Friday, August 18, 2006

I've arrived in Budapest!

View from my hotel room taken at 10pm in the evening

I'm in Budapest for 3 days, a trip made primarily as a holiday break birthday present for my mother, and also to see the Red Bull Air Race on Sunday that is supposed to be pretty spectacular.

The Heathrow situation turned out to be much better than indicated on the British Airwarys site or by the British press - no hovering outside on the pavements and we rushed through security and passport control with less queues than I recall in a long time. The small plane was full before the scheduled take off time and it seemed too good to be true when the captain announced that we would be departing in "three to four minutes", almost exactly on time. It was aof course, and an hour later we were still waiting for the plane to move! The only explanation given once we started to move was 'administrative problems' with the baggage.

The Hilton is wonderful and it was worth paying a bit extra for the river views, which are stunning. The photo at the top of this entry is taken from last night when we arrived, the one below at 7am this morning. It's going to be a hot day and the humidity hit us as soon as we arrived, after 8pm in the evening. We got to the hotel using the airport minibus service - very cheap at about £6 each but a long trip - the "40 minutes" the hotel had advised us of turned out to be more like 2 hours once airport wait time and stops at the other hotels, with people taking the wrong luggage, were included.

The area we are in is quiet and very quaint - 'more Disney than Disneyworld itself' as our guide book puts it. We arrived at the hotel after 10pm and spotted several restaurants closing down en route, but room service prices are outrageous and we resigned ourselves to eating nothing as it was so late. Luckily a charming little restaurant directly opposite the hotel was still serving food - and very reasonably priced it was too (compared with London) so we had a bite to eat and felt refreshed.

P.S. Hotel has wireless internet access (which refuses to work with Internet Explorer on my laptop - thank God I've also got Firefox preloaded) but I don't have email access (long story!) so don't email me until I'm back in London on Sunday evening!

View from my hotel room taken at 7am in the morning

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