It was the best of times. July 2011 and our first trip to Budapest as a couple. On a lowish budget, we figured we’d have more money to spend in the city if we stayed in a tent. We found Haller Camping close to metro station, easy to get to from Keleti pu and close to the Danube, too.
Things were wonderful the first day. On the second day, it was hot and muggy. But we had a big plan: to visit Elisabeth Tower on the hills of Budapest. It started to rain a bit when we hiked the trail to get to the tower. And then it was hot and very muggy on the way back to the camp site. I was actually beginning to feel dehydrated. And sick. Because I forgot to refill the water bottle when we left Elisabeth Tower.
Back in the tent we settled for the night when we heard thunders. And saw lightning. It rained continuously from 8 p.m. until past midnight. We did fell asleep meantime only to wake up…in a puddle. And being rained on, despite being …in our tent.
We quickly realized that our low budget tent wasn’t made for such a summer heavy storm. Our sleeping bags coped better with the water, though. Still, we were faced with a tent which wasn’t water proof, two backpacks, two sleeping bags and badly needed to get dry and find a place to actually sleep.
Not surprised by how our tent performed, we got our belongings – nothing was wet in the backpacks – and left the tent with the gear inside. I was surprised to find every single shower stall full: one lady plus one tent or sleeping bag. I was hoping to take a hot shower and then change into something dry. Not so much but I managed to change and we left the damp clothes to dry in the laundry area of the camp site.
It was probably a good hour or two until we decided to go to the cafe’s terrace to find a place to crash. We weren’t the only ones. Some used the shower stalls and some went to the terrace. It didn’t take long to understand that during the night , even in July, it is cold in Budapest. The rain eventually stopped. And I put on every single long-sleeve blouse I had in the backpack. I managed to fall asleep with the head on the backpack on the table and spread over two chairs. My boyfriend didn’t sleep at all. And as soon as the sun was up, so were we.
We had to deal with the tent. It was a nice summer day. So we decided to go to a supermarket, grab some construction foil and garbage bags to insulate our tent and prevent further problems. Once this one done I had the “pleasure” of cleaning the tent and taking out the gear to dry in the sun.
We spend the entire day doing stuff in the camping and plotting the next days. The forecast wasn’t nice and as a result, we got rained on when we visited Vajdahunyad castle, as well. But at least our tent was now dry and didn’t get any drop of rain during the next days.
July is , apparently, one of the wettest months in Hungary. No, we didn’t know that.
It’s better to pay a bit more for a decent tent, then get soaked , and then have to figure out alternative ways to get insulation.
It was one of the best stays in Budapest, regardless of the issues we had. Plus, you wouldn’t be reading this article if we were more intelligent, right?
Photo by Traveling Cricket and cannot be used without permission.