Boitumelo Vero Rikhotso

Destined for greatness!

24 Hours in Budapest, Hungary (Part 1) April 4, 2020

Parliament 2

Hungarian Parliament Building (AKA Parliament of Budapest owing to its location)



In November 2019 I went on vacation and explored four European countries; Ireland (Galway & Dublin), Austria (Vienna), Hungary (Budapest), and Portugal (Lisbon). Of the five cities visited, Budapest was the hardest part of my trip and for a very simple reason – language. As someone who travels solo, it is not easy to go to a country that speaks a language you do not, and practically speaking, as much I love languages, I cannot learn them all.


This will be a 2-part blog; this one looks at all the admin and Part 2 will deal with the exact activities you can do in Budapest in 24 hours. Hungary was the third out of the four countries I visited so, from Vienna, I took a return Railjet train to Keleti Station, Budapest. It was a lovely and comfortable 2 hours, 40 minutes ride with free Wifi onboard. You can pay €3 (R48) extra to reserve a specific seat.  I did not bother.  I figured November was not considered high season so I took my chances and sat anywhere there was an open seat. The disadvantage to this would have been if someone had booked the seat I was sitting on, and I would have had to move. That did not happen on both trips so I was good.


On arrival at Keleti Station, I made my way to the information centre to ask them about where I could get a bus or train to my accommodation and also, where I could find the nearest ATM since they did not use Euro as a currency, unlike the other three countries I was at. This is likely to change in 2020 when they adopt the Euro as a currency. I went to two separate offices and was met with blank stares. I assumed they could not understand English and can I blame them? Who says they must know English? I then decided that I needed to use the bathroom, calm down, see if I can just walk around the city to find an ATM, withdraw some cash, find a coffee shop with free wifi or buy a sim card so that I can contact the apartment owner. He had sent me the address of the accommodation and the bus&train stop I should mention when taking either mode of transport.

Anyway, back at the bathroom, the operator needed an amount of  200 HUF (Hungarian Forint)  (R8.60) for me to use the bathroom which I did not have because you know,  local currency dololo. I only had Euros which were not acceptable. Wow! I thought. Why did I not go on the train when I felt the urge? Procrastination is a mother of… Anyway, as I was turning back, a lady who could see that I had no money, gave me a few coins and I thanked her in English and her smile made me believe she got what I was trying to say. I paid and was able to use the bathroom. Then I realized that she had to turn away as she had no more money to use the bathroom herself. I tried to stop her but she insisted. Not all angels have wings y’all. You know God be having my back! I walked out of the station and saw another office where people seemed to be buying tickets. I headed there hoping for a better experience since the automatic ticket machines were in hungarian.


I made a bee-line towards a queue serviced by a lady who had ample smiles when transacting with people. When it was my turn, the moment I said ‘Good morning,’ her face immediately changed. She became what seemed to me as irritation and said something in Hungarian. I informed her that I did not understand what she had just said and that I needed information on buying a ticket, ideally a 24-hour pass that allows me to use all modes of transport. More speaking in Hungarian and an increased pitch followed. She looked over me and a gentleman came to my side and tried his best to listen and assist although he was struggling with English. I sympathised and appreciated his help and after a few minutes, I had a 24-hour ticket and had no idea where to turn. I got out of the station and saw a number of bus stops. I got onto the first bus and showed the driver the name of the stop I was supposed to get off at. He simply shook his head and I got off. I tried the next one and he gave me a nod which I took as the affirmative. The announcements on the bus were made in Hungarian so I just decided to listen to the name of the station so that I know where to get off. I got off and managed to easily walk to the accommodation with no issues.


For accommodation, I stayed at the Amber Terrace Studios which I booked through Booking dot com. I stayed there for only one night which was an excellent choice. The apartments are clean and affordable. They also have a mini kitchenette and a huge bathroom. There is good security in the way of access to the building. Real value for money.




Train cost: €59.80 (R956)
24-hour Public transport cost: 1 650 HUF (R79 for bus, tram, train & metro)
Accommodation: €27.92 (R447)
Food: 2000 HUF (R86)
Excursions: €19 (R304)


TOTAL Expenditure: €198 (R3168)


Now that the boring stuff is out of the way, let’s get to the fun stuff :). Part 2 loading…


2019: THE YEAR THAT WAS… December 31, 2019

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15kg lighter, 7 new countries, 12 books read, 30+ books given away, half-way through my debt-freedom journey, and I dropped out of University – 2019 was a year to remember. Thank you Lord. #GratefulHeart


15 kg lighter 

It is a secret no more that this year in May I have adopted the Banting/Keto way of eating. This makes sense to me right now and I am happy with the results. I am feeling light, my bathroom habits are daily with constipation a thing of the past and I have clarity of mind. Of course the clear skin and weight loss are benefits but health was key for me. As someone who does not exercise much (something I am working on), eating this way has been a saving grace. The light went on for me when I started looking at sugar as the poison that it is and no longer as a treat. I never thought I would be able to live a life without a Lunchbar, but here we are. Of course, life is not all about a perfect diet so when I feel like a slice of cake I go ahead with no guilt. It is just not my everyday thing anymore like it used to be.


7 new countries 

As some of you have read on my blog, I am on a quest to seeing every single country on earth. Yes, including the continent of Antarctica. In 2019 I was able to touch down on 7 countries which was an awesome privilege. I am also blessed to be in a job that allows me the pleasure of travel although 5 of the countries visited was for leisure. Blogs on each country’s experience will come. At the close of 2019, I have been to a total of 25 countries (5 transit).


  1. Lusaka, Zambia
  2. Dar es Salaam & Zanzibar, Tanzania
  3. Doha, Qatar (Transit)
  4. Galway & Dublin, Ireland
  5. Vienna, Austria
  6. Budapest, Hungary
  7. Lisbon, Portugal


Books read

Here are the books I read in 2019. In October I decided to give Kindle a try and I am sold. The last six books below were read on the Kindle.


  1. Money and the prosperous soul – Stephen K. De Silva


2. Translating God – Shawn Bolz


3. An echo in the darkness (Book 2 Mark of the Lion Series) – Francine Rivers


4. Mokwahepo – Ellen Ndeshi Namhila (Unfinished)


5. If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat – John Ortberg


6. Health and wholeness through the Holy Communion – Joseph Prince


7. Don’t waste your life – John Piper


8. Enough – Helen Roseveare


9. Playing with fire – Scott Rieckens


10. The simple path to wealth – JL Collins


11. The weight of shadows – Alison Strobel


12. The legacy journey – Dave Ramsey


Books shared

Because I am in love with books, when I find books worth sharing, I go overboard. The two books I loved sharing in 2019 and will continue to share were;


  1. If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat (John Ortberg)
  2. How to make your first million (Warren Ingram)


Financial independence journey

Sometime in 2016 I was on the floor in a puddle of tears, chocked by debts. I was earning well, but somehow I was not managing financially. I was getting paid only for the salary t0 be gone the next day.  I prayed for a strategy, and I knew I had to get and stay out of debt. I decided that I would no longer go into debt for anything. Not for a house, a car, travel, food, clothing – nothing. My journey of debt freedom and financial independence thus begun and it has not been an easy journey, but it has been soooo fulfilling. Debt can be such a yoke and I am ever grateful that I have served divorce paper on that monster. I will provide a more detailed update when I get to the end of the journey, which should be in the next 18 – 24 months. This is one of my favourite topics of late.