Sunday, 26 March 2017

In one

So far it's all been smooth sailing: a cab to Gatwick Airport, tea and a ginger nut in Starbucks in the North Terminal and then a pleasant flight with easyJet to Budapest, which took around two hours and twenty five minutes. The weather is roughly the same as it was in the UK this morning, that is blue skies and sunshine, albeit a mildly cold breeze, but nothing to grumble about, that's for sure.

Waiting to board at Gatwick...
Once I cleared passport control in Budapest, which was fast and efficient, I jumped into my free transfer Mercedes, which took me from the airport to the hotel, the Bohem Art Hotel which, as I suspected, was a typical 'boutique' hotel, meaning slightly contrived and quirky, but in a good way. The front desk was dark and cosy, there were big lamp shades and works of art on the walls and it all appealed to me so again, nothing to moan about. What's more, check-in was simple and soon I found myself in the lift heading for my room on the sixth floor.

The room is a little basic, but again in a contrived, ironic sort of way, but it's not in any way uncomfortable and while I initially thought there were no wardrobes, I eventually found them – and the minibar – simply by pressing the walls and hoping that doors would open for me; they did.

As I've come to expect, the view from the hotel window is nothing spectacular – it never is – just roof tops, the odd satellite dish and, of course, chimney pots.

View from my hotel room...around 6pm.
There is a free bottle of mineral water on the bedside table, with the Bohem name on the label, and while I enjoyed a croque monsieur on the plane, along with two of those small bottles of red wine (Malbec) I'm still a little hungry and might delve into the minibar and see what snacks are available. That mineral water might not be free, but I won't find out until Thursday when I check out of here.

Just to let you know that I've now delved into the minibar and found a small tin of wasabi peanuts, which are green, moreish and hot; and I'm now punctuating virtually every word I write with eating a wasabi peanut. They're hot but strangely pleasant. It's going to be difficult to ignore them until they've all gone. Ever since I typed the last word of the previous sentence ('gone') I've...hold on while I eat three more... had a good handful and probably won't stop until I've finished the lot. A walk clearly beckons, but so does work and I need to find out where I need to be and how far away I am from my planned meeting. I've finished the wasabi peanuts.

Blue skies and sunshine are deceptive and if, like me, you head out in such weather with an open neck shirt and no coat then you're in for a shock, like I was as I made my way back to the hotel after the meeting and dinner, keeping the Danube on my right. It was cold and despite being inadequately dressed, I still took a minor detour, having eaten pasta and a glass of wine in a place called I Quattro Artisti (an Italian and Hungarian restaurant). It was pleasant enough with it's red gingham tablecloths and jazz singer, but it was far from top end and the service was slow, although the glass of Merlot I ordered was fairly large considering I simply asked for a glass of red wine. I had opted to sit downstairs, rather than upstairs where I wouldn't have enjoyed the live entertainment, but in all honesty, I didn't want to be there; sometimes dining alone is disheartening and this was one of those lonely occasions.

Budapest at night...
Yards from my hotel I turned left on a whim and found there were perfectly decent restaurants within a stone's throw of my room, but how was I to know? I must, of course, try some Hungarian food before I fly back and there appears to be many options, although tomorrow there's an official dinner that I must attend so it will have to wait until Tuesday evening.

I'm back in the room now and while I considered using my complimentary drink voucher in the bar downstairs, it wasn't that appealing so I've saved it for another occasion. There's no restaurant in the hotel, but there is a breakfast room and as far as I'm concerned, breakfast is the best meal of the day, so I hope they deliver.

There's another bottle of mineral water on the other bedside table and I'm debating whether to drink it or not, but somehow I think it would be overkill so I'll await breakfast in the morning and a decent cup of tea (I hope!)

Postscript – there's a bike share scheme!!!
Expect a report from the road as I've found some bright orange bikes along the route between here and my meeting venue. When I get some spare time, I'll be taking one out.

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