Update: I didn’t find time (or inspiration?) to finish writing about our adventures in Budapest, but I did manage to upload some of the better photos to Flickr. In the meantime, we’re away again!
One more day in Budapest, then it was time to board the Eurocity Night train to Krakow. The morning was spent organising and repacking — it is truly astounding how messy things can get if you don’t keep adjusting — and so the sun was well and truly above us when we finally checked out. I must say, the Maverick Hostel in Budapest was an awesome place to stay — cool, funky, cheap, clean … and the guy running the place was exceedingly nice! We handed the keys back with a promise to be back for our packs at around 6pm, then headed out to meet Andy.
Another hot day! We stayed close to our accommodation, as Andy had a 2pm taxi to the airport and it was too hot to go traipsing around again: we realised that with the night train, and then (hopefully) an all-day tour in Oswiecim (Auschwitz) it would be quite some time before we got a proper shower, so were determined not to get too sweaty. A couple of drinks (including the sweetest juice/syrup drink imaginable) at “Bonnie & Clydes” and it was time to say our second goodbyes to the White Bear. See you ’round World Cup time, Andy!!
While at the cafe we sorted out a rough “crib sheet” for Beijing, thanks to ubiquitous free wifi all over Budapest. Seriously London, your entire economy is information-based, how can Budapest be better at this than the capital of the British Empire?? Also used the opportunity to draft the next part of our “stay cool” plan — find a movie cinema.
(This almost didn’t work: by the time we’d walked to the cinema we were both hot and bothered. Watched “Robin Hood”, which was better than expected — and they were low expectations indeed — and tried Hungarian snack food in the form of chocolate-coated cream cheese. It’s not as bad as it sounds!)
After that it was a bus back to Budapest Keleti Paladyvar and dinner at a station restaurant before boarding our train. A little scary — we asked a official-looking man where our carriage was, and he took all our tickets away! Turns out that’s normal (on the Trans-Siberian they may even hold our passports, eek) and he was our carriage manager, but we spent a few nervous minutes waiting for the ticket collector to eject us from our cabin.
Hot in the city; hotter still inside the little dual-bunk cabin. We had the windows open, but it wasn’t ’til we started moving that there was anything like airflow; a full night of travelling north (with the window open the whole time) has cooled our room immensely, to the point that I begin to wonder if I should actually get some trousers out of my pack. Outside, green fields and forests race by; every ten or twenty minutes we slow down to pass through a cute Polish village, then ramp up to speed again, shaking and rattling. Clackety-clack!