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Published: October 20th 2013
Darcy and I suck at traveling together. We always get these great ideas and then we assume that the person who has the idea knows what's going on. This is why we missed our bus to Serbia, and had an interesting time getting to Debrecen this weekend.
Background: Debrecen is the second biggest city in Hungary. It's also home to a really big university. It's near the Romanian border, about a 3 hour train ride from Budapest. A few people from CETP live in/near Debrecen, so Darcy and I decided to visit them.
It sounds easy. Go to the train station. Buy a ticket to Debrecen. Get on the train. Get off at Debrecen. On the way home repeat but for Budapest.
Then you have to remember that it's Darcy and me doing this, so naturally it doesn't go as planned.
I bought some food to bring to Debrecen because Chaz decided to make us tacos on Saturday night. I got home from school, cleaned, packed, and left in time to catch the 6:23 train. Halfway down my block I realized I forgot all my food and had to go back to grab it. By the time
I got to the train station, we were cutting it close. We got in a really long line to get our ticket. We went up to the window. I tried to explain to the woman that I was a student. She didn't understand. So I told her I was 22. She didn't understand. No discount. She gave us our ticket and we went to find the train. When we got on the train a man stopped us and was telling us...something. I kept saying that we just wanted to go to Debrecen to make sure we were on the right train. We were. Finally the train started moving, so we went to find seats.
Apparently the seats on these trains are reserved. We found 2 empty seats near a woman who spoke English. Her ticket had assigned seats. Ours didn't. Not sure why. Eventually people who had reserved our seats came to claim them, so we moved to a different car. When the ticket inspector guy came to check our tickets we had to buy the seats we were sitting in. Then we were able to relax.
Chaz met us in Debrecen and we tried to illegally ride
the tram, but we ended up having to buy tickets for that too. Then we ate some gyros. Yummy. We went back to Chaz's flat, which is szuper nice. We chilled out there and then went out. We went to one little bar and had some beers and then another bar for a second round. We walked up to the second bar, and these guys are all smashing glasses everywhere. Sketchy. We went in anyway. After a drink there we went home and watched videos of Turquoise Jeep Records. If you've never heard of them, good. I can't even get through a full video. It's actually the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen. We managed to do that until 5 am, and then we went to bed.
The next morning Chaz cooked us a wicked awesome breakfast and we headed downtown. It was a gorgeous day. The cool thing about Debrecen is that it's quieter and cleaner than Budapest. It's a really cute little city with a great pedestrian street. We walked around and got coffees at a cafe. Then Celine came from her town H_______, which is impossible to pronounce so I can't even begin to spell it.
Celine lives in Boulder, so we had a Boulder love day. We all went to another cafe and got some drinks, and then we went to a little place for sandwiches. Walking back to Chaz's flat we went through a beautiful park. Autumn is in full swing here, and the park was entirely filled with leaves. The sun was starting to set, so you could see it through the trees and it made the whole place glow. We walked around there and frolicked through leaves for a good while.
When we got back to Chaz's flat, we all napped because that's what Saturday afternoons are for. When we woke up us girls made tacos, which were delicious. Also, when they say "hot" salsa, and "hot" sauce in Hungary, it's a lie. Pathetic. I need to find real hot sauce that's actually spicy. Stat. But the tacos were awesome. Then we drank some wine and went out. We started at a ruin pub in Debrecen and hung out on some bean bag chairs for a while. Then we went to a bar and played Would You Rather. We got some fun stares during our game, but it was a blast.
Then we went to a final bar on the way back to Chaz's. We met some Hungarian girls who were hysterical. As we finished up our drinks, the bartender turned the lights off. I guess that was our cue to go. We walked home and went to bed.
Chaz made us an even better breakfast this morning. Go Chaz. The four of us had a slow start, Darcy and I packed, and we all went back to that bar where people were smashing things because it doubles as a cafe. I had a nutella cappucino. Yup. It was basically a glass coated in nutella with a bit of coffee in it. Naturally, it was amazing. We also got raspberry cottage cheese palacsintas (basically crepes), which were also delicious. Then we took the tram to the train station.
Here's where it gets fun. So far this has been a great but pretty uneventful trip as far as traveling disasters go. We went to get our tickets for the train. I told the woman I was a student (because my college ID is still valid) and showed her my BuffOne card. She nodded and gave me 2 student tickets. Second
class was full, but it only cost 1000 forints extra for first class, and we wanted to get home. We get on the train and had a lovely quiet train ride. The ticket guy came by, said "students?" and we nodded and he stamped our tickets.
We're ALMOST at Budapest. We ALMOST made it. But of course something goes horribly wrong. All of a sudden a scary inspector man with a red armband approaches us. I assumed he just wanted to make sure that we had tickets and didn't just hop on the train. But that would be too simple. And that's not my life.
He looks at our tickets and asks for my student ID. I gave it to him. He shook his head and (in Hungarian) said it wasn't good. There was a girl my age with him who was translating. Apparently only European student IDs are good. Darcy didn't have one either. Just her teacher card. He wasn't happy with that. He asked to see my passport and her residency card and everything (I still have NOTHING from immigration). The whole time he's just shaking his head. The girl then tells us that the fine
is 80,000 forints. WHAT. That's like $360. That's more than half of my monthly salary. I told him I didn't have that money, and I was explaining to the girl that I had showed the woman at the ticket window my student ID and those are the tickets she gave us. The girl then corrected herself and said that we have to pay the cost difference PLUS the 80,000 forints. NOPE. I just sat there in shock. Eventually, after a lot of stress and conversations, we came to an understanding, and Darcy and I just paid the difference in the fares. Because I'm younger than 26, I only had to pay 1400 forints. Darcy had to pay 2400. But oh my god stress. No fun.
THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS.
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