One thing I always try to remember when I travel is how much I have been touched by the kindness of strangers. All over the globe I have been kept out of rather icky predicaments because someone I didn’t know in the slightest helped me out of the goodness of their heart. For the most part, as I often was a gal traveling alone, it was a woman who helped me. The most memorable of times being in Hungary.
I had managed to get myself lost in the middle of rural Romania. I was trying to get from Budapest to a tiny, tiny town in Romania right on the Ukrainian border but was failing miserably. I had found a train that crossed from Hungary into Romania but then it seemed to be doing some strange loop. It turned out that it wasn’t looping but splitting and the part of the train that I was on was heading back into Hungary. It was nighttime, I have no idea how to say one thing in Hungarain or Romanian and I was about to lose my mind. So instead of sitting on the floor and crying I walked up and down the train and asked every single person on it if they spoke English or French. “Do you speak English/Parlez-vous français?” I bellowed to every last passenger. Finally, when I was in the last train car and asked the last woman on the train, her answer was, “yes, I am a French teacher.” I nearly kissed her.
When I told her my predicament, she helped me get into town, took a taxi with me, and offered me her apartment to sleep in. When I assured her I could pay for a hotel, she took me to one, made the manager to promise to take care of me and see me to the station tomorrow morning and then refused all the money I tried to throw at her. Basically, she saved my stupid hide and I hope one day I can repay the favor to any wanderer with no common sense, French-speaking, English-speaking or otherwise.