Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Wrong Way To Hitchhike Budapest to Bratislava

(As I've mentioned before, my notes on this Eurotrip were stolen in San Jose, Costa Rica.  More on that later.  Due to this my memory of this part isn't accurate so I will substitute it with online information.)

Aboriginal Hostel's excellent breakfast fixed my palinka hangover quick, and I drank enough free coffee to keep me wired until at least sunset.  The hostel staff had no additional information on hitchhiking to Bratislava, so I took the hitchwiki.org information to heart:
When heading west (M7 to Balaton or M1 to Austria and Slovakia), you should take bus 272 from Kosztolányi Dezső tér or Sasadi út and get off at the stop Budaörs, benzinkút. It stops right in the Agip service station with a lot of traffic to both motorways. The journey takes 20 minutes. It can be a great place if you get a chance to talk to drivers, though the staff of the petrol station may not allow it.
It was a lucky day.  I didn't have to wait long to get a ride, and the guy was practically fluent in English.  He was an Austrian-Hungarian who handled construction contracts for various projects in Central Europe.  His current project was a large entertainment park that would be built right by the convergence of the Austrian-Slovak-Hungarian borders.  I had been through that empty region before.  I congratulated him on his success, but secretly felt that the last thing an untamed wilderness area needed was another massive, sprawling building complex.

View Larger Map
What did it matter?  I'm no fucking earth child.  With just one ride I was almost to the Slovak border.  The Austro-Hungarian dropped me off at the highway exit near Rajka which lead to his house and happy family.  At that moment, I saw no safe place by the highway so I went to the auxiliary road to keep from getting killed.

My luck ran out.  After an hour barely a car had driven by.  I was impatient and grumpy.  I estimated the border would be no more that a kilometer away so I started walking down the 150/S2 to see if on the other side I would encounter a bus stop where I could go directly to Bratislava.  My Budapest hostel hangover was starting to return and the coffee had wore off.  It's sunset.  I swear no more palinka ever again.

Highway M15: This is where you should cross the border
When I got to the border, there were no bus stops - hell, there weren't even cars.  A lonely, derelict border station from the days before the highway had been built sat there as a stunning monument to post-Communist neglect.  Here words like "renovation" and "renewal" don't exist.  The desolate relic mocked my stupidity for taking the auxiliary road instead of the highly-trafficked highway border crossing.  I crossed the border on foot alone.  The two cars that followed ignored me as I entered Slovakia.

There was another building ahead surrounded by trucks.  Perhaps I could rest there for a minute and find a ride.  Or perhaps not.

Road 150: This is where you shouldn't cross the border
Strip clubs are fun, but not the place to waste my time while I am still 20 kilometers from my final destination.  Plus I imagine that border strip clubs have some rather frightful ladies.  Beyond the club I saw nothing promising for a ride nor a rest.  I focused what little energy I had and swore I would walk all the way to Bratislava if I had to, God dammit.

Another kilometer down the the road my luck returned.  The two-lane road had been reduced to one-lane for a construction project.  Temporary stoplights had been put up in order to make the two-lanes alternate turns so as to avoid head-on collisions.  This created considerable backup on the lanes.  Bad for the drivers; good for me.  I started casually walking up and down the line of stopped cars asking for a ride.  Within 15 minutes a nice elderly couple had taken me to my old home of Ružinov, Bratislava.

I'm home again.  My European home.


1 comment:

  1. nice post, never thought that hitchhike from Budapest to Bratislava is possible, i see that it somehow is. http://www.ambiente-apartments.com/en/bratislava