An eventful start
30.06.2012 - 01.07.2012 39 °C
It may have been an omen at the very start of our trip when we found that our airline, KLM, had had its world wide passenger system go down. As time passed the airline started to manually create boarding passes and luggage tags. The end result was that we were an hour and a half late departing for Amsterdam. Then as our big 747 was being pushed back from the gate and towed out to the runway the tow bar broke which further contributed to our delayed departure.
We made it to Amsterdam in good time, making up nearly an hour of our delayed departure. We made our connecting flight to Budapest with not much time to spare. Unfortunately our luggage did not. After that unpleasant discovery we filled out all the lost luggage forms and joined the Viking Representative to travel to our ship. We were assured that the luggage should arrive in the evening with the next flight from Amsterdam.
We have a lovely cabin which you can see in our photo gallery. The very slow internet connection on the ship has been making it very cumbersome to write this blog particularly related to downloading and inserting pictures. I have managed to upload some pictures but have been unable to insert them in this blog.
Our ship, the Prestige, was built last year and is a long, lovely and low ship so it will fit under the low bridges over the rivers here. Interestingly the wheel house and other high structures on the top deck have to be lowered in order for us to pass under some of the bridges. The atmosphere on board is relaxed and friendly. We are full with 180 passengers so you get to know people quite quickly.
Dinner aboard was lovely. They have one seating with everyone choosing their own tables. The same goes for lunch and breakfast.
The Prestige is docked right in the center of Budapest very close to the lovely Chain Bridge. We look across the Danube at the Castle on the hill. The beautiful Parliament Buildings are just up river. Again, you can see photos of these in the photo gallery
The luggage didn't arrive so we had a shower and went to bed after a very tiring and stressful day.
The next morning brought a tour of Budapest after breakfast. Again we were told that our luggage should arrive while we were away. The tour was a guided one both on a lovely new bus and a walking tour with headsets which received the comments our our guide. They are neat rigs and work quite well.
Budapest is a beautiful city with the Danube running through the middle. The old or "Buda" side has the Buda hills and many gorgeous old buildings including the Buda Castle and the centuries-old Matthias Church which was the site of the marriage and corronations of some of the Habsburgs. The "Pest" side is more modern with Heroes' Square and many more lovely churches and buildings.
When we returned from the tour - again no luggage but they had been calling the airport and had determined that it had indeed arrived and would be on the ship by 1 pm. We had lunch and checked back periodically over the afternoon. It finally arrived at 6 pm just 2 hours before the ship was due to depart for Bratislava in Slovakia.
We showered again and jumped into the first change of clothing we had since Saturday evening (it was now Monday evening). There was a Captain's welcome reception and another wonderful meal. We relaxed for the first time and started to enjoy this great adventure. The only real challenge is the heat. It hit 40C today with high humidity. Even the folks from southern US are complaining about the heat.