Set against the backdrop of the grave political and economic crisis in Poland in December 1981, Budapest Diaries is a touching tragicomedy about the relationship between mother (Hanna) and her eleven-year old son (Irek). A group of Poles travel by bus to Budapest. The trip is to introduce Irek to the better, Western world, as Budapest in those days was a surrogate for the West in the Communist Eastern Europe. Instead, however, with each day the trip becomes more of an endurance test rather than a pleasure. Hanna and Irek are daily subjected to such indignities as a incompetent guide, an unheated bus, dirty linen in hotel beds, freezing temperatures, lack of any foreign languages as well as of any hard currency. Then the true purpose of the trip turns out to be to introduce Irek to his mother's well-off French friend, who has mysteriously arrived in Budapest with a declaration of mad love for her and a promise to take her and her son to the West. Torn between her desire to return home ...