So the Friday of the long weekend comes around and we pile into the local S-Bahn to head off to the airport. A quick train change in Frankfurt later and we have arrived a Frankfurt Airport and go to the First Class Counter to check in (perks of being Gold Card holders).
Now, ordinarily the check-in process doesn't take too long, so I knew that something was up as this time it was taking a while. After a minute or so the check-in chick said "this doesn't usually happen to frequent fliers, but you are on the wait-list - the flight is overbooked." Ok, and now what? The check-in chick then told us that there is the chance to take a later flight (around 21:00 instead of 16:30) and take either a 350€ travel voucher or 250€ in cash per person as compensation. As we weren't in a hurry, we decided to take the 250€ cash each and wait...but apparently you can't just secure the vouchers at the check-in counter. We were told that we would have to go through security to the gate and ask there about the later flight. So off we go, hoping that nobody else takes them up on this offer before us, thereby bumping us onto the flight.
View from the Castle
About 4 hours later it's back through security again and off to board the flight to Budapest. After an uneventful flight and a crazy taxi ride we arrived at the hotel. Now, we didn't know exactly what to expect, as lastminute.de didn't give us the name of the hotel (special offers sometimes don't have a name associated with them), but the room that we got (with breakfast included) for 40€ per night was pretty bloody good.
Bel on a bridge
After the Opera House we headed off to St Stephen's Basilika for the second cache for the day. Just in case you are interested, St Stephen's Basilika is where you can see the mummified "incorruptable" right hand of Saint Stephen I, the first king of Hungary. Afterwards you most definitely won't be...hungry that is. :) We located the cache hidden away in the base of a lamp outside the basilika, being careful not to make it too obvious due to the couple not standing all that far away, and then headed off in the direction of the City Park and the Castle in the middle of the Park.
St Stephen's Basilika
Spooky looking statue
Due to the rain, Bel and I decided to head underground to the "Labyrinth" - a series of underground tunnels and caves with old cave paintings and some newer art. While it was entertaining and interesting, it wasn't exactly what Bel had thought the "Labyrinth" would be, and was still wanting to head off to the hedge maze at the castle after we had left. Unfortunately there is no hedge maze at the castle...poor Bindy.
Parliment viewed from the Castle
Pest viewed from the Castle
The first room that we entered had at least 5 different baths (pools) with different temperatures ranging from 28-38C. Initially...well the whole time I guess...it smelled kinda like eggs. Luckily you get used to it after a few minutes, but there was still the one pool that REALLY smelled like eggs, even after you got used to it. I guess the smell is due to the water composition, which contains "a significant amount of fluoride and metabolic acid, along with calcium, magnesium, hydro-carbonate, sodium and sulphate", and it was hillarious to watch the looks on the faces when new people came into the room - you know, that "GOD! Who farted?!?!?!?" kind of look. :)
In the next couple of hours we worked our way slowly through the 15 or so pools in the baths. There is even a pool there that is a permanent whirlpool where you swim around and around in circles in a pool that would be about 20m long and maybe 5m wide.
As it was still fairly cold, Bel and I decided not to use the outdoor pools, though heaps of locals and tourists had chosen to brave the cold and were rewarded with bathing fun in a really nice looking roman inspired bathing complex. I can imagine that it would be really nice out there in summer, though probably a little crowded too.
Castle in the park
A monument in the park to something
So thanks Budapest for showing us a good time, and thanks to Lufthansa for letting us make a profit on our holiday. If only you could bank on this and collect the cash every time... :)
PS: More pics here
PPS: This pic reminds me of me, for some reason...