So its been a fair amount of time, yet again, but I am now nicely settled in at a hostel in Budapest. As usual, the journey was an interesting one, so here we go.
My days at the Hare Krishna Castle, otherwise known as Radhadesh, were just plain excellent. The people were absolutely wonderful to me, and as one of them said, “if a Hare Krishna isn’t smiling, he or she either isn’t following the faith properly, or there’s something wrong with them mentally.” The farm work was excellent, the food even better, and I will definitely be back some day. And even though I wouldn’t follow the religion, I found many of it’s views to be very logical, reasonable, and very respectable. But I won’t go into THAT conversation on here.
Anyways, on the day I left, I had five days to get to Budapest to see my concert. A journey across Western Europe in five days… Sounded reasonable. On my first day, I sped through many small towns as I journeyed to the main motorway. Average wait time on the country roads was maybe five minutes. I was extremely surprised by how speedy it was… But then I hit the motorway.
My wait time increased to about an hour, then two hours, switching between on ramps and service stations. I started to get worried as the first day really slowed down. I only made it an hour or so past Luxembourg. Oh, and I had my first run in with police (on this trip).
So I was getting a ride with this German, who decided to let me off on top of a bridge. I jumped out, grabbed my bag, and turned to walk.. Except, there was a police car literally behind me, just watching me do my thing. I gave them a little wave, and the lights flashed on. Lovely. So this tall burly German got out one side, and a small little lady from the other. I was asked if I had any drugs on myself, and he had to repeat it as I had no bloody idea what he really meant. He threatened to get dogs to sniff my bag, but I think my dumb look gave him all the answers he needed. After a quick passport check, they went on their merry way.
My next lift was with a German family. I sat in the back seat with their two very young children. The trust some people have for strangers is bizarre to me sometimes, but it tells me that not everyone out there is buying into fear. It was heart warming, for sure.
That night I had one last lift to a nowhere town, where I hid from the torrential rain in a forest near the highway. I had to sleep on a hill, and kept sliding down. I got enough sleep, I suppose, and was up early as I found out I had been sleeping in someones backyard.
The entire next day was incredibly slow. Average wait time was four hours, and with the added downpour of rain, my spirits sank quite a bit. I was able to make it to Mannheim that evening, and just as I was thinking about calling it quits for the night, a man came running at me waving. It was a Slovak named Richard, who was absolutely ecstatic about picking up a hitchhiker. They were going to give me a lift to Munich, my hopeful stop for the night… But then I found out they were going all the way to Prague. After giving them a well deserved hug, we set off in their old transit van. I got the cargo area, flanked on pretty much all sides by huge industrial lamps.
Richard and his two friends were on their way back from Paris. They had looted an abandoned factory for Soviet era lamps, and then sold them in Paris. They broke even on their costs, as the money they spent on gas, food, and beer pretty much killed any chance of a profit. But they were going to sell the rest to a girl in Prague.
So we drove through the night, as they transitioned from one driver to the other when one of them started swerving off the road. Swell times.
Early in the morning we arrived in Prague. They had offered me a place to sleep, but then that changed to drinking until 6am and sleeping in the van in the city center. After about a day of basically no food, little sleep, and beers with shots, I didn’t really care where I slept. “We have petrol for two hours, so that’s our heat for the night.” Yea, they left the van running all the time we slept, due to the temperature outside. And what did I do when I had to go to the bathroom? Well, jump out the back, wait for a break in people going to work, and piss in the gutter. It felt like an odd dream. Oh yea, and me and my new pal Richard were basically snuggled up against each other… Most interesting ride yet, and they were happy with that title.
When we eventually woke up, they showed me the least touristy places to eat in Prague, which meant meandering through alleys for ten minutes to this small little pub. I was overly happy about eating, and eating secret local food!
So I had a choice, then. Hitch from Prague, or wait for this girl to contact these guys about the lamps, and then get a ride to south eastern Slovakia, where it’s a fairly short hitch to Budapest. I chose the latter. So I spent the day and night there, with no word from the girl. The next day I decided to hitch out, as there was only that day and the next morning to be in Budapest. Ah yes, a mistake that was.
So I got to a great hitching spot on the outskirts of Prague. I started to wait. A few hours passed before A girl joined me. I remember she had really nice, green eyes. After an hour, however, she called it quits. Another hour or so later, this old guy came hobbling up the road. Quite large, with scars across his face, with a shopping bag in one hand and a cd in the other. He started hitching by waving this cd at passing cars as he approached me. Eventually he stood maybe ten feet behind me, waving this cd and standing exactly where a car would pull over FOR ME. Something just didn’t want be hitching out of Prague, I don’t think. His cd waving turned into standing in the middle of the road and clasping his hands together, as if to prey to the vehicles to stop for him. I was about at my wits end.
Eventually, HE left…. And an hour later, I did as well. It was around 6pm, and my hitching morale was gone. I do believe that is the first time I have ever abandoned a hitching attempt. I was lucky enough to get a cheap bus for the next morning to Budapest, however.
On my arrival, a nice sigh of relief, and I journeyed to the hostel I was supposed to work at…. Yea, it wasn’t going to be that easy. I soon found out this place wasn’t even officially opened, and when I found a wifi connection, this lady said we apparently had a misunderstanding. I’m not sure how we went from “yea we have lots of work to be done. Come on by, have a beer, and we’ll see what we can do,” to “we haven’t officially opened yet, there isn’t any work.” I sighed, booked into a cheap hostel for the night, and no matter what else came my way, nothing was going to ruin seeing my favourite band.
It was an excellent night seeing Dead Can Dance. It was definitely worth travelling from northern Scotland for. Morale was once again high as high could be, and on my return to the hostel, I had a reply from another Budapest hostel, offering me work!
Here I met Furri, the owner, along with Frederick, another Workawayer. Furri is the type that seems cold at first, but once you get past that, she’s perfectly swell. She runs the place like a big house, really. Feels more like couchsurfing than working at a hostel. Frederick, and the other volunteer I met later, Jack, are also great down to earth type folk, and after only a week of working here, I feel quite at home. The work is easy, we go out to folk music every few days, and i’ve been meeting some great people as they come and go. I think i’ll be here for at least a couple more weeks, if not longer.
So there it is. Budapest is an interesting city, with quite a bit to see. I’ll have things to do for quite some time, the food (and especially beer) is cheap, and the people I work with are great. The colder weather is moving in, so my next journey should be an interesting one, that’s for sure. I’m not entirely sure where I want to go next.. Maybe Krakow to visit people I met last time, or maybe south to follow the.. warmer temperatures. Time will tell, as i’m no plan maker, after all.
Till next time, ya’ll.