Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Getting There: Budapest to Bratislava

Note: This post is long, but sort of funny - so read it all if you'd like!

We met a hedgehog who stopped and posed for the camera.

Budapest is an amazing city, and I was sad to leave. You haven't heard the end about it, I can't wait until I can get back home to a laptop to upload my real photos. My friend Kasey has been amazing letting me use her phone to take and upload photos to a compulsive degree, and I'll admit the filters and effects on these smartphones are fun to play around with...but I'm definitelz looking forward to uploading the pictures from mz SLR and telling you more about our time in this incredible place.

Well, on Monday morning we decided to catch a seven euro bus with Student Agency from Budapest to Bratislava, Slovakia. The bus was at 9:30, so we checked out of our hostel just after 8 AM in order to ensure we had enough time to get there, buy tickets, etc;. It was somewhat sad to say goodbye to our cute little hostel and the friends we made there, but we packed up our stuff, strapped it on our backs and went on our way. It wasn't until we were halfway there that I realized I forgot my passport.

To my credit, it wasn't entirely my fault. They take your passports as a security deposit for your keys at the beginning of your stay, and they had handed mine back to me upon checking out but then couldn't find Kasey's in the safe. I'd put my passport down and helped her look through the many boxes in search of her passport (and found it after a few minutes.) I forgot to pick my passport back up again.

The result? Running back through Budapest like madwomen in an attempt to retrieve my passport and still make the train. Some time later, we arrived at the bus terminal sweaty and flustered but still on time (barely.) Now, I expected the bus terminal to be like the one in Berlin or Prague. In these bus stations, there are a number of stalls for various bus companies where one can buy tickets for their journeys. This bus station was not like that. We saw tons of busses, but none were Student Agency and there wasn't a Student Agency stand in sight. Absolutely lost and COMPLETELY stressed for time, we had no choice but to take a number at an information booth and wait our turn. We were informed upon speaking with the woman there that the attendant spoke no English. First off, what sort of tourist information worker doesn't speak English?! After some flustered hand motions and the repetition of the words "Student Agency" and "Bratislava" several times. We finally got her to point to the park across the street and say "Bus there."

Sure enough, just two minutes later the Student Agency bus pulled up. The problem? It seemed like there were a lot of people waiting to board, and we didn't have any tickets. "Can we buy tickets here?" I asked the woman checking tickets, out of breath and looking quite desperate.  She scratched her head as she looked at her chart. "The reservations are full. Wait until we are about to leave to see if anyone doesn't show up." Fair enough, I thought, although standing right next to us was another pair of American girls who seemed just as flustered and sweaty and tired as we quite obviously did, also wanting to buy tickets. Kasey and I introduced ourselves and made conversation as we waited, but in all honesty I was just checking out the competition. There were going to be a limited amount of spots open on this bus, and if they took those places from us we would be stuck in Budapest until six that evening. All four of us looked at the bus attendant anxiously as she approached us again.

 "We are waiting on two more people...if they are not here in five minutes there will be two spots open."

The two of them looked at the two of us. This was war. I looked at Kasey, and seriously debated just bolting for the bus yelling "last ones there get left in Budapest!" but such plans were halted when the attendant asked one question.

"But what are your final destinations?" She asked.

Ours was Bratislava. Their's was Prague.

"Ah," she said, looking at her chart. "We have more people getting on in Bratislava, so we have no room all the way to Prague. Only to Bratislava."

The spots were ours. Óh halleluja!

We boarded the bus and exhaled huge sighs of relief, sort of disbelieving that this had somehow worked out to us.

And the views along the way? Well, not too shabby.


tiarenie said...

haha! im glad you made it!

Alyx said...

haha, good thing you guys made it!

Sarah said...

Ah! What a nightmare forgetting your passport. I'm glad it all worked out. Wow that picture of you 3 looking at the lights is dreamy. I've love to visit there sometime =)

- Sarah

Lyndsy said...

It's all about the little adventures right?!;)

Lyndsy said...

It's all about the little adventures right?!;)

Sapir L. said...

What an amazing story! I'm so glad everything worked out in your favor! Also, what kind of camera do you usually use and would you recommend it? I'm looking to buy but I'm still not sure which one to get :P

Sapir @ Smell the Wildflowers

Kelsea @ Pink Wonderland said...

What a story! Then again, anyone who travels enough has a few of those. I could tell you about this one time, while studying in the Czech Republic, that a classmate and I tried to take a train/tram while towing rental bikes, from a rural town to Cesky Krumlov...

=) I am glad you made it! And lucky for you two that you got the last two spots! Also, you always have such beautiful photos, but that first one is so vibrant and incredible.

On that same study abroad program, we visited Budapest, but it was a brief stint at best. I would love to go back sometime - it was one of the best places I've visited.

Viviana said...

So happy to have found your awesome blog via Cornflake Dreams! Newest follower :)

Mimi Finerty said...

sounds like such an adventure!!! hope your having an amazing time. love that first photograph!

Taylor said...

Haha, sizing up the competition! Love it. And glad you won the war of the bus seats!

Did you know I've listed your blog on one of my daily reads?! It's under my travel section !

Brooke said...

AH, what a crazy travel story! I'm glad you made it though. And you had me at the hedgehog :)

SK said...

Came across your blog and I love it!! Would love to follow each other on here and on bloglovin!

Sara Louise said...

S T R E S S F U L !
I'm so happy that you were able to retrieve your passport because losing it would have sucked and I'm even happier that you guys didn't have to battle those other two girls Hunger Games style to get seats on the bus :)


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