Travel experiences gone wrong: Vienna, Budapest, a surprise assignment, and a puddle

, by Dylan Marshall

Travel experiences gone wrong: Vienna, Budapest, a surprise assignment, and a puddle
Tram in Vienna. Photo: CC0

They say travel broadens the mind – not least because travelling means unexpected experiences. Dylan Marshall recalls working on a school assignment and struggling to find hostels in Vienna and Budapest.

After the winter exam period last year, I decided to take a long weekend in Vienna and Budapest to unwind a little after a long semester, and to explore some new cities.

When I got to Vienna on Thursday morning, I suddenly remembered that I had an assignment due on Monday at 09:00. I decided to work on my assignment in one of Vienna’s famous coffee houses for a few hours on Thursday. It was a productive morning: I got about 1,200 words done and made a plan for the rest of my assignment.

The clouds were gathering. Being as clumsy as I am, I, of course, dropped my laptop on Thursday night and corrupted the hard drive, losing all my files. To top everything off, I hadn’t backed up my files in about six months. On Friday morning, I made some phone calls to computer shops looking for someone who could fix my laptop within the day as I was leaving for Budapest the next day at 09:00, and wouldn’t be back until Sunday around midnight.

I eventually found someone who said they could fix my laptop and recover my files so I ran across the city and dropped my laptop in with him. At 17:30, he called me and let me know that he had fixed my laptop but couldn’t recover anything from my hard drive. Despite this, for his quick services, I paid him an exorbitant amount which still makes me shudder.

Lost in Budapest

I woke up on Saturday at 09:15 - five minutes after my bus had departed from Vienna to Budapest. I quickly got up and booked a new ticket for the next bus an hour later. I eventually got to Budapest on Saturday around 13:00. In the lashing rain, I made my way to the metro station which served the bus station on the outskirts of the city.

To my utter frustration, the metro line was under renovation and closed. I asked a man who seemed to work for the metro company for help, but he spoke little to no English and he just pointed at the stairs and said “tram”. With little desire to do the intelligent thing and look at the metro map, I just hopped on the first tram which came to the stop. Turns out that the tram line circled the city centre but went nowhere near my hostel.

I stayed on until the terminus and decided to just take my chances and walk through the rain from there. I ended up being about a kilometre farther from my hostel in the city centre than if I had just walked from the bus station.

By the time I got to the end of the historic inner city, I was standing at a street corner, waiting for the traffic light to turn green when a bus drove past me and splashed my entire bottom-half with grey-brown puddle water. After about 50 minutes of walking in total, I made it to my hostel. After this rocky start, I decided to relax for my time in Budapest and forget about my assignment. I would bang it out on Sunday evening on the bus back to Vienna.

All-nighter in a hostel lobby

After an enjoyable time in Budapest, I got back to Vienna a little after midnight on Sunday and still had about 1,000 words to do of my assignment to do before the 09:00 deadline. My phone had died on the bus and I wasn’t sure how to get to my hostel by the night system of public transport, so I decided to walk. I got a little lost and it took me about an hour to get back to my hostel.

When I had finally got back, I decided to sit in the lobby and finish off my assignment. With my tiredness and predisposition for procrastination, I only finished my assignment by 07:30. After uploading it, I went up to my dorm and took a nap and enjoyed my final two days in Vienna, avoiding all school-related tasks and steering clear of my laptop.

What’s your most unexpected, embarrassing or hilariously catastrophic holiday story? Send us your contribution at tnf [at]!

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