Our friend Laszlo called. Now not only is the Budapest Airport on strike, but as of last night, so are the train workers. Bad news, our tenants were going to Pecs for a couple of days. Worse news, we have train tickets to go to Vienna to catch our plane tomorrow.
Ron and Bill went to the train station. No trains on the tracks, no people milling around, the departure and arrival board is blank. Ron was able to get a refund for our tickets.
Plan B: Take the bus to Vienna. I hate the bus. We arrived at the bus station at 9:50 am for the noon bus. Our number was called fifteen minutes before the bus was due to leave. We were left with five minutes to spare after we received our tickets. The bus company doubled their buses to all popular places the trains would normally go. They were probably in their glory over the increase in income. We had asked two young Brits who were buying tickets to Vienna if we could join in to buy ours at the same time. In a quick and immediate response: NO!! How rude.
As we waited, a young woman came up to me and said she knew me from ELTE. She asked if she could by her tickets when we did. She was 47 numbers behind ours. We said YES!! Learn a lesson young Brits.
We made our way to the second bus, found seats and there was only one empty. The other bus was packed. Along the way, we stopped at various towns, but no one left us, but more came aboard. They stood. About an hour outside of Vienna, three German speaking people boarded, one man and two women. The one woman was hysterical that there were no seats. She was matronly and on the portly side. She started screaming in German. It was a miracle the driver did not have an accident. It is my best guess, she was requesting a seat. She strategically planned her wrenching cries just as was standing next to two young German speakers. One one of them was moved to move. His friend was not abandoning his seat for anyone. The screamer abandoned her standing friends to abscond the vacated seat.
The ride is scheduled for three hours, but three hours and forty minutes later, we arrived at the Vienna bus station. We were clueless where we were, so went for a coffee and a map check to get our bearings.
Needless to say, it was dark by this time. Vienna was disappointing in the Xmas department. It looks like the Grinch stole their decorations. Most streets are unadorned. The only areas that are shiny bright, are those where markets are set up. By the time we reached the Rathaus, it was closed down for the night.
Not even Stephanplatz was as festive as years past. We did find Karlskirche quite lovely with booths of upscale crafts, food, and wine.
Dinner is always at our favorite restaurant when here for only one evening. The Willendorf, a gay owned restaurant has splendid food and excellent service. My rib eye steak was like butta in my mouth.
Again, we stayed at Pension Wild. Great beds!
If your train ticket does not include public transportation, a day ticket is 5.70 Euros.