We arrived in Budapest at 11 am on Tuesday. The first class sleeping car (paid for with the wheelchair card) was a bumpy ride and we had very little sleep. Roxy had the bottom bunk, and Madeline took the top. We were thinking of reversing that for the blog’s sake, but the journey to the train had been too long and tiresome.
The beds were extremely narrow and Madeline’s did not have a bumper keeping her from rolling off during the night. If she were to have rolled off, she would have dropped 6 feet right onto Roxy’s chair. No matter how good she is at falling, there was no way that fall would have gone well. There was a cabinet on the wall side of Madeline’s bed, with just enough space to squeeze her head under while she slept. Yes, it was uncomfortable. But there was a method behind her madness. See if she were to move during the night (which she does, aggressively), her face would bump against the bottom of the cabinet and she would be woken up before falling off the bed. Madeline woke up with bruises all over her face.
Budapest is a beautiful city and happens to be where Madeline’s father’s side of the family is from. We took a free walking (rolling) tour of both the Buda and the Pest side of the city. On the Buda side, we had to take several detours from the group in order to climb up the castle mountain. The tour guide pointed us to a never-ending ramp and told us to meet him and the rest of the group at the top of the stairs. He said he would wait there for us. We ended up waiting for him. Funny how some people think that walking is faster than rolling. Funny, the tricks we play on ourselves…
We stopped at a water fountain and filled an empty bottle which Madeline immediately chugged. Roxy opted out for a fresh bottle of cold seltzer bought from a stingy Hungarian woman. Then we headed toward the market place to try some infamous langos. This is a traditional Hungarian food that is sort of like a large, fried pancake with sour cream, cheese, and any other toppings you’d like. Roxy got pepperoni and Madeline went with a classy vegetarian option. One hour later, and Madeline was SUFFERING.
The cramps came on hard and fast. Madeline went back to the hostel to sleep it off while Roxy enjoyed sipping a beer on a terrace and then venturing out to explore the city some more. Later in the day, these two rollers regrouped and found a cozy spot to have dinner. Madeline was feeling a bit better after a nap and a walk so she ate her fill.
The next morning, we were meant to go to Slovakia. Madeline hit the snooze button over and over again; she was feeling woozy and extremely hot. Was it the langos? Or the tap water? We’ll never know. She finally got to the bathroom and tried (but failed) to pull herself together. Then she remembered the thermometer her smother forced her to pack. Everything Madeline’s mother forced her to pack has saved the day at some point during our journey so far. So shout out to our NYC smother.
Madeline’s fever was 100. It later climbed up to nearly 103. There was no way we were going anywhere today. Madeline slept and slept as Roxy rolled in and out of the room bringing fluids and crackers for her sweaty friend. A few days before, Roxy had thanked Madeline for carrying her bag from country to country. Madeline replied saying, “one day, you’re gonna save my ass and we’ll be even”. That day had come. Roxy brought Madeline soup and Gatorade. At one point, Madeline woke up from a nap to find that Roxy had done all of Madeline’s dirty laundry. She really came through.
The next morning, Madeline woke up with explosive energy. She had sweated off her fever and was ready to make up for lost time! We pulled into Bratislava, Slovakia, around 2:30 and had a walking (rolling) tour to catch at 4. We dropped our things off at our new (and less wheels friendly) hostel and rolled out for the tour.
Bratislava is rightfully resentful of hollywood’s representation of their city. The only two movies that are about their city are Eurotrip and Hostel. In Eurotrip, the city is depicted as cheap and grimy. In Hostel, the story is about two backpackers who visit Bratislava and end up being chopped up into little bits. Madeline asked our tour guide if she wanted to chop the director of Hostel up into little bits. She was not amused.
That night we had a delicious meal at a local Slovakian restaurant. We ordered one dish and our waitress nodded and prematurely walked away. We called her back and said we weren’t finished ordering, then proceeded to order two more. She claimed, “it’s too much!” But we assured her that all three dishes were of equal importance. Because of our feverish setback, we only had one night in this country so we had to pack all the tastes into one epic meal. Our feast was incredible.
That night, Madeline buckled over in pain once again. She may have been lying to herself about feeling better, attempting the “fake it till you make it” approach to traveling on a bad stomach. Meanwhile, Roxy was petrified of the bugs flying around in our hostel room. She swatted and begged for Madeline to be willing to move somewhere else, but it was midnight and Madeline was in no condition to go anywhere. That’s when Madeline remembered another trusty item her smother had forced her to pack. Bug spray! We drenched our bodies in it and hit the hay.
The next morning Roxy found out that Madeline had been up almost every hour of the night due to issues we won’t talk about. Check out time was in half an hour. How is a 10am check out time even legal? Roxy chugged coffee in the hostel kitchen with a beautiful man from Urugauy while Madeline tried to pull herself together enough to be able to leave the room. We checked out just in time and stored our luggage.
Roxy grew more and more concerned as Madeline sat on the lobby couch, sweating, while saying she was fine. Roxy took the wheel and went out to search for a pharmacy. Our train left in 3 hours so we had time for Roxy to play doctor. She came back with medicine and when she saw Madeline, she decided it was time to go to the hospital. Three days of gradual illness were enough to make Roxy seriously worried. She dragged Madeline out onto the street in search for an emergency room.
Madeline roll-limped behind her friend as Roxy desperately asked passer-Byers “emergency? Hospital?” They shook their heads and kept walking. Ten minutes into the walk, Madeline had to roll back to the hostel to take care of some…business. Roxy agreed to let Madeline postpone her Slovakian hospital visit for now, but only if Madeline calls her smother and gets her medical opinion on the matter.
Madeline did as she was told and Roxy FaceTimed her smother as well. Madeline had whispered her symptoms to her smother and asked her if she was going to die. Madeline’s mom reassured her that she would live to see another day, but suggested that she go to a hospital and get hooked up to an IV to treat the dehydration. Madeline decided that if she wasn’t going to die, she was going to skip the Slovakian hospital adventure.
Roxy’s smother gave Madeline tips on what to eat and what not to eat. She was very discrete, but still very much a smother. She insisted that Madeline stay away from chocolate, even though this is a staple in Madeline’s diet. Then when Madeline’s mom chimed in, she said “drink lots of water! Diarrhea is very dehydrating” MOM! DON’T SAY THE “D” WORD! But it was too late…beautiful fellow hostel guests were sitting all around us in the lobby and they heard every word. They snickered at our exchange and scooted as far away from dreadfully ashamed Madeline as possible.
Roxy rolled out one final time to get all of the items our two smothers suggested. This bag of goodies was essential for Madeline on their 8 hour train ride to Poland. Roxy is such a good smother.
Accessible My Ass:
Door frames that are 20 inches wide are not accessible. Therefore, a hostel with these door frames that is listed as accessible, is lying. Unless of course, this is a nudist hostel and everyone else has to also pee with the door wide open…
We booked a hostel in the city center that claimed their facilities were wheelchair accessible. And guess what…they were! We were completely shocked. We had booked a 14 bed mixed dorm room for $8 a night each. When we arrived, they asked us if it was ok for them to bump us up to a private room with our own bathroom, because they weren’t sure if there would be enough room in the dorm for our wheels. We played it cool and said, “yea, that’s alright” but when we entered the room, Madeline rolled laps around Roxy as they both giggled with excitement. Budapest, we have arrived.
The same thing happened at our hostel in Slovakia, but with less grace. We showed up and they gave us a key to the mixed dorm room. When Roxy asked if it was accessible, the woman at the counter said, “I don’t know.” You don’t know? “I don’t think there are any bottom bunks left. Do you want a bottom bunk?” Is that a question? She recommended that Roxy ask one of the bottom bunkers to move up to a top bunk so that she would have an actual place to sleep. Roxy suggested that she, herself, ask someone to move, rejecting the receptionist’s request to have Roxy do her dirty work. The receptionist thought hard about it, then gave us a private room to stay in for the price of dorm beds. Winning!
The Wheels Deal:
Smothers, if your child FaceTimes you from far away lands complaining about digestive problems, don’t say the D word. Talk in code and be mindful of the fact that beautiful people could be listening in.
Wheelers, if you are experiencing symptoms of bacteria in your gut, take some time away from your wheels and let your fellow roller run the errands. There’s always time to roll tomorrow.
We got on our train and Madeline is finally making her recovery. Next stop, Warsaw, Poland! Keep on rollin.