Day 161: Trainhopping

Sweet love – tasting Tokaji aszu, a dessert wine famous in Hungary

Tokaj wasn’t quite a straightforward destination to reach from Levoča, Slovakia. We decided to stop by this wine producing region famous in Hungary for it’s sweet dessert wines rather than messing about with Bratislava. It took 12.5 hours and 3 changes to bridge the mere 250km distance.

It was only yesterday that we left Levoča. I got up before 7 hoping for good morning light but was disappointed. Headed to check bus schedule instead and found a reasonable 0905 departure to Košice, Slovakia’s #2 city close to the Hungarian border.

We thought it’d be easy to catch a connection, rail or bus, to Tokaj from there (both are just a stone’s throw from the Slovak-Hungarian border) but so wrong!

Old tram tracks running through Kosice

From Košice, we had to go to Miskolc, a hub on the Hungarian side to catch another connection. But only 2 trains ran daily to Miskolc, one at 06:00 the other at 18:05. It was 11:00 when we pulled into Košice. So… we had 7 hrs to kill. Waking up early didn’t quite pay off. It was ok though cos this #2 city had its charms.

A mix of medieval and art nouveau buildings add to Kosice’s charm

In the evening, our train arrived in Miskolc 10 mins late, missing our connection to Tokaj. I was thinking fuck, hope we’re not stuck here for the night. Luckily, info centre told us there was another train we could take headed in the direction of a town i will never be able to pronounce. We’d have to get off midway at Szerencs for yet another connection, but with only 4 minutes to change. I wasn’t optimistic.

Waiting for a connection at Miskolc

We waited an hour in Miskolc. The train came, we boarded. 20 mins to Szerencs. Better arrive on time…. I looked at my phone. 21:13, already 2 mins behind schedule.

21:15, shit. That’s the departure time of our next train to Tokaj.

21:16, the brakes were on, we pulled into Szerencs. Doors opened and we jumped off. Never has an idle train been such a relieving sight – there on the adjacent platform was our Tokaj-bound locomotive. I raised my arms to the conductor as we ran towards it. “WAAAAITT!!!”

Tired backpacks.. finally on our train to Tokaj

We finally arrived in Tokaj at 21:40 last night, exhausted but thrilled. It’s been a while since we’ve made such hectic journeys, it was reminiscent of South Am. Perverse as it may seem, I think this is the kinda hassle that makes travel fun!

Tokaj village – somewhat reminds
me of southern France!

On a train now to Budapest, ‘wined’ up and good to go. It’s a direct train this time so not expecting a memorable journey!

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4 Comments

  1. Leslie says:

    I can just imagine you guys standing at the door and just as the crack of the door opened enough for you to squeeze through you bolted! I see it everyday on the TTC! Haha…

  2. ace says:

    hahahahaa yeah, agree with L… and i hear you guys go WAAAAIIIIIIIITTTTTT with a crazy expression your face.

    love the photos glenn.. you are talented. AND… i would love to see more pics of you guys!

  3. Charlie says:

    I start to wonder if your passports have begun to run low on blank pages yet. =P
    Cheers,

  4. 山 him says:

    leslie: hahah it was almost like that except we couldn't really run that fast with backpacks on :) :)

    ace: you can see our pics in the photo gallery!!

    charlie: hahaha! borders in europe are pretty much non existant (which takes away from the excitement of travel) – as long as it's Schengen or EU or whatever, there are no passport controls so we only have 1 entry stamp from Oslo…. boo!

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