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