One of the biggest attractions of Salzburg as a city was its Central European location – Austria borders eight countries, and for a travel-happy Brit, that’s pretty exciting. I’ve done a couple of trips out into the Alps and up to Munich so far, but the first big weekender I wanted to do was Budapest, Hungary.
Why? Good old grandpa Chaba moved from there to London after the Second World War, and so the family was born, with only an unpronounceable surname to connect us with our Hungarian roots. In fact I have little attachment to my Hungarian-ness, and eschewed a visit to the city on my euromonth this Summer in favour of a straight Prague-Vienna-Slovenia line. It sounds like everyone I met had been to the city though, and I’ve hardly heard a bad word said about it.
So when I heard that the 1st November, a Friday, will be a public holiday here in Austria, I knew this would be my weekend, to visit the Fatherland for the first time!
And so the planning commences, as it always does, with Carpooling and Couchsurfing.
Before booking a carpool, I’d always double check the public transport alternatives; after all, carpoolers can cancel on you, turn up super late, or leave because they can’t find you (all three have happened to me) – it’s not the most reliable mode of transport, to say the least, and it’s not always that cheap either! These Salzburg-Budapest guys were charging €30 a journey! So when I find a €59 return direct train deal from ÖBB, I’m very happy! Sitting on a train may be lazy, it may be unsociable, it may not be entirely in the traveller spirit, but the only real alternative seems to be hitchhiking, and that’s not much of a November sport really, is it. Plus, I could use those train hours to do some research.
Couchsurfing came up with some winners as well, so I’m confident about getting myself a sofa or two!
On the whole, I’m looking for a cheap weekend away to visit my paternal hometown, escape the comfort of Salzburg, and evoke my Euro travel spirit of the summer (but this time with Doc Martens, thermals, and an umbrella) .
If anyone has any Budapest advice, I’d be most grateful to hear it! Please get in touch!