OK so today was a travel day from Frankfurt to Bucharest via Budapest airport. I could say nothing has happened, blah blah blah. But you know what today has been a good day in some ways. It started with the free hotel breakfast, included in the 42 Euros a night price tag. I stocked up on fruit for the day also.
The train ride to the airport was uneventful and on schedule, just like the Germans like it. I boarded my Air Malev flight to Budapest, from the outside it looked fine, the inside was somewhat aged and antiquated. Fortunately the plane flew ok and I arrived in a rather freezing Budapest. Not only was it cold and wet, but no aerobridge meant boarding a cold bus to be shuttled to the terminal. Frankfurt was so lovely and warm! I then proceeded to follow a maze of transfer passenger signs. Clearly this maze was known to trick people because I found a sign which had a u-turn arrow on it.
Eventually after finding some americans also lost in the maze, I found my way to the boarder control. All lanes were vacant, so I scanned them and it went like this… “man, man, man, hot blond Hungarian woman”. pushed past the americans to get the hot Hungarian womens stamp out of the Schengen Visa zone. This is where explaining gets difficult. The Schengen visa zone is a group of countries that share border controls. This is why you can go from France to Germany. Romania is in the european union but not in the Schengen visa zone yet or using the euro currency.
I then got on a Air Malev dash-8 (propellor plane) to Bucharest. This was not much fun at all, a very bumpy ride had me thinking whether this could be it, but to the pilots credit we actually landed safely in Bucharest. I again found the best looking immigration official to stamp my passport. Collected my baggage, went through the token nothing to declare green lane (not that the red lane is ever staffed anyway).
All the fun of taxi touts started here. Everyone had a special taxi for me sir. Also a special hotel and maybe girls if thats what I was after too. This all occurred next to some police/army carrying machine guns and the official information booth telling me to avoid the taxi touts. I could have caught the bus and then the train. But i was tired and went with the official taxi driver out front. I’m not sure if he ripped me off or milked me for more money. I think he got upset when I knew he drove past the street I wanted to go to. He charged me about 35 euros for a trip that should have cost 20 euros. But all intrepid travellers out there know this is common thing to occur. I just despise being ripped off. Thus guy could have got me here efficiently and i’d have given him a tip.
So the place I’m staying in can be best described as a communist era block of flats. I chose to stay here, because the place got such a great rating from so many guests to Bucharest on the hostelbookers website. Its not in the city but out in the burbs where real Romanians live. I have a room in a flat. The owner of the business, Constantine is very friendly and chatty. He lives in one room and his mother in another, while they rent the other two rooms out as a hostel. Two nights here cost me $40 and i’m getting an omelette for breakfast. Plus we chatted for hours, he loves photography too and has some wonderful photos taken in the parks around Bucharest. All the reviews are spot on, technically its not a hostel, but more a B&B in Australian terms, but first impressions are great. Tomorrow I will go for a wander in this really true to form ex communist city.