Apartment Searching and Smokey Subways

July 12, 2012 § 5 Comments

Skjalg and I have been apartment hunting online for several days now. We would love to find a place close enough to school that we will be able to walk to class, but agree that we will settle for one that is further away so long as it is close to the metro. We sent an email to one place that interested us, explaining that we would prefer to see it in person first but would take it now if it was still available because we liked it so much. Her response arrived this morning and she pretty much asked which apartment we were asking about because they had several at that location. Skjalg said he was a little suspicious that the apartment they were advertising wasn’t actually the one in the pictures and we decided that it would be best to head down there and look at the places in person.

Several months ago, we purchased this “amazing deal” on Groupon – round-trip tickets to any major European city for only 279,- ($45). We bought two each, intending to use them to go back and forth between Budapest and Oslo. As with most of our experiences with Groupon, there was a catch. When we went to book our tickets today we found that the tax for the tickets was 1200,- ($196) and was of course not covered by the deal. To add insult to injury, we even found the same tickets on another site – for half the price!

We quickly discovered that it was too expensive for us both to go down there and that one of us would have to go alone. It was decided that Skjalg would be the one to go, mainly because I have several appointments over the next couple of weeks that conflict with the cheapest ticket prices. Skjalg is heading to Budapest during the first week of August to find an apartment for us. We booked a hotel room for the first 3 days of the trip so that we won’t have to pay too much if he finds an apartment early in the trip. The feedback we have gotten regarding apartment availability has been really positive; almost everyone has said that it only takes a couple of days to find a place and the school provides a service that helps with apartment viewings and contract signing.

After we booked Skjalg’s plane ticket and hotel, I spent some time browsing Freshly Pressed blogs. I stumbled across a photography blog called Postcards from Budapest. The photographer, La Vagabond, is a nomad currently residing in Budapest and documenting her findings in what she refers to as an “idiosyncratic city”. I felt excited looking through her photos, thinking about the city I would be living in for the next 6 years. I’m sure my Budapest will be different from hers, but I appreciated the chance to look through her eyes.

One of her posts really caught my attention, as it concerned the metro in Budapest, the one that Skjalg and I wouldn’t mind riding everyday to school if we found an apartment outside of walking distance. The blog post title is “No, thanks. I’ll walk.” and in it, she writes about the dread she felt about “riding on a Socialist era relic”. She then goes on to explain that “The metro cars are 40+ year old pieces of flying junk and fires/mechanical problems occur on a regular basis.”. While I enjoyed the descriptive image her words painted, I found myself also slightly unsettled….how comfortable am I going to be riding 40-year-old pieces of flying junk to school with the constant worry that they will break down or catch fire? She even included a video of a smokey subway from February this year.

At least no one can say it won’t be exciting….? 😉 Cross your fingers for a place close to school.

If that video wasn’t enough, here’s two good-feeling articles about public transit in Budapest:

Waiting for you to come to die on Metro 3

BKV Bus Fire Signals the Coming of Spring

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