Hungarian Bureacracy has its good side. The last weekend in April I had to head to Zagreb, Croatia in order to get my passport stamped. It seems Croatia is the closest country NOT a member of the European Union. Apparently, the permit from the convenient housing authority is impossible to get. I was informed that there is a long tradition of foreign English language teachers leaving the country to get their passport stamped. Before Hungary joined the EU you could take a quick trip to Vienna (3 hours) but now we are required to leave the EU and come back. I’m a little confused about this custom because 90 days does not seem too long for a European vacation. Anyway I followed directions. I went down to the railroad station with a piece of paper Budapest à Zagreb and Zagrebà Budapest and along with dates & time. She seemed a little puzzled at first but somehow got it & I was issued a ticket for the next day.
My compartment mate on the way to Zagreb was a Bosnian student working for her Master’s degree in translation at the University in Zagreb. She was delighted to have someone to talk to and she told me everything I needed to know about Zagreb. If she hadn’t been late for her three Saturday classes she would have shown me the town.
It is a wonderful old historic city, apparently untouched by WWII or the recent civil wars. I stayed in the only $$ medium priced hotel recommended by Rick Steves, their aren’t any cheap hotels so my decision was easy.
Too make it even easier, I completely forgot to check the exchange rate before I left so when I was faced with the cash machine and the hotel price sheet I had no idea what I was spending. I highly recommend this strategy for a relaxing vacation.
The seven hour train ride back with no food or water available on the train could be a little horrendous. My food supply thoughtlessly included salty pretzels but I survived.Slide show of Zagreb http://picasaweb.google.com/Janwingen/Zagreb