What would you do if you were stuck in a gipsy village in Hungary without a working ATM, without cash and without a well-operating public transport system? For hours, I was stuck in the village of Hegyeshalom with no way to get back to Bratislava: an absolute Hungarian nightmare!
Before I get into the details of these unfortunate events, let me tell you something about the good things I experienced in Hungary! So as I talked about in this post, I walked my way across the Danube river from Slovakia to the land of hot springs. Once in Komárom, I took a train to Győr, the sixth largest city in the country.
The amazing Győr
So the town of Győr is amazing! It is filled with baroque churches, nice squares and stately buildings; I couldn’t help but feel very lucky to be there. I thought to myself: how amazing is it that I get the chance to discover this place all by myself? Thanks to this thought I was able to smile all day long.
With this huge smile on my face, I walked my way back to Győr’s train station. A friendly old woman who worked there explained to me how to get back to Bratislava. I paid around 1600 Hungarian Forints for my ticket with a stopover in Hegyeshalom. She did warn me that I bought a ticket for the last train to Bratislava though.
My Hungarian nightmare
All went well and when I arrived in Hegyeshalom at 18:28, I still had ten minutes left before my train to Bratislava would depart, cool! However, fifteen minutes later, it still hadn’t arrived an this got me confused: ‘it would still go right?’ So I walked my way to the ticket hall and that’s where it started: no trains at all would go back to Bratislava that day and the last train to Bratislava departed four hours ago! The huge smile on my face suddenly disappeared: HOW WILL I GET BACK?
I told myself to keep calm and to think straight. To my surprise, I managed to keep a cool head, but with no employees present at the ticket office, I couldn’t buy a ticket for an alternative route. Luckily, there were conductors at the station. For every question I asked though, they walked away very confidently, rude!
What should I do?
So here I was in a small Hungarian town all by myself, 35 kilometres away from my hostel in Slovakia. I noticed that a train would depart to Rajka, a village situated at the border between the two countries. My ticket was valid for this trip since my train to Bratislava would stop in Rajka as well: one step closer to my way back!
When I arrived in Rajka, it started to rain cats and dogs after 4 days of nothing but sunshine. I thought to myself: ‘can this Hungarian nightmare get any worse??’ and I started to get a bit frightened; there was just no way for me to get back to Bratislava! That’s when I had to improvise. I walked to the main road, I put my hand in the typical hitchhiker gesture and there I stood in the rain for a half hour. Just when I decided that my Hungarian nightmare couldn’t get any worse and that this wouldn’t work, a very nice man in a white van arrived. He would take me back to Bratislava!
Meet Palo: my saviour
I couldn’t believe it, this was the best possible Hungarian nightmare scenario! The man’s name is Palo Mocák and he was sitting in a van with his wife and kids but still, they made space for me. The whole family was so kind; they even offered me cookies! Palo is the only one in the family who can speak English so he translated all the questions his family asked me. They bombarded me with compliments: ‘my daughter says you’re a very handsome young man’, ‘you are so brave’. He told me all about Slovakia and its culture; he was too nice.
Palo told me he had driven past me but turned back after 500 metres or so. He said he could see I needed help and that God told him he had to go back. By sharing this story, he inspired me a lot. He is such a nice man with such a big heart, I can’t thank him enough! The family dropped me off near the city centre of Bratislava. I was speechless about this whole encounter.
Thanks to Palo, I got back home safely. He told me that the milk from Slovakia is very pure and that it cleans you from the inside. So here I am, writing this post in a library in The Netherlands, enjoying very tasty milk I got in Slovakia. Palo, if you ever read this, thank you for everything!