Budapest Garage Quest
I'm writing from Budapest, Hungary. I suspected there would be good garages in this city, places where the wealthy stashed collections of Trabants and Mercedes-Benz limos. I also felt exploring the mysterious city in pursuit of interesting garages would be an adventure rife with drama. I imagined wandering down dank alleys in search of the car afficionados in their haunts. Jag dealerships, repair shops, and museums would be my source. This would probably be the best piece of my lifetime, I told myself.
On the plane ride to Budapest, the romance of the idea wore thin. During roughly eight hours of airline travel, I was plagued with doubt about my idea. What if I found nothing? What if this trip turned into a big waste of my time and money? Why didn't I do some research? Due to work on my laptop, Stieg Larrson's second novel, and Season Four of The Wire, I managed to make it to Budapest with my sanity mainly intact (and a new repertoire of computer underground lingo and Baltimore street slang).
As it turns out, no worries. I'm headed out to an incredible garage today thanks to Szilágyi Mihály, a Budapest-based journalist who puts together a great car blog, Stipistop. I found him after about two hours of searches and a few key contacts from friends of car friends. Good connections (and a little good luck) prevailed.
In about an hour, Mish is taking me to see a huge collection of cars spread out on several acres of buildings. The owner of the collection rents out his cars for use in movies, and they have appeared in Munich and Spy Game.
We have three garages lined up already, and we expect to find more! So much for finding garages being an adventure. The garages and their owners will be the adventure, not the hunt.