Budapest, Hungary 2007


4/24/07

Our train chugs along through the Czech Republic and Slovakian countrysides.  Occasionally we hit a small town and stop to pick up some passengers heading to the big city.  Otherwise uneventful.  I am able to catch up on a little sleep and wake to eat my packed lunch.  The sandwich is decent.  Tastes like any vending machine sandwich that has been soaking up its mayonnaise for too long.  The lettuce is a little wilted and the tomato makes the bread even soggier.  It hits the spot for sure.  The apple juice, it tastes weak.  Like someone was supposed to mix one can of concentrate with three cans cold water, but used five cans of water instead.  It think the manufacturing plant was looking to cut corners and this is what they came up with.  The poppy seed cake has a pasty consistency with some crumbles on top.  A little lemon flavor might make this great.  It too hits the spot and thank the hotel in absentia for their preparation.  I gave my tangerine to El.  The train speeds along and we start pulling out our maps and books to try to get a plan for when we arrive for getting to the hotel from the train station.  An announcement on the PA that we are stopped due to breakdown.  Sadly, we have been stopped here for about an hour.  We hope to move shortly.  Our train is delayed a total of three hours.  At some point between our last two stops we meet Anita.  She is an employee of a tourism agency that rides the train between the last two stops looking for travelers with no hotel reservations that want one or that have questions about Budapest touring before they get there.  She says she does this job to stay in practice with her English.  She gets to our car and says that she can answer questions, so we inquire about walking tours that are offered, about the metro passes, and ask how to say “thank you” (kurssurnurm).  After a few minutes of showing us options, she offers us the opportunity to use her as a guide if we would like.  She will meet us in front of our hotel at our given time and take us on a 4 hour walking tour to show us the sites of Budapest.  We agree to meet at 9:30 for a walking tour.  She further directs us to our hotel from the train station and tells us how to purchase tram tickets.  We part ways until tomorrow morning.  We are both starving having eaten only our boxed lunch on the train.  We decide to try to get a bite in the hotel neighborhood.  We see a beer medallion and find ourselves at Champions Sports Bar and Pizzeria.  If we weren’t so hungry and the offerings in the area of the hotel not so slim we would probably move along.  But we stay.  We learn that “ferfi” is men and “noi” is women.  The menu has English so we order a bowl of Hungarian goulash soup to share.  We each order our own pork medallians in Hungarian gravy.  We try for the noodles as a side dish, but are told to order the french fries.  I guess fries sound good.  We also order a .5 litre of Gosser beer and I almost commit my first faux pas.  Out of habit with El, I raise my glass to feign a toast with the beer mug.  She quickly stops me as she read in the tour book and I didn’t get that far, that at some point in history the Austrians used to toast the beheadings of Hungarians by clinking their glasses and today it is considered socially unacceptable here.  The soup comes out next.  It is already split between the two of us, so I don’t know how it will appear on the bill.  He brings a condiment in a sauce server.  It is a thick red paste and he points to it and says, "hot".  Curious, we try a little on the bread.  It is salty and oh boy was he right, very hot.  The kind of hot I have come to expect from Indian or Ethiopian food, but not being that familiar with Hungarian cuisine, I’m a little surprised.  Luckily I don’t take much- but it's now 10 minutes later and my lips are still burning! (After 20 minutes the heat has subsided).  The next lesson I learn is in speaking.  As I might have mentioned, butter is not customarily served with bread here.  You have to ask for it and you have to pay for it, just as you have to pay for bread.  We have a quick reference Hungarian guidebook and look up "butter".  The word is "vaj".  El and I snicker a little and ask our waiter for some "vadge".  He has no idea what we are asking for.  I try again and fail.  Now we have to pull out the phrase book and show him "vaj" to which he reads "voyah", and returns with the butter.  I feel that my three days here will do little to help me with any good pronunciations.  I look forward to more mistakes (I am just thankful that "vadge" isn’t Hungarian for "I’ll have the boiled pig's testicles" or "please make mine extra spicy hot".  I got off easy.  Entree arrives.  It is pork medallians sautéed dry with a side of potatoes and peppers braised in fat with tomatoes and onions.  I confirm this is the "french fries" I was told to order...waiter affirms.  The meal is really quite good.  The potatoes and pork went very well together.  In retrospect, I think that the noodles I was going to order would not have gone well with the dry pork.  I am happy for the choice that was made for me.  (5100 forints) we will pay now and explore our neighborhood a little more before calling it a night.  We go to find the closest metro stops to the hotel and El reads of a dessert place she wants to try.  There are a lot of homeless beggers with children and without.  In the subway station there appear to be almost groups of homeless people congregating but not necessarily engaging anyone.  We ask the information booth for a metro map, but they don’t have any.  We head to the dessert place.  It is in a fancy Ritz type of hotel, and I decide I haven’t been in town long enough to get refused service based on my attire.  El goes in to admire the design and I tell her that I will change and come back for a dessert another night.  We move on to a bar called the Colorado Sorbar (beer bar).  We each get a Skol beer and discuss our plans.  The beer is not very good at all.  (620 forints about $3.25) We pay and move on looking for a coffee/dessert place.  We see a sign that reads "probably the best bar and restaurant in the neighborhood", naturally we have to try it.  It is called Ba Bar lounge cafe.  (www.babar.hu).  I order a latte and El gets a cappuccino.  We both order white chocolate pistachio soufflé with raspberry sauce and chocolate ice cream.  We are told it will take 15-20 minutes.  We are OK with this.  The soufflé arrives with a nice presentation.  It looks busy.  You have the white chocolate soufflé with a scoop of milk chocolate ice cream on top.  Then a drizzle, actually more of a downpour, of raspberry sauce.  The whole thing sprinkled with crushed pistachios and garnished with a frizzled orange slice.  We agree that it is just too complicated of a dessert.  The pairs of flavors work well, but all together they overstep each other.  The white chocolate and raspberry flavors are good.  The milk chocolate and raspberry is good.  Even the white and milk chocolates go well.  But when all mixed together you get flavor reminiscent of the last bit of an ice cream sundae-the part that turns to a chocolate soup.  We head back to the hotel and call it a night.
4/25/07
We breakfast at the hotel.  Better than Prague, not as good as Warsaw.  I get some scrambled eggs, sausages, spaghetti, and potatoes.  They also offer peach juice.  El says she knows it, but I think I can’t remember ever having peach juice before.  I get some and it is OK.  Tastes like concentrate with too much water again.  The grapefruit juice is better.  We hit the ATM.  After asking the desk if there is an HSBC nearby, it is determined that Hungary does not have HSBC (for the record, neither do Poland or Czech Republic) we hit the local bank ATM.  Thankfully, when I insert my card it asks if I want the instructions in English.  Good, because if it’s possible, I think Hungarian seems more foreign than Czech- and THAT's saying something.  We return to the lobby to wait for our tour guide.  We agreed on 9:30 so we wait outside.  She arrives on time and we get started.  We take the bus to a local neighborhood
and start to walk up a street modeled after the Champs- Elysee, called Andrássy Street, up to the Heroes Square, which is a memorial to the creation of the country and a tribute to the leaders and politicians from the beginning. 
Anita gives us a brief history of Hungary and points out some of the historical figures in the square.  We move on to Vajdahunyad castle.  The castle is OK and I find the range of architecture styles interesting.  A portion built in the Romanesque style, another in Baroque, Gothic, and Renaissance.  This photo is the entrance to the church that is part of the castle compound. 
  I find the amount of graffiti on the castle and its attached museums to be disappointing and detracts from beauty that it should be showcasing.  I don’t know why the groundskeepers wouldn’t focus on that part of the scenery.  Now that I think about it, there is a lot of graffiti throughout the city.  Not as bad as say, the Bronx, but Jersey City comes to mind.  As we walk with Anita, it is a little unclear what her credentials are although she does give names and key dates when she can (I suspect that she is working towards her guide license, but hasn’t finished the schooling).  Next is an interesting monument.  It’s actually a piece of art. 
It starts on the left as some randomly placed wooden pillars with ample space between them, but as the eye draws to the right the pillars get placed closer and closer together until there is no space between them and they start to morph into a solid wooden block which in turn morphs right before your eyes into a solid metal block and keeps streamlining into a solid polished steel point.  The monument stands as a tribute to the Hungarians' strength in numbers.  We take the subway to the St. Stevens basilica of the hand. 
There is a showcase inside with the actual lopped off hand of St. Steven.  El tells me that the case is dark and you can’t see anything inside it, but for the mere price of 100 Ft you can pay to light the display case up.  As with many churches, flash photos are prohibited inside.  Hungary has the second oldest subway system in Europe (after London), but unlike London has not been updated in any recent time.  The cars are old and beat and some of the stations are antiques.  Some of the stations have been renovated, but the cars have not.  Next we walk to parliament, 
and then hop back on the blue line metro whose train cars are leftover from the soviet occupation here and are as beat as the yellow line we had just taken.  We cross under the Danube for the first time and go to the royal palace in Buda.  It is explained to us that when you are not in Budapest, it is described as one city.  However, when you are here, the city is made up of 3 different cities: Buda, Obuda, and Pest.  You are expected to be specific with addresses as there exist identical street addresses in more than 1 of the cities.  We don’t go into the palace, just past it.  This is fine with us.  Fisherman's Bastian is next which is basically a scenic overlook of the Danube and the chain bridge.  We pass the Magyar church which is under reconstruction and Anita takes us to a little known museum called old dominion church/Hilton Hotel. 
She tells us that a few years ago Hilton Hotels wanted to build a hotel here and were told that they would have to have a design befitting the historical area they were in.  We agreed that they did a pretty good job. The hotel doesn’t look like the eyesore you would imagine.  One of the features is the Old Dominion church that you actually have to walk through the Hilton to get to.  Anita says this part is not on most groups tour routing.  We go and it is basically a visual exhibition of the excavation of a church from long ago.  Complete with photos and exhibits, it’s a small but lesser seen museum.  We walk down the hill from the castle and take a tram to church in the rock.  Our tour concludes after 4 hours.  El and I concur that our private tour with Anita, although not as good, and by that I mean historically thorough as Inka's, was worth the money and we are glad we took it.
El and I tram back to Batthyany Ter for lunch at cafe Angelika Cukraszda for lunch.  Start with a very good latte.  Order cream of onion soup in a bread bowl made french style (the bread not the soup) with crunchy crust.  Top is removed for toasting and replaced.  Soup is very good.  Unfortunately, very filling and I don’t know how I will fare with the rest of the meal.  Next up is a Hungarian beef stew with gnocchi which arrives and the gnocchi look and tastes more like spaetzel.  The stew is very good, but could use some vegetables.  El and I discuss the sheer lack of vegetables everywhere here.  We have eaten so much meat in the past week that we need to go vegetarian for the next few just to recover.  The stew sauce is the consistency of goulash, but not spicy hot.  A good pick recommended by someone on the internet.  We discuss plans for later in the day.  We leave to visit St. Anne's church and then on to the Calvinist church.  The ceramic tile roofs are an interesting building feature.
We walk back to the Batthyany Ter metro and head back to Pest.  We take the metro back to our hotel area and walk in a different direction from last night.  We find a cd store called Musicland that has a poor selection, but a great collection of ticket stubs and laminates and other memorabilia on the wall.  The cashier gives us some suggestions of pubs and clubs to check out.  We move along down a side street where we go into Cafe Csiga.  They serve coffee and desserts.  We head in for a couple of lattes and a slice of orange cake.  The orange cake is a little dry and we comment that many of the desserts on this trip are not made with as much sugar as we are used to.  Neither characteristic make the cake bad.  It is certainly fine.  We head back to the hotel to rest for a while until we go out for the night.  On the recommendation of the clerk at Musicland, we decide to try to check out a Deep Purple cover band at a club downtown.  We find the street but after walking the entire length of the street twice and not being able to find the club we decide to scrap the band idea and just head for some food and drink.  We end up at the Red Club.  They serve no draft Hungarian beer.  I get a Heineken draft and some goulash soup.  The soup is simply potatoes and beef chunks in a tomato based broth.  There is an unidentified spice in the broth, but it is not bad.  It’s good soup, but not as good as last nights.  We move on to another place called the Soul Cafe.  It’s a busy place that feels more upscale than the last place.  I order a glass of Nyakas Pinot Grigio '06 and a Caesar salad.  The wine arrives and is, as expected a dry white.  I like it.  The salad is soon to follow.  I tell El that the salad is good, but not as a Caesar salad.  There are no anchovies in the dressing and the lack of garlic (not to mention raw egg) defies the classic Caesar recipe.  However, that being said, the salad is quite enjoyable.  The grilled chicken is done well and the salad mixture and dressing work.  I spy a peppermill and the addition of fresh ground pepper makes it that much better.  This is a nice stop for us.   We prepare to press on maybe looking for a dessert place next.  We see that it’s getting on midnight and figure that we had better work on getting back to the hotel area before the buses that we were familiar with stopped running and then we would have to figure the night buses out.  As we get closer to the hotel at this hour it became clearer that our hotel is in a really seedy neighborhood.  We are not sure how safe this area actually is, but the amount of peep shows and all night strip clubs, and not the upscale gentleman’s club kind, more the downscale pervert kind; make the area seem a little scary.  Nothing has happened to make us need to taxi everywhere, but the hotel area and more specifically the area near the main train station is really questionable.  (Note to self: email travel agency to let them know the area of the hotel).  With this assessment of the neighborhood, it is not in our best judgment to explore the side streets at this late hour.  We walk on the main street and decide to try a place within a block of the hotel, but as they close within the hour and El is getting tired we decide to pass altogether and call it a night.
4/26/07
Before I forget the weather here, with the exception of a couple of very brief passing showers was beautiful.  In the high 60's through he 70's each day.  
Wake at our own pace and breakfast in the hotel again.  We are fee of commitment today, and El plans our route.  There is a church outside of the city that she wants to see called Kobanya parishj church in St. Laszlo square, so she plans the tram route and figures it should be about 20 minutes each way.  We get there without any problems.  The church has a ceramic tile roof which is laid in an interesting design.  The gold on the steeple is blindingly shiny.  We were on a bus last night and usually when we get on a bus we will ask someone if our stop is on this route.  A man sensing we were Americans started asking us questions about what we thought of the city of Budapest.  I told him that our hotel area reminded me of NYC to which he scrunched his face and said this was an ugly part of the city.  I then told him that we had gone to Buda and that that area was very beautiful, and that even Pest was beautiful from the Danube banks on the Buda side.  He suggested if we wanted beauty we should go to the outlying areas of the city and see the countryside.  Now, we did come in on a train that spent 6 hours riding through the countryside.  And I think this area with thaw church would qualify as outskirts of town.  I tell you the place reminds me of the travel from Manhattan to Queens.  Both have their good and bad, and maybe I’m not looking in the right place, but this place is certainly a lot closer to Warsaw than Prague.  I want more Prague and less Warsaw.
I update my writing and El is finished in short order.  Since she had an issue this morning where the gift shop in the hotel refused to sell El postcard stamps unless she bought the postcards there, I suggest we look in this town for a post office.  We go to the window equipped with the Hungarian words for postcard and stamp as well as the # we need for USA and # to Italy.  Well, what should have been a no brainer turned into a minor ordeal as the clerk can not understand that we just want the stamps and not prestamped postcards.  One issue being that it looks like people come to the post office for several different things.  Since there is only one window the line is getting longer by the minute, with people becoming more impatient to the point that other people understand what we need, and are telling the clerk for us.  Eventually all is figured out and we head back towards the center of town.  I head back to the hotel to secure a reservation for the airport shuttle.  From there we take a trolleybus back to Andrássy Utca to go to a museum called the House of Terror.  It opened in 2002, so that may explain why it’s not in our guidebooks.  I am sure it will be in books subsequent to 2003 editions.  Basically, it is a house located at 60 Andrássy Street
that at one time was the headquarters of the Arrowcross (Hungarian Nazi Party) and then the Communist party in Hungary.  The house has now been converted into a "tasteful" memorial to all of those who were oppressed in any way by these two regimes.  It is a recommended stop for any travelers to Budapest and costs 3500 Ft entrance fee.  No pictures allowed inside, although there were a few places that were powerful enough to warrant it.  The etched wall of victims for example.  We got the photo of the sun shining through the roof onto the side of the building. 
The main complaint we had was that there was too much reading.  There were about twenty rooms and each had a pamphlet dispenser with the literature for its room.  These pages were typed in standard type and sometimes double sided.  This added to all of the exhibit sounds, made for a slow move through the museum.  The audio tour may have helped this situation, but we don’t know, since we didn’t get one.
Back to Raday street for dinner.  We start at the place next to the Soul Cafe called the Voros Postakocsi.  I get wine (Villanyi Olaszrizling 2004) and goulash soup as a starter.  The soup is decent, but still not as flavorful as the first night at Champions.  The waiters are too pushy as we sit in an otherwise empty room, so we decide to not order entrees.  We plan to move on and get back to a wine bar near the hotel we found.  We have been on our feet so much of the day we really are spent.  When all is said and done we decide to go back to the Blaja station and walk the side streets by the hotel looking for a place to eat.  It is just too apparent that this is a business district like so much of downtown NYC that they are all open for lunch and none open for dinner.  It’s tough to continue walking at this point.  Every time we see a beer medallian we chase it to find it closed.  We eventually make it back to the hotel are and contemplate just going back to Champions.  We spot a beer bar next to Ba Bar and go to see if the serve food.  They don’t, but we need to rest our feet.  We order two beers, but are unclear about the brand.  The tap says one thing but the bartender is telling us if we want the brand on the tap pull we need to get a bottle.  We just ask for whatever is on tap.  (420 Ft (Forints) or about $2.50 for the 2 small beers) we will move along back to Ba Bar for our dinner next and then hopefully have enough money left to go to the wine bar on the way home.  We wind up at Ba Bar which reminds me of any Albany bar that is trying to be upscale by catering to the rich college kid crowd.  Not that that's the clientele here, but that's where I’ve seen this menu, these waiters, and this atmosphere before.  The goulash soup has held me over nicely.  I opt for just a club sandwich and a Coke.  The service here is a little slow considering the amount of people in here.  Oh well, we know what bad service looks like.  The club sandwich arrives complete with an over hard fried egg on top of the sandwich.  I push it aside and try to pick up the club, but it is too messy and awkward.  I pull it apart and enjoy the parts separately.  Tomato then a chicken breast with prosciutto on top.  Second level same as the first with a smear of Roquefort dressing in between.  All in all it’s a decent sandwich, but at this point our service is unbearably slow, so we decide to pass on dessert here for now.  I think we will head to the wine bar next door for a round of two.  We head down from street level to Obester Borterasz which is surprisingly the most bubbling pub we’ve seen in Budapest. 
It’s a real wine bar that reminds me of a place in Zurich years ago.  El orders 2 glasses of white.  It’s a little unclear which one we got.  It’s OK.  Not cold enough, but I love the vibe here.  Probably won’t be as good as the Hells Bells pub in Prague, but a nice ending to our time in Budapest.  We got the first round basically by pointing to someone’s glass of white wine and holding up two fingers.  For the second glass El gets me a glass of "house white".  One sip is all I can stomach.  This stuff makes Carlo Rossi seem like a fine vintage.  El goes back to the bar and gets another of the first glass.  I think we have determined that this is Zoldveltelini brand.  It is a dry white.  That’s all I know at this point.  After four glasses of wine we decide to try the Tolkai that this country is famous for.  El goes to the bar and returns, not with a wine glass, but two shot glasses.  Not knowing there is a wine and a spirit, El asks for "Tolkai", the bartender asks if she wants "this bottle or that bottle", unfortunately she picked the spirit.  Oh well, we give it a go.  El takes a sip and says that it’s a shot.  I take the shot.  It tastes bad.  Like the slivovic in Prague.  I need a glass of wine to get rid of this taste, so I go back to the original white I was drinking.  El comes back with my wine and a glass of the Tolkai wine.  I taste hers.  It is really sweet.  I prefer dry wine, so a lot of sweet wines taste too sweet for me.  This place turns out to be a really great place.  We wind up drinking several glasses of wine and playing a full game of scrabble.  El informs me she is done for the night so I proceed to wind down.  We have been here for upwards of 4 hours and the place is still going strong.  There are a feisty bunch of guys at our table, who so far seem harmless.  The act like they may have been hooligans in their youths, but have mellowed with age.  Now they just sing drinking songs as they get toasted on beer in a wine bar.  The owner or head bartender seems really nice and she has helped El with her purchases all night.  We will probably call it a night soon.  At the point where we each have a gulp or two left, a group of 6 arrives and knows the drinking singers at our table.  This appears to be out cue to exit.  With finish our glasses, return them to the bar, tip the bartender for the night, and give up our seats to the new arrivals.  Everyone is happy.  We leave content.  Buzzed, but not drunk although we will take our hangover prevention just to be safe.  As we exit the wine bar we take 5 steps toward the hotel and see a very small coffee shop with 2 bartenders and 2 patrons.  We decide to get a latte nightcap.  Nothing fancy, it hits the spot.  After the coffee, we call it a night and head back to the room to do preliminary packing.  El tries to do our pre-checkout routine, but unfortunately their nightly computer batch is running, so we have to wait for the morning.  We cross our fingers that no group will get to the counter one step in front of us.
4/27/07
Up early to finish packing and tie up loose ends.  We head down to breakfast stopping to checkout and mail postcards.  We take care of the bill and keep our keys.  The getting ready took longer than expected and we only have about 20 minutes to eat, get back to the room, get bags to the lobby, drop off keys and wait for the minibus.  We do all of this in 19 minutes and get to the lobby as the driver arrives to pick us up.  We take the shuttle to the airport (2300 Ft 1 way/3900 Ft round trip).  Some cities seem to have reasonable shuttle rates while others are outrageous.  Paris comes to mind.  Our plane from Budapest to Frankfurt goes without incident.  We get to Frankfurt Main and have a 3+ hour wit until our fight to "JFK.  We wait.  As it gets closer to boarding time, El tells me that she hears the flight is overbooked.  Being that it I Friday, we decide to offer our seats for a bump.  It works! We get a free hotel with shuttle both ways from the airport.  Complimentary dinner and breakfast and 600euros each in cash (or $775 in Lufthansa tickets) for a flight out Saturday morning.  We take it.  The only downside is that our baggage has been detained to be put on tomorrow’s flight, so neither of us has clean underwear.  For this price, we can buy new underwear.  We get to the hotel.  By the time I have finished registering, El has already found a street map of Frankfurt and a train map.  The station is within walking distance so we decide to forego the free dinner and head into town and get take our chances on getting some better food there than the hotel probably has.  We waste no time figuring out the S Bahn system from the hotel into the city.  El sees something that tells us that the area around Lokalbahnhof station called Sachsenhausen is teeming with pubs.  That’s where we head.  Teeming is an understatement.  Almost every other establishment out of the station is a pub, cafe, or restaurant.  The question is can we find underwear? Right out of the station we see an apotheke and go in to get new toothbrushes, toothpaste, comb, and deodorant.  El looks for underwear, but the manager is yelling last call to the store.  We fail and curse ourselves for breaking the primal rule of travel...always carry a change off clothes in case of emergency.  A lesson well learned.  We start our night off at a restaurant advertising that their summer garden is now open.  It’s actually called Lokalbahnhof.  We walk in and proceed through to the courtyard.  All picnic style tables.  We spot some empty space so we motion that we would like to sit and are affirmed.  I start with Binding Romer Pilsner Spezial.  For dinner I order a jager schnitzel which is a slice of pork tenderized, dredged in breadcrumbs and sautéed with mushroom sauce was perfectly cooked with excellent flavor, on the side were potato croquettes also well done, and salad which came predressed with no choice of dressing.  Tasted like 3 bean salad.  4 kinds of bread in the basket.  The walnut bread was fantastic.  We will continue to drink here until the mood hits us to leave- the garden is busy and comfortable.  After several beers we move to another watering hole.  This is called Textor.  It’s a cafe-bar-restaurant.  There are so many pubs within eyeshot you can throw a stone and hit at least four.  Due to the hour we gave up on the idea of finding a place open that sells underwear.
I order a Rapps Apfelwein.  It just tastes like weak, fizzy apple juice.  It is probably more potent than I realize.  I would not order it again.  We head back towards train station too a place that I did not write the name down we each get a small Binding.  When finished we head to one last place.  It’s on the corner and looks to be popular judging from the amount of people sitting on the street.  We leave after about 10 minutes because we feel like we are being neglected by our wait staff that pays us no mind.  We move next door to a place called Kaliko.  They’ve stopped serving food, but I get an Erbacher beer, which is every bit as good as the others I have had tonight.  Unfortunately we are in the mood for dessert, but the kitchens have closed in the places that we’ve tried.  We reflect on our good fortune of getting to spend a night in a city that we’ve never been to together.
4/28/07
We got in late last night.  Torn between the S Bahn or a taxi, we opt for a train back.  Unfortunately after midnight the run a lot less frequently.  So by the time we got back it was close to 1am.  We did our laundry in the bathroom sink and hung it up to dry.  Problem solved.  We discuss the possibility of seeking out a bump if the opportunity presented itself.  El tells me if we got bumped she would buy an entire new set of clothes.  I concur.  We had a wake up call for 7 to give us time to shower, eat the complimentary breakfast, and get to the shuttle that we had reserved.  We make the shuttle.  It’s a 20 minute ride to the airport and our flight leaves at 10:05 with boarding at 9:05.  We get to the terminal at 8:20, we head towards the departure hall and pass through security.  It is very busy, but the line moves fast.  We are through in about 25 minutes.  It is getting on 9:00 and we round the corner to see the gate security line.  This is a more thorough security check, therefore it takes longer.  The line snakes though the terminal and is egregiously long.  We hear the boarding call for our plane, but stand motionless in the security line.  It starts to move very slowly and we along with everyone else keep one eye on the line and one on our watch.  This process takes about 45 minutes and we realize that there are passengers with much earlier boarding time than us, so we feel a little better about the situation.  Eventually we board out plane without issue, but another lesson learned, allow yourself 2 hours to get through security instead of less than one.  We did witness several passengers panicking that their planes were leaving and the security workers just told them to step to the back of the line and they could not breach the line.  Tough, but necessary.  So far the plane ride is uneventful.  We arrive home as expected and are already hungry to go back…until next time.

sim
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