Coming from: Vienna, Austria
Going to: Hegyeshalom, Hungary
Documents needed: none (Schengen)
Waiting time: 0 min (Austria), 10 min (Hungary)
Distance from Bern: 1050 km
Crossed on 02/06/2017, 8:30 p.m.
Your average intra-Schengen railway border crossing with no more signs of the new country than the different train station signs and – more importantly – the appearance of the signature MÁV jingle.
Gets 1 extra point for making me what I am: In autumn 1988, as a five year old, I was standing very close to this border crossing on an Austrian forest road. In front of me was a barrier, sealing the way across the Iron Curtain into Hungary. Watchtowers rose threateningly (at least for a five year old) a few meters behind the barrier. It was a border I could not cross – which made me wish to cross it even more. The then unreachable lands behind the Iron Curtain caught my attention – and never lost it since then.
I pushed my right leg behind the barrier for a second and lived on with the probably untrue illusion that I had at least partially been to Hungary. Even though the Iron Curtain fell shortly afterwards, I had to wait for 14 years after my first visit to fully cross into Hungary.
Crossing by train into Hungary
Hegyeshalom railway border station
Late evening stop at Budapest Keleti station – my only view of Hungary this time