On Wednesday, August 16, Ted and I left our house at 10 a.m. to begin our Hungarian Adventure! Sarah took us to the airport, where we breezed through check-in and security, despite the uproar in London from the previous week. We had been thrilled to learn that we would be allowed one carry-on bag, a restriction that had been lifted just the day before we were to travel. After all, 22 hours is an incredibly long time to be traveling without any good books!
We had plenty of time before boarding, so we enjoyed a leisurely lunch together at Chile's. We traveled first to Los Angeles, where we, our bags, and our fellow travelers were thoroughly searched by members of the U.S. Army. It did give us a measure of comfort and security to see the military presence.
Finally it was time to board the plane to London. The flight was approximately 10 hours long. Our activities on board included reading, watching a movie, and trying to sleep, though a determined toddler who tested his lungs in a piercing wail THE ENTIRE TRIP made the latter nearly impossible.
We arrived in London safe but extremely tired and more than a bit cranky. Still, one can't help but be excited to step off a plane onto a foreign country, and we soon forgot about the Screaming Child as we made our way through yet another security check, then wandered about the airport waiting for our gate number to be posted. We ended up taking a seat, and Ted read more of his book while I napped in his lap for about 30 minutes. Then it was time to get on the plane for Budapest.
Before we could board, however, we were told to go to a different desk, as there was an issue with our bags. I guess they needed to validate that we were present and that our bags indeed needed to be put on the aircraft? Odd. No one had told us that we would need to check in. But we were grateful to learn that our bags were at least in London and, from the sounds of things, would be on the same airplane as we.
So, with that taken care of, we took our seats...and waited. And waited. And waited. Finally the captain announced that we were delayed a bit because of the question of a couple of bags, but they were being put on the plane as he spoke and we would soon get a line number for takeoff. Ted and I glanced at each other, partly amused and partly horrified that WE seemed to be responsible for the delay! But, as it turned out, our part in the delay was minor compared with waiting to take off, as we waited at least 30 more minutes before it was our turn. Heathrow is obviously not the airport to fly through if you don't enjoy waiting in line for takeoff.
We made it to Budapest without any further complications and were delighted to find that our bags were intact as well. We had no problems getting through customs. We changed some money, then headed out to look for Jozsef. I noticed that the airport looked so much newer and brighter than it had when I flew in 10 years ago.
After a bit of consternation when we couldn't find Jozsef, we attempted to make a call to his cell phone, using the calling card we had gotten from Sam's Clubs. I used an extraordinary amount of minutes trying to track him down (and figure out how to dial while in a different country) only to find that Jozsef was about 10 feet away from Ted, having just come in from a different terminal. Ah, well.
It was great to see him again, and we had a long opportunity to chat as he drove us from the airport to the F family's house in Kecskemet. By the time we arrived it was after 9 p.m. on Thursday, August 17--or, back in Vegas, noon. Wow. Twenty-six hours since we had left our house!
Mama Magdi had a wonderful meal of goulash and potatoes waiting for us, followed by palecsintas (oops, I'm not sure I spelled that right), which are basically like pancakes rolled up with different kinds of filling. Yum! Ted's first meal in Hungary was fabulous! We visited just a short while before going up to our room and tumbling into bed. Thank goodness we had no plans until lunch time the next day...