Day 10 - Day trip to Opusztaszer

One of our main worries about this trip was that we didn’t really know how we were going to get to the cyclorama while we were in Budapest.  The cyclorama is actually located in Opusztaszer, which is about 150 km from Budapest.  

After doing some research, we figured out that we needed to catch a train from Budapest to Kistelek, and then take a bus to the Opusztaszer National Heritage Park, where the cyclorama is located.  

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So we woke up early in order to get to the train station in Budapest in time to catch one of the earlier trains going to Kistelek because it was going to take a little over two hours to make the journey.  We ended up missing the train we were trying to get on, but the trains left every hour, so we just waited in the train station for the next train.

As we approached Kistelek, we began to realize how empty this part of Hungary was.  The train station in Kistelek was two train tracks, and no platform.  We exited the train station, and saw the bus that we were supposed to be on to get into the city, and eventually get to Opusztaszer, drive away.

We saw on the bus stop sign that that was the last bus for the next few hours, so we started to get really worried.  Fortunately, there was a charter bus driver who took pity on us, and told us to get into his bus.  Warily, we did what he said.  Through hand motions, and maps, he communicated to us that he would drop us off at the main station in Kistelek, where we could catch the bus that would eventually take us to Opusztaszer.

After being dropped off at the main station, right behind the right bus, we ran to that bus and bought tickets.  We found seats near the back, but we weren’t sure which stop we were supposed to get off the bus.  We asked the people around us, but no one was really helpful, so after a few stops, we ran to the front of the bus to ask the bus driver.

He motioned for us to stay up front by him so that he could tell us when to get off the bus.  He turned onto a side street and told us that this was our stop, and that we had to walk about 1 kilometer until we saw the entrance to the park on our right.  

As we started walking, we realized that it had gotten foggier and foggier throughout the day, to where we couldn’t see more than 20 yards ahead of us.  Kind of creeped out by the whole situation, and extremely cold, we walked along the road quickly in order to get to the park as fast as possible.

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We approached the park and noticed that there were only two cars parked out front.  As we entered the park, we were really confused because the front entrance was completely unmanned, and the ticket booth had curtains in the window and no one was there.

Since no one was there, and we wanted to get inside somewhere warm, we decided to enter the park and head towards the building the housed the cyclorama.  The whole heritage park was deserted, but when we finally found the cyclorama building, there was a lady sitting behind the information desk.

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We bought tickets from her and then ran to the restroom while they got the cyclorama presentation (lights and audio) set up.  After freshening up, we were finally able to see the cyclorama, which was absolutely breathtaking. Unfortunately, we were unable to take pictures while viewing the cyclorama.

The presentation of this cyclorama was my favorite overall, along with the platform in the center of the room, there was also a walkway that went out into the 3D foreground of the painting.  Normally, we would only be allowed in the room for 20 minuets; however, since we were the only visitors, the man who was running everything allowed us to stay in there for 30 minutes so that we could get our fill.

Once we were done, we decided that we wanted to figure out when the next bus would come to take us back to Kistelek.  The fog had continued to roll in, so we wanted to get back on the train to Budapest before it got too late and too cold.  At the information desk, we found out that the next bus would not be leaving until 4 PM, which entailed more than 3 hours of waiting.

The only dining options in the heritage park was a little cafe on the upper level of the cyclorama building, and no other buildings or attractions were open.  We were told that we should go walk the grounds because there were a lot of interesting things to see, but after glancing outside, we realized that the fog wouldn’t allow us to see anything or cause us to get lost.

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We ended up waiting for the 3 hours, sitting at the cafe where they, thankfully, had free wifi.  However, they only had alcohol, tea,  hot chocolate, and no food.  I ended up getting a hot chocolate, which was delicious, while Nina got some hot tea.

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After an hour or two, both of us were hungry, so Nina went to see if she could find some kind of snack, and luckily found pistachios for us to share.  Since we were in the middle of nowhere, we had not choice but to wait for the bus, and we figured it could have been a lot worse.  We were safe, in a warm building, and had food and drinks to keep us happy.

As the time for the bus to come got closer, we put our jackets back on, and took leave of the heritage park.  When we exited, there were no cars in the parking lot, and the fog was even thicker.  We walked to the bus station that we had been dropped off at, but we were worried that the bus wouldn’t come for us, so we decided to walk an extra kilometer to the next bus stop on the main road.

We sat in the cold and were so happy to see the bus drive up.  When we got to the central bus stop in Kistelek, the bus driver got off the bus and walked into the building.  At this point, Nina and I both wanted to get back to our hostel, so we were worried because we needed to catch our train, which was supposed to leave in 20 minutes.

We got off the bus, along with a couple of other people to figure out how to get to the train station, when the bus driver finally came  out and got back into the bus.  He dropped us off at the train station, and we rushed inside to buy our tickets back to Budapest.  After buying our tickets, we rushed out onto the tracks, and then realized that we probably shouldn’t have worried about rushing because the train was 20 minutes late.

The train finally came and we found ourselves a compartment with two other people, and were finally on our way back to Budapest.  When we arrived back into Budapest, we wanted to get food, so we decided to go to West End City Center’s food court so there would be many options for both of us.

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I found a Halal Pakistani restaurant, called Kohinoor, where I ordered Chicken Tikka Masala and naan and had real spicy food for the first time that trip.  Nina went to Spar and got a salad, and some snacks (peanut butter, etc.).  After eating, we walked back to our hostel, extremely exhausted.

When we got back, we showered and relaxed for a bit.  After a long, and crazy day, we finally fell asleep.