After getting disappointed with Zagreb, I was ready for Budapest. I had a ticket for a 6h30 direct train, little did I know the day I had ahead.
Things started weird from the moment I had to hop on the train, since there were two trains departing at the same time from the same platform, which didn’t make any sense at all, and I started to get nervous right away. A backpacker came to me asking what was the train to Budapest, and I had no idea. Once we looked around, everybody was as confused as we were. I went to ask people which train to get, and the answers made me insane. Some said they didn’t know, others said it was the one already at the platform but we would have to change to a bus, and others said we had to sit at the beginning of the train because somewhere on the way it was going to split in two (what?).
I was confused and sure I was going to end up in a place that wasn’t Budapest!
The guy who had asked for my help just said “I’m sticking with you!” to which I answered “Please do!”
On the train we started to relax and decided if something important or some change was necessary they would tell us, so we ended up falling asleep on the slowest train ever. All I know is out of the blue a guy came yelling “Budapest! You have to change, get out, get out. Budapest. Go to the bus!!” WHAT?We grabbed our stuff in such a rush I broke my glasses.
This is not cool! What the hell is going on? I bought a direct ticket, I don’t want to take the bus!
Me and the guy I had just met from California met these two girls from Canada who were a lot of fun. They basically helped us, since they had done this ride between Zagreb and Budapest, so we decided to stick with them so we could arrive safe and sound in Budapest.
We hop on the bus, and a lady was checking our passports and the three of them got stamps on theirs, but since I’m European I never get any stamps on mine, so I nicely asked her if I could get one too, and that’s how I got my first passport stamp (you have no idea how happy I was!).
After just twenty minutes on the bus, it stopped in the middle of nowhere, and they started to tell us again “You have to get out of the bus. Go to the train!” – see, this could have been kinda fun if the entire situation wasn’t so weird and if we weren’t all carrying our really heavy backpacks. Now this was the weirdest moment of my entire trip, because it wasn’t a train station, it was a trail rail, in the middle of nowhere and they made us walk the rails with all our crap (here I realized how backpacks are your bestfriends, because there were a bunch of Chinese women with their bags with wheels and you have no idea how ridiculous they looked trying to walk the rails with them!). I felt like we were illegals trying to get to into Hungary by some very weird scheme.
Finally on the train, which was pretty nice, we all sat down to take a deserved rest. But that was not going to happen! A guy came and said “you’re gonna have to change again” and then he started laughing and just said “Just kidding!”, you can’t imagine the relief on our faces. But, turns out he wasn’t joking at all, and after a while another guy came to check our tickets and said “I’m so sorry, you’re gonna have to get another bus to change to another train” WHAT? NO!
So we did that, after a short nap, we hop on the bus to change to another train, and once we were on it we had desperate faces as we asked “is this the last one?” it was!
But of course it was not gonna be that easy! After two buses and three trains, the last stop wasn’t at Budapest Deli station has is was supposed to be, and we ended up someplace else, and everybody had the directions from Deli and not that station, so we had a new mission: getting to the Pest side! Nobody spoke English, nobody knew anything (as always!).
We somehow managed to get to the Pest side, me still with the guy from California who kinda looked like he knew the way, so even though my hostel was not the same as his, I followed him till the very end, because the sun was setting down and I was not gonna be alone and lost in a gigantic city like Budapest at night.
Everything turned out just fine, as my hostel was the street right next to his, so by the time the night came, I was arriving at my hostel, totally exhausted and so happy to just take a very long shower and have a long night of sleep. It was a crazy day, and I wish I had remembered to take photos or film the day because then I could really show you how crazy it actually was. I guess is just a stressful but funny story I will take back home with me.
This “direct” train from Zagreb to Budapest will cost you a little less than 30€ and it will take you 6h30 to get there. If you don’t mind having a crazy days and you want a good story to tell, get it, if not, there are other options like buses that go to Budapest (but there aren’t buses everyday, so careful with that) or you can maybe trying to get the train from another city close to Zagreb, like Ljubljana.