stay in a particular place if I want to. As a solo traveller, I meet so many other solo travellers and often hang out or travel with them. I love having the freedom to fly the solo flag when I choose or meet others and make friends when I wish to have company.

Funniest thing happened on a travel?

It wasn’t funny at the time but the train running away from Barcelona Sants Station (the last stop) with a bunch of us still on it was pretty hilarious now that I think about it.

Island or mountains?

This is a tough question because my favourite thing about travel is natural beauty. I love the views from mountains but I also love beautiful beaches and staring out to sea and of course the amazing sunsets. I guess if I was staying somewhere then I’d probably pick Islands just because they tend to be warmer. I stayed in a hostel in Pai in Thailand that was practically in the mountains and at night the temperature plummeted to the point where I was wearing half the contents of my backpack just to stay warm.

What is your favourite pastry?

Savoury – chicken pie. Sweet – Pain Au Chocolat or just plain croissants.

What was the reason to start a blog for you?

I am EXTREMELY passionate about travel and wanted to share my adventures. Also, a few friends had asked me for travel info and advice so I thought that starting a blog may help a few people. I love being creative and enjoy writing.

What is the next destination you are going to visit?

Australia. It has been top of my list since forever.

Panda or Koala?

I would love to cuddle a koala.

Is there a country you don’t want to visit and if yes, why?

Places that are particularly cold such as Iceland are not on my list because I have a very strong disliking for winter (I constantly tell people I’m allergic to it). I’d definitely be concerned about visiting anywhere where there is political unrest or an oppressive government.

Why did you start blogging?

I love to be creative and I enjoy writing about things I’m passionate about i.e. Travel. I wanted somewhere to jot down my thoughts and share my experiences and hopefully provide some useful advice and information. I also wanted to share the creativity that I see around the world as well as my own travel-inspired creativity.

My nominations are:

1.The Biblio Life

2.Hakka no to Game

3.Chae H. Bae

4.A weekend Chef

5.Patch Ono

6.The Gozum Show

7.Agrofarm

8.Time Nexus

9.Moss Travel TV

10.Wanders the world

11.Nici Stanford

Rules for The Liebster Award Nomination:

  • each nominee must link back the person who nominated them
  • answer the 11 questions
  • nominate 11 other bloggersfor this award who have less than 500 followers
  • create 11 questionsfor your nominees to answer
  • you can’t nominate the one who tagged you
  • let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them

My 11 Questions are:

  1. Describe your blog in 5 words
  2. What would your ideal weekend look like?
  3. Which has been your favourite destination so far?
  4. Would you rather go skiing or lie on a beach?
  5. What made you want to start a blog?
  6. Is there anywhere you have been that you would never visit again?
  7. Name the top three destinations on your travel wish list.
  8. In which country have you met the friendliest locals so far?
  9. City or small town?
  10. Do you like to spend time in nature?
  11. Do like to have everything organised, booked and planned before you leave for your trip or do you like to wing it and see where the wind takes you?