Sunday, 30 March 2008

Budapest - Prologue

Last December, when I choose the weekend for our trip to Budapest, I thought I was being really clever. I picked a weekend at the end of March, when Spring should be starting to take hold, and with one of the days being the 23rd, which was relevant to Linda's Birthday (for which this was a present). Also it was about as far ahead as was possible to book a flight via Easyjet.

It wasn't until I went to book my holidays in our vacation system at work, when I requested Friday and Monday off and it showed zero days of leave consumed, that I realised I had booked the trip on Easter weekend. This discovery resulted in some panic, as I had no idea what Easter in Budapest would be like; and whether I should have possibly have chosen somewhere more ostentatiously religious such as, I don't know, Italy?

Anyway I did a bit of quick research and determined that not everything would be shut, and indeed Budapest would have at least some Easter-oriented traditions, so decided I did not need to cancel all my flight and hotel bookings and start again from scratch. Then it was then just a matter of 3 months anxious waiting for the actual trip to see if it would be a disaster or not.

Finally it was the end of March and we were due to head off. I had heard there was some cold weather heading for Switzerland, and when we got on the train to Geneva there was snow all over the ground and it had obviously been snowing heavily during the day. Easyjet is not the most reliable of airlines at the best of times and the snow storms inevitably delayed our departure; went spent our time shuffling from seat to seat and eating dodgy airport food.

We'd read all sorts of advisories about Budapest - that we were sure to get ripped off as soon as we arrived - but actually we got ourselves some local currency and a cheap taxi to the hotel with very little fuss. In any case by the time we got to the hotel I was a little fazed by the whole travel process and I think I upset the check-in guy when I absent-mindedly failed to acknowledge that our room had been upgraded. Anyway I guess it's important to set low expectations with the staff from the very beginning.

After the requisite time exploring the hotel room, peering out our window at the view (Linda reminds me it was even snowing when we arrived!) and checking the prices for the bar fridge, we took to bed in preparation for an early start our first day in Budapest!

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