More than 7,000 exhausted refugees were welcomed into Austria and Germany on Saturday following long treks and arduous ordeals in Hungary.

Within hours, travellers predominantly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan who had been told for days they could not leave Hungary were scooped from roadsides and Budapest's central train station and placed on overnight buses, driven to the frontier with Austria and allowed to walk across as a new day dawned.

They were met with unexpected hospitality featuring free high-speed trains, seemingly bottomless boxes of supplies, and well-wishers offering candy for everyone and cuddly toys for the children in mothers' arms.

Even adults absorbed the sudden welcome with a look of wonderment as Germans and Austrians made clear that they had reached a land that just might become a home.

Additional reporting: AP

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