Our Train Ride to Budapest
Our trip to Budapest from Vienna was a little exciting, to say the least. We could not find a van rental company which would let us drive from Vienna to Budapest. We took the train, instead. Normally, trains are very consistent, but the flood was something we could not have planned for.
We boarded the train in Vienna and headed for Hungary. The travelers behind spoke English and as the ticket taker was punching their tickets, we heard the the conversation. The train employee told them they would board a bus to transfer to another train station. I am thinking, “Gosh, they had bad connections.” Our trip connected to the next stop. Everyone got off the train, but us. In a few minutes, the passengers behind us came back on board to tell us the train could not proceed because of the flood. We quickly unloaded and looked for a train staffer who could tell us the plan.
To our surprise and amazement, the plan was, we would have to board an already full bus and carry our luggage on our laps! Needless to say, Luggies were not made as “lap scooters”. This was a small town and the station was not handicapped or disabled friendly, it did not have elevators. The guys folded the Luggies and carried them down the flight of stairs to the street level.
We did not even know what city we were in, must less the country. The agents at the ticket window spoke no English nor did the young men waiting for the next train.
Note: If you need help with translation, always look for young people, almost without exception you will find one who speaks fluent English.
Most schools, public and private, require students to take English as a second language. The young people are always willing to assist our smiling faces.
This is the time when you learn to be calm, think, and do a little praying. While the others rested from the emergency evaluation from the train, I walked over to the taxis waiting at the curb. “English?”, “No” he shook his head. I had a piece of paper in my hand and a pen, I said, “Budapest?” and pointed to all of us and our luggage. I handed him the paper to write down the cost. I pointed to the cars behind him and he wrote down a figure. I said, “OK” and he yelled to one of the other drivers to join him. They talked and began loading our luggage. We put Stephanie in one car with the luggage and the rest of us got in the first car. Off we went Budapest!
They did not have enough fuel for the drive so we stopped to fuel up. At the station, we found we were in Hungry, Győr, only 120KM from Budapest. It was a pleasant trip, seeing the countryside.
It got a little exciting when we got to Budapest because so many of the roads were under water, the traffic was heavy and our drivers were not familiar with Budapest. With the GPS help, we made it to our Marriott hotel. To show how willing to help us, the drivers backed down a one-way street for a couple of blocks!
Note: When traveling over seas, we always purchase travel insurance. We have used it with lost luggage, medical, missed connections, and and canceled trips.
The taxi ride cost us $200 per car. When we returned to the USA, I took on the train company and Stephanie managed our insurance claim. It took a couple of month, but I got us a full refund on the train tickets. All the train staff watched two disabled people on electric scooters board a train they knew would not get us to our non-stop destination. Because we ask for and keep EVERY recipe, we could prove the delay in transportation and our taxi fares were refunded by the travel insurance. All in all, we only lost 3 hours to the delay.