Adventures in Transit

I have yet to fully understand the transit system in Budapest. Most of the time, whenever I needed to go anywhere, I would try to go with someone else so that they would figure out the buses or trams that we needed to take and I’ll just follow. But last Friday, I had an interview with a school and I needed to take transit to get there.

It involved taking a tram across the Danube (my first time!) into the Buda side and then connecting to another tram and from there either walking up a hill or taking a bus. This was my first time venturing out on my own. I got super detailed instructions from my roommate and looked at the maps as many times as I could so I could memorize it. I was hyper prepared.

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(L) Crossing the Danube for the first time; (R) Taking the tram on the Buda side

In the end, I made it okay. I got a little lost searching for one road, but after asking someone, I was able to find it okay. Turns out, the building was half way up a massive hill. By the time I figured it out, I was ridiculously tired from walking around in the hot sun. I had my interview and then it was time to head back. Going back was much easier considering I knew where I was going.

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(L) See where that white car is parked on a slant? I had to hike up that; (R) Parliament building

Hurray for successfully making it to my destination on time and without too much trouble.

The next day, however, was a different story. My boss was hosting a welcome BBQ for me and another teacher who arrived awhile back. His place is in Buda so across the river I went again.

The Budapest transit website’s route planner isn’t the best. It doesn’t present alternative routes, and usually the routes the recommend involved a lot of walking. The one good thing is that every bus, tram or metro stop, has a name. They post the route with all the names and estimated time of arrival at each stop on their website. So to make sure I get off at the right place, all I have to do is count the number of stops and when I get off the bus, to double check the name of the stop to make sure I’m in the right place.

I made it okay to the correct bus stop, but from there, I was completely lost. I had failed to look up where exactly the bus would drop me off in relation to where his house is located. I called my boss, but for some strange reason, I couldn’t hear him and he couldn’t hear me. My other coworker tried calling me too, but nothing was going through. I texted him and he responded with directions, but somehow, I still managed to mess it up. Through a process of elimination, I managed to finally figure out the right road and he met me half way.

But meanwhile, I had the brilliant idea to restart my phone to see if it would work better (sometimes it likes to throw a tantrum and not work). Only, I forgot that I have a pay as you go sim card which comes with a pin that you need to enter before you can use the phone. Of course, I didn’t know my pin. So by turning off my phone, I had rendered my already useless phone even more useless.

In the end it all worked out and I found my way okay. I was mildly amused by the whole thing, but I was also really frustrated and annoyed by the time I got there. At least now I know and I’ve memorized my pin number for my card just in case.