TRAVEL THERE: OUT OF THE AIR AND INTO THE WATER
There wasn’t a jetway from the terminal to the plane in Frankfurt. We boarded a bus. While waiting for the bus to board I dug into my snack stash. There was supposed to be a snack on the plane, but who knew what that would be or when we’d get it. A few minutes later as I settled my belongings onto the plane, a lady asked me if we were on Viking’s Danube Waltz Cruise. It was a little unnerving, but I acknowledged we were, in fact, Viking passengers en route.
Arriving in Budapest
I’ll admit I have arrival anxiety. Perhaps if you’d traveled in Egypt for 19 days without your luggage you’d feel the same way. We nervously watched the luggage carousels go around and around, hoping our luggage would eventually show up. It did and we breezed through customs.
My next worry? Would the Viking people find us? I had followed their instructions, putting Viking luggage tags on my bags and adhering the big Viking sticker to my jacket. Nothing like donning a few tourist alerts for any pickpockets or con men hanging about the airport.
It would have been impossible for me to miss the Viking staff. As we escaped the secure section of the terminal everyone I saw had on a bright red t-shirt with the Viking logo and each one had a clipboard. I found one who had our name on their clipboard and they corralled us into a corner.
From there, they loaded us and our luggage on a bus. As the bus departed the airport we got our first real look at Budapest. Except for an alphabet which looked more Russian than American (imagine that) the city seemed not so different from any other city with an international airport.
As we entered the older parts of the city I was so excited I could barely breathe. Suddenly, I recognized everything around me – the Parliament building , the bridges, the Danube and the Viking Tor. What’s more, the bus pulled into a parking lot right next to the famous Chain Bridge. My dreams were coming true! The scenes around me fleshed out all the research I had been doing in the months before the cruise.
As we made our way through the logistical hoops, we had a few snippets of conversation with the lady who had asked me if we were Viking passengers back in Frankfurt. Come to find out they were from one of my favorite places on earth, Oregon and they were traveling with another couple from that great state.
As we got to know them over the next eight days I discovered that it had been my snack stash which had ratted me out as a Viking passenger. I’d tucked my snacks into the complimentary zippered bag Viking sent me with my tickets. I loved everything about the cruise, but I confess, getting to know the Radcliffes and the Penkerts made the whole thing a lot more fun.
Come back next week! We’ll take a romantic evening stroll along the Danube.