Day Seventeen

I have just checked in to my hotel in Vienna, and within minutes of dumping my bag in my room a train rattles under my window.

As I was walking to the hotel, I wasn’t too sure how I felt about the place. I’m not sure it’s the best location in the city, but the guy at the front desk was nice and helpful, and wearing red jeans ’cause why not.

I spent my last day in Budapest walking around again, and accidentally scamming the city out of free public transportation. I caught the #16 bus to Fisherman’s Bastion from my hostel, and didn’t see an obvious ticket machine. I got on behind a line of people who also didn’t seem to be showing the driver any tickets, so I just followed suit, assuming we pay on board. There was no way to pay on board.

At the top of the hill, I hop off and watch ohers do the same, all without paying. Huh, it was a tiny bus, maybe it’s just a free looping service.

The first thing I see stepping off the bus is the church. The colours on the roof really capture me, and I’m a little bit in love. Exchanging cash for tickets, the open archway of the church beckons. From the outside, there are no advertisements or indication (sound or otherwise) that something is going inside the church.

When I step inside, a school choir is singing and the music they’re ringing out through the chapel is exactly what I imagine Angels sound like, if they’re real. It was beautiful, really wonderful.

Outside again, and I head up to the Bastion. 

Amazing views of the city from up here. You have to pay to get onto the platform with the turrets, and there are archways in the structure on the ground floor, but it definitely felt worth it.

The parliament building was a spectacle. I didn’t see it up close during the day, just from the Bastion. However, I did go out with the hostel on a boat party on Friday night and snapped this awesome photo of it lit up from the river.

On my way home from the Bastion the bus rolls past a storefront. “House of Houdini”. I jump off at the next stop and walk back to give it a geez. Turns out it’s a little museum (read: shrine) to Harry Houdini, with a small tour and magic show with entry. I poke around and kill an hour with the brief 30 minute tour, and 30 minute (mostly cards) magic show run by a student. It was a really unexpected little find. Personally I really enjoyed it, it was lighthearted and fun, and different to a lot else I’d been doing. I wouldn’t say I’d recommend someone go out of their way for it – but do stop if you also happen across it.

Admittedly, I again caught the bus for free back down to my hostel, shitting myself the entire ride because I was finally somewhere I could read the “Bus Code” which did say there could be serious repurcussions if you were found to be without a ticket and that an inspector may board at any time. I figured I was in no further risk than I had been on the ride up, so even though I itched to get off a stop early I hung on.

Today, I went from Budapest to Vienna. After the boat party last night, I stayed up with Nicole a lot later than anticipated due to being too lazy to wash my face, and we had some pretty good deep and meaningfuls. I set my alarm for 8am so I could shower, pack, and have a good breakfast somewhere before my date with the metro at 10.45 to take me to the station. I remember waking up to turn it off like “why in hells would I set this?” And rolled over and went back to sleep. Thank christ the girls in my dorm were noisy, they managed to wake me up at 9.20 – at which point my brain flicked over into functioning mode and I ran around like crazy.

I had breakfast in the form of a slice of pizza at the train station, and then got well confused.

There were signs pointing to rows of platforms, EG: 1-5 this way, but no actual numbers on the platforms themselves to say you have reached platform 9. Then, the train sitting there didn’t have any of its identification boards turned on so I couldn’t say “oh yup this is the one to Vienna!” I ended up asking a guy wearing a fluro vest who looked like he worked there and he said, “Yup, should be the one.” Omg as if I wasn’t nervous enough. So I get on and thank Apollo the on board displays are showing our destination and I settle into a seat. At this point I realise people are looking at their papers then at the overhead compartments and back again like boarding an aeroplane. I look up to see seat numbers printed. I check my ticket every which way and can’t for the life of me figure out if I have an assigned seat but every single one says reserved. I end up just moving throughout the journey as people get on and off, switching seats for free ones for that particular leg of the trip. It works out, everyone is nice about it, and we go on our way.

Well, I found an underground pub that serves ginormous, delicious burgers and not-so-delicious apple crumble/sponge thing, and had a super long warm rainfall shower in my hotel, and I’m feeling a lot better about where I am.

Tomorrow I plan on getting a massage for my shoulders and neck because they are ailing me somewhat fierce, and then jumping on a hop on/hop off bus to get an image for the classics.

Regards,

Alex

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