Uh For months it felt like our European river cruise was too far in the future to imagine. Friends had given us lots of useful tips. I had watched innumerable You Tubes. We had planned. And there were many items on my todo list that needed to be checked off. Finally, we had made it through check-in, security and were sitting in the boarding lounge at Kelowna International airport. It all was done. We were on our way.
Our flights on WestJet and KLM were uneventful. The good service, food and of course the wine didn’t diminish the fact that the flight from Kelowna to Budapest via Calgary and Amsterdam was long and for me it would be somewhat uncomfortable. But a good movie, a bit of writing and some fleeting moments of sleep did help my mind concentrate on something more positive.
Our driver was waiting for us at the Budapest airport. He navigated the traffic easily and dropped us at our hotel (or so we thought) with smooth efficiency. We dragged our bags the last few meters down the street to the hotel entrance. Except, there was no hotel entrance.
Address checks, questions to a few locals and attempts to call the hotel did not resolve our dilemma. Until, from over our shoulders came the words, “Can I help you?” We turned and looked up into the smiling face of a very tall young man who had emerged from the small bistro we were standing in front of.
We gave him the hotel phone number. He had what we didn’t, complete Hungarian fluency. In seconds he had resolved the problem. We had been dropped off on the opposite side of the block from the hotel. After guiding us to our hotel’s entrance. We thanked him and he was off with a smile and a wave.
The Hotel Victoria Budapest, was excellent. A boutique hotel, it was located on the banks of the Danube river. With only a roadway and transit line between we could see the beautiful Hungarian Parliament building from the hotel’s entrance. It was an easy walk to the ‘Hop on Hop off’ bus stop. The dock where the Scenic Opal would meet us was a just two blocks away.
As I complete this article I’m sitting in the main lounge of the Scenic Opal. It’s beautiful and busy. Guests who have just completed their cruise are finishing lunch and savoring a parting drink. Their busses wait to take them to the next leg of wherever they might be going. Others are boarding to spend the next 14 days with us enjoying the cruise to Amsterdam.