Deep into my euro backpacking trip in the winter of 2007-2008, I found myself on an evening train from Vienna to Budapest. Getting off the train late at night was an experience in and of itself, and the only other person who got off with me was a tall blonde guy. I made my way to my hostel on to run into him in the lobby. His name was Johannes or some similar Dutch name that I don’t remember it now, and we started talking, being the only two people in the hostel.
He was only in Budapest for one night, and he wanted to go walk around the city and take in the sights before his train the next morning to Amsterdam. He invited me to tag along, and I was hesitant. I didn’t know this guy, and Budapest already freaked me out a little since I got scammed in the taxi. Not to mention I’m sure I’ve read this story or seen a movie about it somewhere. Strangers meet on a train in a distant land, was I going to be seduced and then murdered? But against my better judgement, I said ok. He was really skinny, I could take him.
We walked around for hours and hours; it was a perfectly clear night, crisp and freezing, with the moon shining brightly. We ended up at a very eastern European looking castle, called Vajdahunyad Castle (try saying that five times fast!) It looked like something straight out of Dracula’s Transylvania, which (after just wikipedia-ing it now) makes sense since it is a 19th century replica of a castle from Transylvania, Romania. It was easy to chose this for Photo Friday.
It was less creepy once we discovered an ice-skating rink set up next to it. By the end of the night we had seen so many of the famous sights Budapest had to offer with someone to talk to. At this point I had been traveling alone for over a month, so it was really nice to have someone to chat with. It was a great introduction to eastern Europe, and in fact the only dry day I had there.
Have you ever taken a chance with a complete stranger like this? Have you ever been to Budapest or eastern Europe? What were your impressions?