After we dropped Sherry off at the airport bus at 6am, we decided our next destination would be Greece. By 10am we had changed our minds and bought a train ticket to Hungary with a two day layover in Zagreb (it turned out to be a great decision for many reasons, one of which is that Athens got hit with flash floods the days we would have been there).
Zagreb hadn’t been high on our list since online reviews we had read were all mediocre. But we really loved it and could have easily stayed for at least a week. The entire city is one big coffee shop. They have outdoor cafes with umbrellas and heaters so it doesn’t matter the season- the whole city just comes out and sits in cafes. The main center is described as Zagreb’s living room.
It’s also fall season and so the vendors were selling roasted chestnuts. I hadn’t had one since living in Vienna and was excstatic to see them. It was the first time Cale had tasted them.
From Zagreb we made our way to Budapest on perhaps the worst 7 hour train ride ever. 7 unannounced transfers between buses, trams and trains and 12 hours later we made it to Budapest!
Our Camino buddy Katalin invitied us to stay a night with her family in the town of Szodliget, a half hour by train from Budapest. After our trip from Croatia we were immediately welcomed with open arms. Kati’s family is amazing and we talked about our Caminos (her dad walked the French route), life in Hungary, and traveling. Kati and her brother David showed us this special manmade lake near their village where locals sometimes go to fish.
We were invited for a feast of traditional Hungarian fish soup (made over an open fire) and stayed the night.
The next day Kati and Zita took us to the nearby town of Vac where Katalin went to school. There’s an amazing chocolate café there that has about 50 different types of hot chocolate. It was heavenly.
Kati and Zita took us on a tour of the town and on a nature walk next to the Danube. We lucked out with the weather and got to experience a real autumn day.
As we were enjoying Szodliget, Katalin’s uncle Andras offered the use of his apartment in Budapest while he went on a five day vacation to Portugal. He gave us a ton of tips and suggestions for things to do in the city and we also got to spend some time with him after he returned from vacation. We learned so much about Hungarian history from him, and had a ton of things to do in the city. Lucky us! Thank you, Andras!
More to come on our Budapest adventure soon!