Our one-day trip to Budapest quite an interesting experience. Having traveled quite a lot our entire lives, we usually feel prepared for travels, especially single day trips. However, no amount of experience prepared us for our road trip to Budapest.
Driving from Prague to Budapest takes about 8 hours, which isn’t too bad. And we didn’t have any issues in Czech Republic, or Slovakia for that matter. Our first problem was on the border between Slovakia and Hungary. We had to stop and pay for the highway toll, which really, really should not have been a issue. Yet somehow it was the first hiccup on our trip. We thought we could pay for the toll with a credit card, silly us. Unfortunately, we couldn’t. And what was even more unfortunate was the fact that we did not have any Forints, the local currency. Somehow, we didn’t even have Euros. I know, we should have been more prepared, but we really thought we would manage with a card. Luckily, they let us pay with Czech crowns and we continued on our journey to Budapest.
1st big TIP: BRING CASH! Always bring cash of the local currency, even if you think you won’t need, chances are, you will!
After getting lost a couple of times and managing to get back on our way, we finally arrived in front of our hotel, Easy Hotel, in Budapest at 7pm. Checking in was a little bit of a struggle, because of a language barrier, but we managed. We even managed to get ready relatively quickly for the One Republic concert, which was the point of the whole trip. Next, we had to figure out how to get to the concert.
The metro was a whole other experience. We got onto the metro at Oktogon, which is on the yellow line, and had to get off at the Stadionok, on the red line. Should be straight forward enough. Except that Stadionok was not always called that, on some maps it was Puskás Ferenc Stadion. We decided to just trust our gut and get off any stop that has the word Stadium in it.
Finally, we made it and we even made it on time. The concert was phenomenal, but that is it’s own story.
After the concert we decided it might be safer to just walk back, instead of taking the metro. Plus there was a huge crowd of people from the concert walking in the same direction as us, so we figured we would get back fine. Well after we shed the crowd at the nearest parking lot, we continued our walk, through a somewhat sketchy part of Budapest. After walking through a neighborhood, which was made up of houses fit to be in horror movies, we got to the Budapest Keleti railway station, therefore much closer to the center of the city. We stopped by the closest McDonalds so that we could make it the rest of the way.
After another 20 or 30 minutes we made it back to our hotel, where we passed out, resting for the 8 hour drive back.
Well, originally it was supposed to be 8 hours. I believe it was more like 10 hours, because, yet again, we got a little lost in Budapest. Well, it wasn’t really our fault. We just didn’t quite manage to get on the bridge to cross the Danube. And the real big issue was that there are very few bridges that cross the river, so once we missed it, we had to drive along the river for about 30 or 45 minutes, before we managed to cross it. Then we had to go almost all the way back to the first bridge, before connecting to the highway.
Killing so much time by just driving through Budapest, meant that we got hungry when we were still in Hungary. So we stopped for food at a rest stop just before the borders with Slovakia. When looking at the menu, we were very unsure of what the food was. So we thought we couldn’t go wrong with marinated Buffalo wings. Well, we were wrong! Not only were they not Buffalo wings, but they weren’t even wings! We got chicken tenders. Which meant that I didn’t eat, because of my gluten allergy. Well, there was nothing we could do. So after picking at the fries and after trying to get the waiter’s attention, we got the bill. Again, we couldn’t pay with a credit card, so here’s my second tip:
2nd tip: Bring enough cash. And then bring some more.
In Budapest we got cash and we thought we had enough cash to get back home. Well, we didn’t expect to stop in Hungary. So we ended up having just enough cash to pay for our food. Although, we got quite nervous, when we were short a couple hundred forints. Thankfully, I searched the car for any spare change and found just enough. Greatly relieved, we continued our journey home.
We got lost just a couple more times, but eventually we made it back home. The trip was a little dramatic, especially because of credit card issue, but then again, what is an adventure without a little bit of drama