Hungary day 1 – marathon run v BUS!

Up very early (5,.30am) on day 1 here in Budapest. Hubby decided that since there was a half marathon in town, he wanted to take part in it, saying he would use it as a marathon training ‘jog out’! Since I squeezed my Saturday training into Friday, because we were travelling out on Saturday, Sunday was scheduled to be my second whole day off. Very odd, but I thought I had better dedicate some time to poor Mark, since he spends so much time being my triathlon support team! So we decided to NOT negotiate the complex transport system and got a taxi to the start line!

After sorting out the race registration, and course map study, I was tasked with the job of getting to the hotel and back to collect the swimming gear, so that we could take advantage of his free thermal spa dip when he finished the race (all part of the half marathon race entry). Easy I thought!. Hmmm, no! I asked a woman where the metro was. The map said it was right here in the park where I was standing. Just behind me she said. I asked can I miss it? She said no, you will see it. I wandered around. No sign. I asked another two people – its just over there they replied. Still I couldn’t see it. I got so angry and frustrated I walked down the park to where I knew the next one was, having given up trying to find it! I get to the metro. Beszel angolul? I ask in my very limited app assisted Hungarian.

No, they don’t speak English. Oh shit!

I somehow manage to point and stumble my way thru a ticket purchase, and on I get. Next, I was looking for the tram station, to continue my journey across the river. Beszel Angolul? Yes, he did!! But, he tells me there are no trams on Sundays between 10.30am and 11.30am. Its 10.40am. FFS! I ask how do I get to Buda. A short walk he says – bus stop number 7. Ok. No worries. Off I go. When I find the junction, it looks like picadilly circus. There are subways to each road side, and a bus and tram station at each junction. It took me almost half an hour to work out the correct subway exit and the correct bus stop to stand at!!

No English speakers here to help me! Aaaargh! I was sure at this rate hubby would be sprinting his way round the course at speed while I stumbled on public transport!! I stand at the bus stop, watching the first few come past wondering whether I should have a ticket. They are all just getting on, and not buying. As I stand and panic, a bus or 5 go past. No, I need the 7. after the 173 leaves, no, I could have got that one!! Grrrrr!! My bus comes, at last. I get on, no one asks for any money. How odd. Is it free on a Sunday? Who knows! So, bendy bus journey passes without incident, and I notice we pass the tail end runners going the other way. Hmmmm, I am now convinced he will get back before I do!! They are all now running back the other way! Hotel, grab gear, dash out, and back I go. Its now 12 noon. 2 hours since he started.

He’ll be standing there now waiting for me!! I manage to get back through the transport maze much more smoothly, now knowing that I tell the ticket man egy – (1) but he confuses me still further by asking ‘ooot?’ he repeats it several times. I am confused. He is confused. He throws his arms up in the air and hands me a ticket, taking my note. When I get on the train I finally wonder whether it was ‘return’ he might have been asking me?! Oh well. I decided to get off at the mystery station that I couldn’t find. When I emerge into the park, I am but meters from where I started off, but the only sign there is even a station there is a flight of stairs that go down – no sign saying to where! How was I meant to find that!! Conclusion? It takes hubby just about 1 hr 50 to ‘jog’ round Budapest for 13 miles, but it takes me more than 3 hours to get to the other side of town and back via metro, bus, and foot!! Well, at least I didn’t get lost (or mugged!) Best bit – I have just discovered (at 8pm) that the Hungarian system is I should have been ‘trusted’ to buy tickets all day – had I had been caught by an inspector – 10,000HUF fine! Ooops!!

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