We left from Peoria on June 18, 2015 and arrived in Chicago with what we thought was ample time to catch our Delta flight to Helsinki. Of course O Hare was running no more smoothly last June then than today and our international flight was out of Terminal 5, which meant going out of the secure area, taking a trip on the train, and then standing in another security line again. We stood for over an hour with the line barely creeping forward. Luckily we had a fairly wide window and finally made it through to our gate. As you may know the situation is worse today with many folks missing critical connecting flights because of the long security the lines.
Our flight left on time and had a brief layover in Helsinki before going on to Budapest where we were met by gracious Viking personnel, who took us straight to our hotel, The Budapest Marriott is right on the Danube and the view from our 4th floor window was magnificent.
|The view from our room looked right over the Danube Embankment and across the river toward Buda. |
It was still daylight on the 19th when we arrived--13 hours in the air had passed us through a night and most of the rest of the way into the next day. By the time we got to the hotel it was late afternoon. We took a bit of a walk down the river embankment and found ourselves in a little square in front of a 19th century hall. The building was shuttered for renovation, but the square in front was full of music and dancers.
It was a lovely welcome to town and it was too bad we were pretty pooped. By the time we got back to our room a sunset treat awaited us and we were able to enjoy that as well before tumbling into bed.
The following morning a pull back of the curtains revealed that last night hadn't been a dream. The lively river flowing right below us was the romantic Danube and our cruise was about to begin.
Fortified by a huge breakfast in the hotel dining room, we hit the Viking counter and booked a nice walking exploration of the city for later in the morning and then set out to explore the area around the hotel more thoroughly.
|The street painters are a bit more alive in Paris, but this guy has a very special subject.|
|Jan snapped and all I could do was bow to my theatrical God.|