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Your plane has landed and you are ready to retire in Hungary. Here are some things to consider when you first arrive.
“Oh My Gosh, what have I done?” That’s the first thought almost everyone has when arriving in a new country to start a new life. It’s scary and confusing and even though you prepared for everything you could think of, there’s still that culture shock when you actually step off the plane. So, what to do first? Here are a few easy-to-follow tips to lessen that arrival culture shock.
Retire in Hungary #1:
Unbuckle your seat belt and get off plane. Clear Passport Control and wait hopefully in the Baggage Claim area for your suitcases; they almost always arrive when you do. Exit to the Arrival Area, change some money into forints and try not to look like a stunned newly-arrived expat, or the taxi drivers will descend upon you like a herd of yellow locusts; really!
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Retire in Hungary #2:
If there are two or more people in your group, take one of the yellow taxis to your Budapest accommodation. Fares are (generally) fixed from the airport into town, but watch that meter so it doesn’t spin too quickly.
Retire in Hungary #3:
Upon arrival at your new flat (or hotel, if you are staying in a temporary room until your flat is ready), thank the taxi driver with your newly-learned Hungarian (“Köszönöm!”) and wish him a nice day (“Szép napot!”). Gather up your bags and enter your new life.
Retire in Hungary #4:
Unpack your toothbrush and jump into bed for at least 10 hours of good, healthy sleep. You’ll need it after the stress of leaving your home country, a (probably) long flight with at least one plane change and gawking at all the buildings on your ride in from the airport.
Retire in Hungary #5:
OK, get out of bed, brush your teeth (toothbrush already unpacked!), dress appropriately and walk outside. Breathe in that fresh, clean Hungarian air; take a stroll along the Danube and admire the amazing views. Smile at other passers-by (carefully, as some older people aren’t used to smiling strangers). Enjoy the moment.
Retire in Hungary #6:
Alright, the moment has been enjoyed and it’s time to try some of that great Hungarian beer. Stop in first place with the word “bar” in its signage and have a korsó (pint) of fantastic Hungarian beer; you’ll never drink another American Budweiser or Coors again. You may venture another smile at the bartender.
Retire in Hungary #7:
Walk back outside and stroll down any of Budapest’s wonderful old-world streets. Since you learned the word “Étterem,” (restaurant), stop in one and try your new language skills on a menu. Laugh with the waiters as you try to pronounce Gulyás leves, csirkemell csíkok and somlói galuska. Just keep in mind, the waiters’ smirks will be worth it when you dig into the wonderful, tasty, hearty Hungarian food.
Retire in Hungary #8:
When you’re tired of walking and eating, check your Public Transport Guide and hop on a tram to explore more of Budapest. Remember to buy and validate your ticket, as the Controllers may not be very understanding if you don’t have a proper ticket. Trams are a great way to see and explore Budapest, so consider buying a weekly or monthly pass for the future.
Retire in Hungary #9:
Stop by the Hungarian Parliament building on the banks of the Danube and pop in to the Prime Minister’s office and thank him for allowing you to retire in Hungary. He is always happy to welcome new arrivals and may even treat you to a shot of his own private pálinka (a potent Hungarian brandy).
Retire in Hungary #10:
You are now an official member of Budapest’s expat community and will be welcome anywhere and everywhere in the city. Check out the ruin pubs, public baths, St. Stephen’s Basilica, the several Irish pubs, the music venues, the world-class museums, the city’s Michelin-star restaurants and the wonderful nightlife. Hook up with the expat groups that gather in town, easily found on the internet. Relax and let the joyous ambiance of Hungary seep into your newly-retired veins. You’ve left behind another life and found a new one. You’re home.