What a start to the week! Had to catch a flight from Heathrow at 9:45 so I left home at 5:45o. Thiis left me 2 hours to get petrol and drive the 75 miles, mostly round the M25. That of course was where the problem lay….it started at junction 4 where there had been an accident and the traffic ground to a halt while the cars involved were pushed onto the hard shoulder. Then from there to two junctions before the airport turn off it was stop/start all the way.
Time ticked on and although I knew I still had two hours before take off the passing of the 7:45 barrier started to cause me concern. Then suddenly about 10 miles from the airport the road widens to 5 lanes and it finally started to move. I eventually got to the car park at about 8:20 and tried to tell myself not to panic and leave something behind.
I got on the shuttle bus and as I bent down to put my suitcase in the storage area I banged my head which didn’t help my mood at all. The bus from the carpark seemed to take forever! It’s of course typical that it would most likely be flinging itself round corners but because I was late it drove sedately towards the terminals. Annoyingly it went to T1 first where even more annoyingly only 1 person got off. Finally it arrived at T3.
Luckily there wasn’t a queue at the check in and after an urgent visit to the loo I was on my way to security. Again there wasn’t a queue and I volunteered the information that I was wearing steel toecapped boots so I had to take them off. (I’d made sure the socks I put on this morning were free of holes for this very reason! I’d also forgone a belt as well!). By the time I’d put my boots back on the signs were saying boarding so I headed to the gate. Typically I then had to wait for about 30 minutes before we were herded onto a bus and driven out to the plane where we sat for another 40 minutes or so before finally setting off for Budapest.
By the time we were air bourne I was starting to feel hungry so was glad when the stewards came round with the trolley. They seemed to be handing out sandwiches which would be ok I thought but when I was handed mine I discovered that the packet also contained a orange juice and as such the sandwich was a fraction of the size I’d assumed. In fact it could only really be described as “fun size”. It really wasn’t worth handing them out – at least easyjet are honest and don’t try and pretend you get food included. The service on BA has really slipped as the prices have gone up – definitely no longer my favourite airline!
On arrival at Budapest we had to wait ages for our bags – considering it had only been a short walk from the plane to baggage hall we couldn’t imagine why it took them so long to get the bags out. Then we had to find our lift into town which turned out to be in a reasonable minibus which dropped us at the hotel. We went to check in to our 5 Star accommodation only to be met with some quite nasty resistance. They would not let us into our rooms unless we let them have a swipe of a credit card. Well I don’t have a credit card so that was tricky, I wasn’t about to hand over my debit card as they would take a swipe which would mean that the direct debit that is due on Thursday (the day before payday) would bounce and it would cost me £25. So they demanded cash – at first they asked for 60,000 forint which is just short of £200. It was also all the money I had on me. They eventually settled for 20,000 which is still almost £60 – which I won’t spend in their poxy hotel on principle!!
After we checked in we had to walk down to the venue in the pouring rain – luckily we managed to get some umbrellas from the hotel which mostly kept us dry. We set about doing what we needed to do and eventually had something to eat – it was wiener schnitzel and it was very nice but to be honest not what you’d expect from a 5 star hotel. We eventually finished about 9pm and I walked back to the hotel with one of the other crew guys. About half way there we passed a bar and as we did we heard someone shouting our names….
It was a beautiful evening by now and we sat outside a bar with the rest of the crew. The beer was cheap – about 390 forint a pint (£1.20) and they did a dark beer too. It was nice to relax and watch the world go by over a beer or three!