Thursday, May 15, 2014

The last bastion of homophobia

Lordy, our endless complaints are working and suddenly the net is working.

We had a great dinner in the dining room on our river cruise and then adjourned to the lounge room. Everything got into full swing quite early with dancing, think Johnny Be Good, Abba and endless great fun knees up music in between, and a slow number inserted too. We were all in the mood to bop on the dance floor, but male to male dancing would not be a good look. The old dykes could get away with it as many women were dancing together, but even they felt unable to participate in fun dancing.

While I don't experience much in the way of homophobia at home and keeping in mind our boat is nearly all Australian, when I and R can hit the dancefloor among straight people and feel comfortable doing so, then I will know homophobia is a funny old expression. I so much wanted to dance.

Euro Cruise Day 1 and 2, May 8/9

Timeline for travel to Budapest. All times will be local times, because I am too lazy to calculate the Australian time for your convenience.

Depart Melbourne on Singapore Airlines at 15.45, Thursday arrive Singapore around 22.00,  depart Singapore around 23.30, arrive Munich 05.00, depart Munich 11.10, arrive Budapest an hour and a bit later. I can't put it plainer than it was a effing awful experience, especially the seven hour wait at Munich. I don't know if I am right, but the Airbus 300-380 for our first leg seemed to have much more leg room than the 777 for our second leg.

While we waited for our taxi from home to the airport with our friends already within, others taxis kept stopping, in spite of me placing our luggage behind a tree. One was very convinced that our friends would not turn up in a taxi and hung around. At one point he tooted his horn at us, indicating that our taxi was not coming and we should use him. Then a bloke I used to work with sauntered along St Kilda Road, so we had a nice chat until our taxi arrived. It was nice to travel to the airport as a passenger and look around, me normally being the driver to and from the airport. Jumping ahead

Leaving Munich was an extreme security experience. Apparently exiting Germany, we pose somewhat of a threat. Ok, yes, airline security. Amazingly after three plane changes our luggage appeared on the carrousel and we were quickly out of Budapest Airport and met our minivan driver, prepaid AU$90, a single taxi would have been ok and there is a good system. His English was good enough to chat to and learn a bit about the city. Safe as houses you will be, he said. And we were. What about pickpockets? I asked. Just be careful on public transport and watch out for gypsies.  

We checked into the Mercure City Budapest Hotel and it was quite good and right in the heart of the tourist area, Vaci Ucta(street). While we were on a lower floor and D & R on an upper one but the rooms were the same and none of us had views. The free Wi Fi was fast and one problem fixed by management with a loan plug was that my Euro plug would not physically fit into the socket although the pins were correct.

We explored a bit outside and later had afternoon tea. At around that point, I realised what a beautiful place Budapest is with no highrise towers visible and very historic buildings, not dissimilar to Paris.

With trepidation, we managed to cross the tram tracks of the famous Danube river bank tram no. 2 to see where we needed to be two days later to join our cruise.

Our St Kilda Road trees were still in leaf. They won't be there when we return.

This would be our plane from Melbourne to Singapore. Airbus 380 is quite nice.

Lordy, we have gone past Budapest and have to go back on another flight from Munich.  I don't know if I am right, but the Airbus 300-380 for our first leg seemed to have much more leg room than the 777 for our second leg.

Where are we? Munich Airport as the dawn breaks.

Out onto Vaci Ucta among the other tourists. We did not know we would be in a prime tourist area. While this is not always preferable or cheap, it does usually make things easier.

We dined the first evening at this outdoor restaurant and it was rather good. I seem to recall it was called Casablanca. While goulash is not my favourite, goulash soup is delicious.

Dried chillis, a bit unexpected.

Very nice service covers everywhere in Budapest.

This passageway is a couple of minutes from our hotel and leads to the Danube River, a couple of minutes from the far side. We had a good afternoon tea there the day we arrived, about where the people are gathered.

We are in Vienna as this is posted, days after the post was begun. I am not very happy with it but I am sick of trying to fix it. As Cathy suggested, unreliable internet connections make it nearly impossible to blog while travelling, so I don't expect you will hear from me for a while here. I have posted a little on Face Book, so if you are a regular, email ripppon at and I'll see if I can add you to my FB.