From November 9th thru November 16th we enjoyed our second Viking River Cruise in Europe. This year we spent time in Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, and Germany. Our Hartman Family adventure started on Saturday the 8th when we flew out of Chico to San Francisco. In true Chico fashion, the flight was late leaving and therefore when we arrived in San Fran we literally had to run to our gate to catch the plane to Amsterdam with our names being called over the PA system as a final boarding call. I was pushing people out of my way all while cursing like a sailor. When we arrived at the ticket gate, the workers started clapping for us and then got us on the plane so the plane could taxi off. Flying to Amsterdam was 11 hours of awesomeness tucked in the last row of the plane in the middle of the middle section of seats. Our original plane reservations were with Delta with whom we made seat reservations for 2 seats on the side, but 24 hours before the flight left we found out we were really flying out on KLM and none of previous seat reservations were honored so we basically ended up with the crappiest seats on the plane. 17 hours later we arrived in Budapest, Hungary to the news that our luggage had not made the trip. I had my coat in my carry-on, but Chris was just in shorts and a short sleeve shirt. We filed a claim with KLM customer service and exchanged info as to where our ship would be, but odds were not good that our luggage would meet up with us in the next day. With all the times changes, after leaving Chico at 12:00 pm Saturday, we didn't arrive to our ship until about 5:00pm Sunday evening. Our first order of business was to file our luggage info with the ship's concierge desk so they could keep in touch with the airline. In the meantime they loaned Chris a staff jacket and offered to do our laundry each evening free of charge until our luggage arrived. After our welcome talk on the ship, we hit the shore and did a little evening exploring of Budapest which is one of the most beautiful cities at night.
The next day we had a walking tour of the city which included entrance to a large cathedral, a visit to both sides of the shore (Buda & Pest), and an impressive memorial in the city center.
When our luggage hadn't arrived by lunchtime on day 2 we found an H&M store in Budapest and stocked up on clothing essentials like underwear and skinny jeans for the boy (so tight he couldn't even bend over to put his shoes on!). Once properly attired, we stopped by one of our favorite European stops, McDonalds. In Europe, McDonalds have "McCafe's" which are in the same business as a regular McDonalds, but it's a whole separate counter with a menu of fancy coffees and cakes. And thankfully Cappuccino is the same in English as it is in Austrian.
By the time our boat sailed off at the end of the second day for Slovakia we still didn't have our luggage and knew that the soonest we could reunite with it would be on day 4 in Vienna, but at least we weren't in as dire straights as when we arrived. And despite our rocky start, Budapest was a wonderful surprise.