I bought a bus ticket from Bratislava to Budapest for Wednesday morning at 11:15. My hostel had told me the bus station was about 10 minutes walk away so I left around 10:50 thinking this would be enough time. At 11:11 I still hadn’t found the bus station! I had to ask a nice woman to help me and luckily I was just a block away and arrived at the bus station at like 11:15! But then my phone picked up a wifi signal and I got an email from the bus company that the bus was delayed 25 minutes. I was so worried I was going to miss it or at least hold up everyone so I was very thankful that it was delayed. The bus ride itself was pretty uneventful and was only about 3 hours long. My hostel in Budapest hadn’t given suggestions on how to get there from the bus station and I attempted to look it up, but since I knew nothing about the bus/metro system in Budapest plus I didn’t have any Hungarian Forint (while Hungary is part of the EU, they have not switched over to the Euro) and it was raining, so I took a cab to the hostel. I’m sure if I had put some more effort into it, I could have figured it out, but it was nice to have a quick, warm and dry ride. My hostel here has an ensuite bathroom which I can see being nice at times and annoying at others, but we’ll see how it goes. We also get full size lockers so everything fits very nicely!
I was pretty hungry at this point so I walked to find something to eat. There’s a restaurant near the hostel that’s called Budapest BBQ Company that looked good, so I stopped in. I got tacos (which were more like quesadillas) and some cheese fries. Then I went to find a bank so I could get some Forint. I also stopped at a grocery store on the way back to the hostel to get a few little snacks and some iced tea (they sell bottles of Nestea, which is actually pretty good and really cheap). After that I came back to the hostel and decided I would go on the backpackers pub crawl that evening so I showered and got ready for that.
The flyer said to meet between 8 and 9 at a bar that was just 2 metro stops away. I arrived at about 8:10 and there was no one at the meeting spot (supposedly outside the bar) so I went into the bar and asked an employee if they knew where the meeting point way. She said that it was outside at the top of the stairs (where I had just come from) so I went out and checked again just to be sure. No one there still. So I went back inside and asked someone else and they said if they weren’t at the top of the stairs then they would have already left. But it was only 8:23 so I thought that was weird. I decided I would just get a beer at this bar and then see what happened. As I was waiting in line, I saw two people walk outside with a sign that said “pubcrawl meets here” so I jumped out of line and followed them. Turns out they were just running a little late! Phew! One of the guides gave me my free beer token for this bar, told me to be back at 9 and said that if no one else showed up then we wouldn’t do the pubcrawl but I would get my money back. It was 12 Euro and you got a free drink at each bar). So I got my beer and drank it until 9 when I met back up with the guide. Luckily 13 other people had shown up so we would be having the pubcrawl after all!
On the walk to the next bar I met PJ and Greg from Ireland and Ian from Portland. At the next bar we could play beerpong and flipcup and pitchers of beer were less than 1 Euro! While not the same size as an American pitcher, it was still a really good deal. So Ian and I challenged PJ and Greg to beer pong (Ireland vs America). I’m proud to say that America won 🙂 then we played against a guy from Romania and a guy from Israel. I’m embarrassed to say we lost that round, but only by 1 cup! Beginners luck on their part 😉
At the next bar we got to try the national drink of Hungary- Palinka. It was pretty disgusting! It’s even worse than plain vodka! They make it in a variety of fruit flavors (I tried peach) and it generally is 50-60% alcohol so luckily you don’t need many to start feeling them. But I just stuck to one as honestly I’m not sure I could have stomached another one.
At the next bar I met Niamh, Ciara and Meg who were all from Ireland as well. Besides talking to them, this bar was pretty uneventful.
The final stop on the pubcrawl was a ruin bar. If you’ve never heard of them, you should definitely look them up- they’re really cool! Big, old buildings are converted into these ruin bars without much redecorating or rearranging so there are tons of rooms (20+) and each one is sort of a different theme. Some are bars, some are dance floors, some have couches. All of the dance floors play different music so you can definitely find something you like. I love the idea of turning these old, decrepit buildings into something new and exciting. This was a Wednesday night and it was packed with locals and tourists alike. This particular ruin bar was open until 6am! I didn’t quite make it to that time though- I left around 4:15 >_< which if you know anything about me, you know that is WAY past my bedtime. I walked home since none of the public transit is working at that time and I had already gotten 10,000 steps by the time I got to my hostel! But it was a really good time and I’m glad I went! The night mainly consisted of dancing with PJ, Greg, Ian, Meg, Ciara and Niamh.
A hostel bed never felt more welcoming…