Sunday, June 08, 2008

Our Budapest hostel

Our hostel in Budapest warrants its own post on this blog because the experience was so funny. I had booked this hostel a few weeks before our trip after reading many reviews about it on Hostelworld (a website for reserving hostels). All of the reviews raved about this hostel except for one, which said something like this:

YOU CANNOT FIND THE HOSTEL AND THE 24 HOUR CHECK-IN IS HORRIBLE. DO NOT BOOK HOSTEL UNLESS YOU WANT TO BE LOST.THE ADDRESS IS NOT WHAT IS ON GOOGLE. I figured that someone was a little peeved because they could not find the place when they arrived and I went ahead and booked it. It turns out that I should have maybe heeded the warning!

As soon as I booked it, I received an email that said that we had to call a number when we arrived in Budapest, which was annoying, because who wants to worry about calling someone when we first step off a plane? I emailed the director, asking if we could just set up a certain time to meet since we would not have a working cell phone. They emailed back and said, "Use coins in a pay phone," so they must have thought that I was a doofus.

So we got to Budapest and David ended up calling the hostel, and after much confusion with operating a pay phone, finally spoke with the director who asked if we were riding a taxi, train, or autobus to the hostel.

We decided to head to the hostel, taking first a bus and then the metro (subway). When we got off the subway, we attempted to find the hostel but were kind of lost. After asking for directions, someone pointed to our street and we headed on. The address where we were supposed to meet was something like 44 Vaci Utca. We saw 44 Vaci Utca, which was actually an apartment building. After much confusion, we asked a souvenir shop owner who was next door about the hostel. She said, "Hostel? There is no hostel here!"

And then we knew we were in trouble.

We attempted to buzz people in the apartment building, trying to find any numbers on our reservation email that would maybe be a number for buzzing someone in the apartment building. Nothing worked. Finally, after about five minutes, a young man came out of the building. We asked him about the hostel and he looked at us like we were crazy and said that he was just visiting someone in the building, but that he did not know of any hostels there. He took our reservation sheet and was kind enough to call the number for us. When he finished, he said that the man was meeting us there in about 2 minutes and that we should wait.

So we waited, and after about 2 minutes, a man who I can only describe as looking kind of like Borat came, waving his arms and yelling, "HELLOOOO!!!!" He asked us about our trip, all the while leading us to the "hostel". Finally, he stopped in front of an apartment building and let us into a courtyard, where he unlocked an apartment and took us inside. This was when we realized that the "hostel" was actually an apartment, and that his version of "24-hour check-in" was meeting us at this address and leading us to the correct building.

Everything was fine after that, but he kept telling us about the other fine amenities besides the 24-hour check-in service, such as automatic check-out. Automatic check-out of the "hostel" really meant opening a window from the inside, walking outside, and then throwing the keys through the window when we left to keep it locked. It was hilarious.

So I present to you our automatic check-out:
Also, the first night we stayed there, I got into bed to read and then David climbed in, and as soon as he did the bed crashed onto the floor:

So the boys fixed it the last day. We have a feeling that everybody who stayed there before us rigged it so that it was "fixed".

Needless to say, our hostel experience in Budapest was interesting. However, we had a great time and enjoyed having an apartment all to ourselves. The "hostel" was centrally located and really clean...but the amenities were quite funny and unexpected, to say the least!

1 comment:

Kathy said...

This looks like a great place to stay--more pleasant than a regular hotel room.