Night Location: Budapest, Hungary
Song of the Day: I Hear the Bells - Mike Doughty
Mumisode of the Day: Mum, suitably alarmed by the prospect of flying with Wizz Air, decided that she would both weigh and measure her carry-on bag to check that it complied with the regulations. She returned triumphant at first saying that her bag only weighed 4.5 kg even though the scale was broken. Then she proceeded to unsuccessfully fit her bag into the measuring rack and broke the Wizz Air sign in the process. She returned less triumphant and a little sheepish.
Another transit day, and another early start. After descending the ladder-stairs,we headed to the train station where we bought tickets and boarded the train to Milan. From there we caught an airport shuttle to Bergamo Airport where we were met with the news that the Wizz Air flight was retardo (delayed).
After checking in our bags and the Mumisode, we headed through the gates for airport security. We were somewhat alarmed when we saw a lady weighing carry-on bags. We are fairly sure that both Mum and Dad had bags weighing more than 10 kg, however Amber smiled sweetly at the lady and she waved us through. The children chose the correct screening line and made it through unscathed. Dad had to completely undress, empty his computer bag of all its cords and he took forever to join the group at the other end.
We all sat for a long time in the McDonalds cafe and had various items of food. Dad, in hope of his 26 euro tax refund, set off for the Italian Customs desk with Mum's handbag that had been purchased in San Gimignano. It was quite an ordeal as he informed us on his return after a considerable amount of time. He had been at first directed outside of airport security to the closed customs desk we had seen upon our arrival. Discouraged, he enquired at the information desk and was told, "Oh no, it's on the inside." When asking further, it was just on the inside. This meant that he had to return through airport security, holding only a lady's handbag. Luckily he did not have to undress this time. Following this, he asked the local police what to do. It was here that he was told that he could only get the refund when he had a departing EU passport stamp. He was in no humour when he returned, and blamed the Italians for everything.
Finally the Wizz Air plane arrived. There were no set seats so we made a charge for the line, and caught the first shuttle bus to the tarmac. We had to force our way on to the bus as everyone gets on and stands by the door so that they can be the first off. Luckily all the passengers on the first bus were seated in the plane (complete with hand luggage stowed in the overhead compartments) before the second bus arrived.
Contrary to popular opinion, Wizz Air was spectacular. Take off and landing were effortless even though we were landing through cloud. Gemma who had a bit of a head cold since Bellagio's arctic conditions and Titanic sloping bed with no sleep, had significant problems with her ears.
Budapest airport was surprisingly clean. There were plenty of signs in English and all the backpacks had arrived! In spite of at least two warning signs directing tourists' attention to the fact that there were multiple illegal taxi rings working from the airport, when approached by a man with an 'official' taxi lanyard around his neck, Dad was keen to follow him to his 'maxi-taxi'. Amber was not keen and expressed her concern in front of the man, so much so that on our way to the carpark he told Dad that he was "not a pirate." Away from the airport with its official taxi stand we headed across a patch of mud to the public carpark and his 'maxi-taxi'. Fortunately we had agreed on a set price before entering the vehicle and therefore arrived unscathed.
The apartment is in a 19th century building that escaped damage during the Second World War. It is set around a Turkish courtyard complete with mosaic tiled floor. We were on the top floor, and the apartment itself is just massive. Everyone had their own bedroom with ensuite bathroom.
While Gemma thought that she might be going 'hungry in Hungary' given the guide book saying if you're vegetarian "don't bother", we discovered a 'Hommus Point, Fresh, Healthy, Vegetarian' restaurant on our street. David made the 'Dad' joke "I'm quite hungry in Hungary", and found himself very funny! Gemma found this very funny as she had been thinking the 'Dad' joke in her head herself.
We had arrived in Hungary on the 23rd of October, Revolution Day, marking the revolution against Communism back in 1956. As such, there were a lot of roads closed and pretty much everything else was closed as well so we were happy with our falafel kebabs for dinner.