We get back to the hostel and kick it for a bit after the days epic walkabout. Still some Bombay Sapphire left so we mix ourselves a couple chill out G&Ts. We only have the hostel for one more night so the question is do we stay or do we go? There are a handful of things left to check out here in Budapest (like a statue to the Adventure Detective deity, Columbo) but I’m impressed with our investigative progress of the city. Today especially.
MacKay wants to keep trucking, “I say we book it outta here tomorrow”, “Ya? Sure. Doesn’t matter to me”, “This city’s so rad we’ll most likely get back here sometime anyways”, “I’ll probably just move here for the rest of my life”, “Word. So Romania tomorrow then?”
With that settled we start doing some research. Bucharest is the next target for Plan B so I pull up train times from Budapest. Ahhhh shit, “Dude, Bucharest is like, two days away from here?”, “Whaaa?”, “Yeah. 14-16 hours on the train. Maybe there’s an overnight one…”, clicky click clicky, “Shit. That’s gonna eat some time though. Getting over there and then basically back if we want to go through Belgrade and further South into the Balkans”, “True. Hmmmm”
We start looking into Bucharest and gauging if it’s worth spending two days travel to then get two days in there. 4-5 days for a single city isn’t really the usual cadence of our investigations. I guess I didn’t realize how far East it was. Maybe Bucharest made more sense when we were curving around from Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova. We’d still like to get into Romania though…
Browsing the map looking for other cities along the way. “This place, Timi… Timisara.. Timisoara? directly south of here looks alright. We could check that place out and just keep moving South from there into Belgrade”, “Yep, I’m cool with that.”
Alright, new plan: Budapest -> Timisoara -> Belgrade. Actually this looks somewhat difficult to do. Getting there seems ok, but there are no trains from Timisoara to Belgrade. Orrr buses? What the.. is this not a thing people do?
There are a handful of blog posts about it but most are saying that just crossing the border from Romania to Serbia south of there is a dicey affair and the trains get cancelled every other year since it’s not a popular route or there’s some sort of in fighting. Some of them talk about taking the train, walking across, getting a taxi and things like that. One post says it’s doable and has a list of steps, buildings to look for and directions since there isn’t much time between trains and if you get stuck it will be a day before the next one.
“This all sounds nice and shitty. I think we should definitely do it”, “So we’re not going to the capital but we’re fine getting stranded in no man’s land on the way out of a city we’ve never heard of?”, “That’s correct”, “I’m in”, “I’ll get screen shots of this site. We’ll figure it out.”
Ok Timisaora it is. Time to find some grub. We spiral down to the giant wooden door and pass by the Basilica again towards the Danube. Still a little drizzle in the air. Without too much trouble we stumble upon a place with a nice looking patio that says Hungarian Hell’s Kitchen. Menu looks like lots of traditional fare. We’re in.
“They’ve got a Big Big Wooden platter for two”, “Done.”
Our server is a round and giggly lady named Ezster. She’s a sweetheart. We fire her the platter and a couple of beer orders. Sit back, shoot the shit and people watch. Really really like Hungary.
The rain starts coming on again and we scoot the table further under the awning. This is nice actually.
Ezster looks a little overburdened trying to manage our massive platter when she brings it out. Daaaaamn. Good spread.
We ask her if there is a Hungarian hot sauce we could try. “Oh yes!” and she brings out a Hungarian chili sauce.
“Ero’s Pista. Strong Steve. Very traditional Hungary”, “It’s called Strong Steve?”, “Hehe yes”, “Awesome, thank-you.” Smells a bit like sambal oelek. More earthy though. Ohh ya yaaa, that’s good.
This Hungarian platter is the bomb. The bacon cheese chicken thing is probably the winner. Good sauerkraut too. And pickled goodies in some tangy light sauce.
Is this a Hungarian chile rellano?
We devour most of the platter. It’s gigantic but too good and we can’t stop ourselves. I get some Unicum after to help digest it all.
We sit with another round of beers just saturated with meatiness. Kick the legs out and get comfy. Pull out my phone and try my luck with train times to Timisoara. “Looks like there’s a direct train in the morning. Around 7”, “Really? That sounds doable”, “Ya, 705. Should probably stop drinking if that’s the case”, “Ya, whatever. Let’s do it”, “Wanna get to the train station tonight and ask about it? Pick up tickets beforehand in case we fail to stop drinking and are rushing over there early”, “Not a bad plan.”
Ezster is happy we had such a good time. She asks if we’ll fill out a survey. “Be happy to, Ezster!”
The train station is about 30 mins away. It’d probably be good for us to walk off some of that hungoplatter.
We stroll out of the historic area passed more business-style high-rises, local bars and restaurants over to the train station.
We go downstairs to ticketing and there are just a few people ahead of us. We ask about Timisoara and the girl confirms there’s a train at 705 am. “Ok, two please.”
We hop the subway back to the Basilica. Super cheap, easy and fast. Again, great city. We grab some hydration and brat supplies from a local market for the early trip tomorrow and basically call’r a night. Gotta get up early and get back across town to catch that train. Alright it’s official, Romania tomorrow.
Goodnight Budapest, you beautiful beotch.