A Travellerspoint blog

Balaton Lake to Budapest

Injury and the kindness of strangers and friends

View Eastern Europe on Deb Godley's travel map.

After breakfast we headed to the train to travel back to Budapest. The plan was to stay one night in a nice hotel, have a traditional Hungarian meal at a restaurant recommended by Rick Steves (the Hungarikum) and spend Friday morning exploring the downtown sites before staying with our friend Eszter for 3 nights. The best laid plans, as they say...

We had hoped to be able to exchange our pre-purchased 1pm train tickets for 11am tickets. It turned not to be possible so we purchased new tickets (about $12pp). Boarding the train, I lifted up my suitcase and then stepped up to board, when I slipped and banged my leg on the metal sill of the train door. Ouch, I thought, that’s going to bruise. Sitting on the train as it was pulling out of the station, I noticed blood on my pants. Since there was no rip, I didn’t expect more than a scratch. Luckily, the pants were super stretchy jean/leggings so I could roll them up to look. OMG - a huge, deep gash in my leg. Bleeding and messy with innard bits. Yuck. Really yuck. No picture coming of that sucker; it was away too ugly.

Anyway, a young man stepped up to help interpret while the conductor called for an ambulance to meet the train at Veszprém, the next town with a hospital. So I pressed paper towels against it for a few stops and then we thanked our friendly interpreter and we got off with all our stuff and waited for the ambulance. The EMT pulled off the paper towels and made a disgusted how-could-you-possibly-have-done-this face and, I think, he said “yuck” in Hungarian. Then he showed his partner and she said “yuck” in German. They plastered and gauzed and taped and wheeled me toward the ambulance.

The next very kind stranger offered to drive Steve and all our suitcases to the hospital, following behind the ambulance. First time in an ambulance! Steve’s first time ambulance chasing. Anyway,very kind of him to help us.

So we arrived and waited for an English speaking doctor - I was known as “The English Patient”. I wondered if they knew the movie?

After a couple of hours or three, the doctor looked at it and said yuck in English, then cleaned and stitched - 7 stitches - a new record for me. They’ve added a drain that has to be removed in 2-3 days because it was so deep. The gash was 3 inches long, but was like a V with the edges an inch or so apart. So he had to do the stitches in some different way to get it together. I have a large gauzy bandage over the wound and drainage thing.


I had emailed Eszter (my friend in Budapest) while we were waiting and she offered to come right from her flight and pick us up at the hospital to stay with her tonight. Again a great kindness. I emailed and texted while the doc stitched. The bill came to 24,539 HUF, which should be about $115.

We stopped on the way the way home for a meal at the Söptei winery with a lovely view of Balaton Lake and then drove the 90 minutes to her home, where we will stay until Monday. I had a nice dark beer - the Black Horse, while Steve had their Illuzio wine. The duck was fantastic and Steve enjoyed his first venison burger.

The prognosis is that I was very lucky (clumsy, but lucky). No nerve, muscle, or bone damage, just stitches and drainage - the former will have to come out in 2-3 days and the latter after I get home. I have to take it a bit easy, but I can walk if I only put weight on the heel of my left leg. The 100 steps down to Eszter’s flat were challenging (not for me, since I didn’t have to carry any suitcases, but not so much fun for Steve with both of them.

The bottom line on the train is that we paid for two train tickets and barely used either one!

So we are now having our first night in Budapest at Eszter’s lovely home; so nice to see my friend again. To see more about Eszter, go back to the early Camino blog.

Posted by Deb Godley 14:32 Archived in Hungary

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So glad it turned out okay!!

by Kim T Hill

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