Transportation in Hungary

This post is in response to something Connor showed me on his iPhone…. the six ways to get around in Hungary.  He was chiding us for not being hip to the public transportation here (at that time).  But in my quest to make this posting, I discovered a few more than six ways to get around Budapest!

IMG_0889In certain areas of the city there are the “electric buses” – not sure what else to call them.. We never traveled on one of these..

IMG_0880This is what I call the “fancy villamos” – surface train.  These newest models are where the tourist go and I assume the are the latest models.  Others are older.

IMG_0882Of course, everywhere has normal buses.  This is one of the newer ones and there are others that are double long with a accordion middle section that hooks the two parts together.  We took one of these regular buses a few times – to the Buda Castle area with the senior missionaries on a little trip and up to Buda Hills with the YSA.

IMG_0932These little trains are called Gyermekvasút or the Children’s Railway.  This is a delightful small gauge train that caters to children.  There were many grandparents and grandchildren or parents and children on this ride through the Buda Hills, including Janos Hegy or Janos Mountain.  The cost is not covered in the regular public transportation fees.  The cost was 700 forinths each (about $3.50) for our trip from one end to the other end.  Children sold us the tickets and were the ticket checkers in our trip. Here is the boy that was checking our tickets on our trip.

IMG_0915They also stood saluting when we passed through the various stops. Here are two that we saw along the way.  I am not sure if they get paid to do all these jobs – or they are in training – or what!  But they are very serious about their positions as train workers!  We later learned that children applied to learn how to do these jobs – and were excused from school a few times a year to do their duties.

IMG_0940Here is an usual “cogwheel” train.  In the middle of the track, there is a flat gear like strip that helps move the train on its journey.  The train is very wide and some of the trains have rooms to carry strollers and/or bicycles up and down the mountain.  We passed some trains coming up full of youth with their sport bikes.  This train goes from one area of Buda up Buda Hill – it is a steep grade up the hill.

IMG_0954Here is the inside large rooms.  This train was quite a bit wider than the children’s train.


Bicycles are used very extensively as a method of transportation in Hungary.


Here is a unique way to carry your stuff with a bike-cart.

Budapest - bike and cart

We saw this bike-car in one of the main squares in Pest.  When I asked if it was okay to take a picture, he said for a cost.  So I gave him some forints and he allowed a picture.  Pretty creative way to recycle a car!


There are several underground train lines from Budapest to the various outlying areas.  They are called The Metro.  Here is the newest version of one of the trains.

Metro Train Modern

This modern train goes on the line that is most used by tourists – therefore new and shiny! Here is a look inside.

Metro Modern 2

Here is a much older train that goes into District 8, a much poorer section of town.  I went there occasionally to do some visiting teaching with Adri to Garbrielle.  Gabrielle served her mission in America and liked to keep up her English.  Walking a mile after getting off the train through this area to get to Gabrielle’s apartment was scary to me!  The train rattled, too!  Maybe from the 1940s?

Budapest Old Metro Train

The major way that most Hungarians would get to another town would be by above ground train.  Some also used these trains to commute to their homes out in the suburbs.  We used them to go on a couple of service project to outlying areas.  There are at least 3 major train stations in Budapest.  You would pick the station depending on where you wanted to go.


And we cannot forget that Budapest is divided into two by a major river, the Danube – or as locals call it, the Duna.  And boats are used to transport people to various towns north and south of Budapest, like Szentendre.  There is also quite a commercial tourist industry of Danube River Tours up and down the river.


And there is always WALKING – which we did plenty of while we were there…  It was all fun and we learned to use public transportation a bit!


Flushing in Hungary

IMG_2398I know this is a weird posting; but since I first arrived in Hungary I have noticed some unique flushing mechanisms. One of our senior missionary friends had some reservations about the cute children pictures at the beginning and end of the post, so I delayed posting it until we were home.

Right before we left our home, the flushing mechanism of the toilet off our kitchen failed!  This happens to be a “Gucci” toilet (came with the house) and the ordinary Lowe’s or Home Depot equipment would not fix it.  A local plumber recommended just replacing the whole toilet, which seemed ridiculous to us; so we eventually found someone in Florida (thanks to the Internet) who might have the part!  Of course, we had to take pictures of the insides of the toilet tank – several times, email them to him, also pictures of the toilet tank lid, which had the toilet model number …. You get the picture.  Eventually, and for a price, we got the parts and replaced the parts.  (It would have been cheaper to just replace the toilet!!!)  Our toilets have a push mechanism but it is on the side where American toilets usually have a handle.  Sort of ackward to use!  So maybe this is why I am fascinated with the new-to-us mechanisms here.  I like them better than what we have back home!

IMG_2335So this is the kind that we had at the hotel we stayed at when we first arrived.  It is built into the wall, so I am assuming there is a tank behind the wall?  You could push either the little circle or the bigger circle… there are many variations on this theme.

IMG_2516Another style of in the wall flushing mechanism….

IMG_0229My sister in California says she has a button type flush.

IMG_0414So where is the tank on this one???

IMG_2543Another push mechanism – this is in our apartment.  Notice how thin the tank is, too!

IMG_2540This old fashioned tank was VERY high up on the wall behind the toilet and I could not find it at first. Who, in this age, would think to look up 6 feet to find a tank that high?  In this bathroom, the tub, the toilet, the bidet and the tank were all this wonderful turquoise color – height of style in the 70s??

Here is another one high up on the wall.  This one was in a restaurant.  You can tell how far up it is – I am 5’4″ and I had to really look up to get this picture!


Here is a unique style… you turn the knob/dial/faucett until the water flushes things away and then you have to turn it off?!  Prefer the push buttons..


IMG_0416I know this is not a flushing mechanism but look at this “shelf” toilet.  The hole is in the front – and there is a ledge where material is deposited… Now really, what a totally unique? design!

And the other thing that I loved was the teeny tiny sinks in many of these small bathrooms.  Here is one – at a ward building.  I put my phone on it to show the size.


A smaller than this sink was put into a shower room that was added to our apartment while we were there.  If I can find my picture, I will add it later!

And that is the end of my posting…  the little kids were on bathroom doors at a restaurant.