Hot soak in Budapest.
We woke up to what sounded like rain outside and a sad feeling of our last proper day. Packing up we said Ciao to the hostel guy and walked outside to be greeted by sleet and snow! After the sizzling temperatures we’d had it was a complete shock and our decision to walk the 20 minutes to the station now seemed dodgy. As always though we plowed on through, stopping to spend the last of our Serbian dinar on loads of food for the 8 hour train journey ahead of us.
We were travelling up to Budapest as it was the cheapest place to fly back to Manchester from in this region. I also had the idea that after all the walking and travelling a good soak in one of the many hot spring baths would be a great way to end the trip.
We made it to the station, ready with the tickets we had bought the previous day, we were going to get a hot drink in the station cafe but it was a glass box filled with cigarette smoke. It made me feel sick as soon as we walked in, so we got ones from a little machine instead. I got an Irish coffee out of it, wondering if there was an alcohol percentage in it!
Up on the platform it was freezing as we waited, clutching onto our hot drinks for warmth. We were told this weather was crazy for Serbia this time of year, and luckily that they had just announced the train would be late so we went back inside and warmed up next to a radiator.
The train soon did arrive 20 minutes or so late, and we jumped on, found some seats and relaxed. The train was made up of 6 seater compartments and we were sharing with a middle aged couple. We set off on what was the longest journey yet, the scenery was the same rolling fields and tiny train stops. The border crossing took forever, about an hour and a half to leave Serbia and the same again to enter Hungary.
We finally arrived in Budapest! Our last stop on this incredible tour, we took the underground to our hostel, tried to check in quickly but the girl at the desk made it as difficult as possible. Accepting payment then giving us extras such as a deposit on top in cash. In hindsight our flight was at 6am so we should’ve just gone to the baths and slept at the airport. It was 8pm when we got to Szechenyi baths after taking my favourite underground out to Varosliget park. All the stations along the way are really cute and old fashioned.
The baths themselves are so good you get changed and put your stuff in a locker or you can get a cabin to change in and leave your clothes in. We headed outside into the rain and cold, hung our towels up and quickly got into the nearest pool. It was lovely and warm and we immediately submerged ourselves into the water. There’s a whirlpool in the pool we were in so we did a few laps before running through the rain to the hotter pool on the right handside. This was really nice and after going through the jet spray we lay back and relaxed. Sarah realising she had lost her glasses at some point in the jets! We had a look but couldn’t find them till later when we were playing a bit of hide and seek in the mist forming over the pools.
We stayed in for a couple of hours before it closed and headed back to the city centre. Grabbing a KFC with unlimited drinks we re-hydrated and rekaxed, knowing we were up at 3:30am to get a bus to the airport. This was actually really simple, we changed buses but it wasn’t a long wait. At the airport we used the last of our florints on food and headed back home.
It’s been an amazing trip incorporating Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia and Hungary, all in two weeks! I’ll definitely recommend this part of the world to everyone. Food – amazing, scenery – stunning, people – some of the friendliest I’ve encountered.