You’ll have to wait until the end of the Romania articles for an in-depth on Budapest. The most importance task after arrival was to find and walk over to the proper train station (Budapest has quite a few), confirm train times and make seat reservations for the 6-hour ride if necessary.
Budapest (Ferihegy) International Airport is ten miles south-east of the city centre. It has two terminals: Terminal One for low-cost airlines; and Terminal Two is divided into two, with Terminal 2A the departure and arrival point for flights of Malév Hungarian Airlines and Terminal 2B for all international carriers’ flights and a few budget airlines.
We took Airport Minibus into the city. It will drop off and pick up passengers all over Budapest. A popular and economical choice.
The Carlton Hotel on the Buda side of Budapest, gave us metro passes and directions to Keleti Eastern Railway Station. Tip: There was very little written in English in the station – be prepared to keep asking questions until someone points you in the right direction. The right direction consisted of a very long line, filled with tourists, backpackers and Hungarians, all waiting to buy tickets, make seat reservations, etc. Thank heavens an English-speaking person helped us, got the correct times, didn’t need seat reservations, and we were ready to start our trip.
The next day, we had trouble finding the track for our train to Medias. There were 6-8 tracks in the central hall but our track was way off to the side. Found a compartment and settled in, two of the only westerners on the train. Strictly by concidence, a few hours into the journey, fellow “digger’s” were in a compartment just a few down from us, both Americans. Erin, from the East Coast, taught English in Japan and Ron, a machinist from Maryland who went back to school and got a degree in Archaeology.
Stop after stop rolled on by after the border crossing, and we faced a predicament. None of us knew what time the train actually arrived in Medias and there were no station announcements at all. Approximately, six hours into the rail journey we pulled our bags into the aisle and stood there like dorks, asking Romanians…”Medias?….Medias?…” over and over again, prepared to jump off as soon as Medias appeared. The Romanians kept looking at us – a novelty for them to see Westerners in Romania – and when we finally prepared to get off in Medias, two men tried to hold us back. They couldn’t believe that anyone in their right mind was actually getting off in Medias. (Train’s final destination was Bucharest, the capital of Romania.)
Off the train, Andre is nowhere in sight and we are in this very little town on a Sunday. Nothing open, no one walking the streets, what to do? Got in a taxi and rode to Mosna where a local called Andre on his cell phone for us and he materialized about 15 minutes later.
Andre took charge and delivered each of us to our Host Families who were anxiously waiting to welcome us.