Also, the train/bus went along Lake Balaton for it's entire length, which made for lovely views but altered the climate on the train by a pretty large margin. It was comfortable when we first got on, then became swelteringly hot while we were on the lake. When we finally got past the lake, we were in the mountains and it got pretty chilly.
After we escaped the French boys on the second train, we decided to spread our luggage around and take up an entire six seat compartment for fear of making new smelly friends. As it turns out, Croatia is not in the EU, so we had to deal with border patrol on both sides of the Hungarian/Croatian border. The immigration/customs officers thought we were pretty hilarious with our crap strewn all over the place.
It was really hot in Zagreb when we got there (5-14), so we sweat like crazy trying to get to the hostel with our packs. Pretty much as soon as we arrived, the weather completely changed; it became cold and rainy!
To be honest, we were so hot from the train that we didn't even care. The hostel was pretty nice, but very crowded and a bit dirty. The reception was helpful, but we could never find them when we needed them...
Our dorm room was full of ridiculous British boys that were very friendly and harmless but a bit too loud. They had been to a soccer match earlier in the day, so they were super hyper and would not stop singing soccer chants. Funy for about 3 minutes.
We decided to go get a drink with them in the bar downstairs because the hostel provided vouchers for free "welcome drinks." The drinks provided were traditional Croatian liquors; one was made from honey and one from blueberries. They were really good but super sweet-- one ounce was definitely enough.
After listening the British boys narrate their entire life stories for about 45 minutes, we decided to go to bed to escape the bore.
We successfully slept for about 5 hours until woken by the return of our charming British friends, who had apparently spent the entire night/morning drinking and practicing their Croatian soccer chants.
There was also a bell tower right outside the window that began ringing every 15 minutes starting at 6 AM. Needless to say, not the most restful night of sleep.
When we woke up on Sunday morning (5-15), it was pouring rain. We showered and took care of all of our internet business to wait for it to subside then donned all of our rain gear and ventured into the wet. We tried to go to some of Zagreb's museums, but they were all closed on Sunday, so we ended up just wandering around the streets. Luckily, Zagreb is sort of in the mountains and is really old, so all of the streets were pretty interesting and quaint.
There was a really nice church in the Old Town square, which we had to walk up a bunch of impossible-to-find steps in order to reach. There were really excellent views from the top though! We totally scored by finding a cheap souvenir shop-- a number of you will be getting gifts from Zagreb.
The hostel had also given us vouchers for a $6 "backpacker's lunch," which consisted of a traditional Croation meal and a beer/desert. We ordered sausages (surprise) and chicken breast filled with ham and cheese. We sat next to a table of literally the stupidest tourists we have ever run across-- 100% foul and classless.
It's no wonder that tourists are so unwelcome in many parts of Europe. It seems as though a number of tourists simply show up in a place, get as drunk as possible and make a giant mess, then yell about it for the rest of the week. Intolerable.
We ran away from them to find a coffee shop to hide in to avoid the second round of pouring rain. There was a place called "Cappuciner" right next to the square that had free internet. We ordered one coffee and one "chocolate," which turned out to literally be melted chocolate in a glass. Seriously-- melted, frothy chocolate chips that solidified with time/loss of heat.
We killed several hours here messing around with pictures, trying to write the Budapest blog, enjoying the delicious drinks, and people-watching. Then we went back to the hostel, watched a few episodes of Glee, and packed up our bags to head to the train station.
Trying to kill time until catching a night train can be very difficult, especially when it is pouring rain. Thank goodness for this little computer. We boarded the train around 11 PM and it departed at 11:30 for Split. More on the horrific train ride in the entry for Split... Dovidenja!
The train from Budapest to Zagreb was pretty interesting. First of all, they were doing repairs on part of the train tracks, so we had to switch to a bus at Siofok, then got back on another train at some point that took us the rest of the way.