Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Adventure on Arrival

A breathtaking view of Budapest

So I headed out of Prague on a Student Agency Bus to Budapest. It was a 7 hour bus ride but it only cost me 18 Euro so I was a happy girl. We had had an hour break in Bratislava but I was not impressed. It was quite dilapidated and far too much concrete especially after the beauty of Prague. I was actually considering visiting Bratislava but I’m glad I chose Prague and Budapest instead.

So as we approached Budapest it was getting quite late as I was actually scheduled to get there close to midnight which was quite a silly decision on my part, but unfortunately this was the only bus time available. Arriving in a new city is already an unnerving experience as you don’t know what to expect but when you are girl and alone.... Well it was a whole lot worse. I was also arriving at Nepliget Bus Station which was a little bit out of the centre and WikiTravel recommended that you do NOT take a walk in that area after dark there. It was also recommended that you call a reliable taxi service and not hail one off the street so as I waited for my taxi to arrive I was getting a little anxious.

Let me set the scene. It was dark, late and there weren’t a lot of shops open. I also couldn’t take comfort in a crowd as most of the people from my bus had dispersed and were on their way. There weren’t a lot of people around other than a few taxi drivers parked and a few homeless people hanging around the bus station. I tried to wait in the main Bus Station building but they wouldn’t let me in because it was closing.

As I tried to walk back to where the bus dropped me off and an older gentleman told me not to cross the road in the direction I was headed. I told him I had to because that was where my taxi was picking me up from. He said I shouldn’t go there and then he pointed where some policeman were a few metres away. Then he told me how a homeless man had died and that is why the police were there! I saw a sheet over a body and almost fainted. That is not what you want in a new city, at midnight while you are waiting for your taxi.

I took a deep breath and thanked the gentleman, but I had to wait for my taxi. So I crossed the road and tried not to look in that direction. It was evident that after waiting 30 minutes my taxi was not coming and I just wanted to get out of there. So I asked one of the taxi drivers standing around to take me to my hostel. Luckily he was very nice and got me there in no time, unfortunately my frights didn’t end there.

I rang the doorbell of the Home Made Hostel and they gave me directions to get inside. I walked in and the sensor lights went on I could see it was a courtyard, a few sets of stairs and a lift. I was told to go up the stairs but somehow the directions flew out of my head and I was lost wandering around the courtyard trying to walk in the direction of where I could hear voices. Then all of a sudden the lights went out and I was plunged into darkness! I almost cried right there, after the night I had, I just wanted to be in bed.

I turned the light on my phone, left my bags behind and ran back to the front door, yelling into the intercom with desperation in my voice “Please could you come down, the lights went out and I don’t know where to go”. Thankfully the lovely girl at Reception came down and helped me make my way up. There was finally the light at the end of the tunnel!

Home Made Hostel

I entered the Reception of Home Made Hostel and it immediately felt very homey and cosy. The dorms were very welcoming, with home-made furniture, lots of pillows and a lot of travel paraphernalia. It was probably one of the cheapest hostels I stayed, but I also think it was one of the best as I was in the 8 bedroom dorm and still felt like I had my own space. I settled into my bed, pulled close my privacy curtain, let out a sigh of relief and after a long night, finally went to sleep.

My Dorm in the hostel

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