Friday, August 18, 2017
Nighttime in Budapest and Embarkation Day
Then the waitress brought over some snacks and I sat there for awhile, resting and munching and playing on my phone. All of a sudden I noticed it had gotten very dark outside. Too early for night time, I looked up and saw a flash of light and then heard that unmistakable sound of thunder. Oh crap. I don't like thunder and lightning. It scared the bejeezus out of me.
I made a beeline for my room, flew into the bed, grabbed Snort from my backpack and curled up and whimpered. Yep. Bad ass, super confident, nothing worries me Sherita, curled up in bed with her stuffed piggy crying like a baby. Sheesh. And here's the thing, this bloody storm went on for HOURS!!! It was not a passing thing. It moved in over the city and stayed there. And I was on the top floor of my hotel building with a big balcony. It was pouring down rain. At one point, a flash of lightning so bright hit very close and the thunder cracked at the same time and the walls shook, I swear. And car alarms started going off in the street below. I was sure I was a goner.
But I survived. I wanted to take a shower to wash the day's dirt and sweat off me but they say you shouldn't do that during one of these storms. I was texting with Jimmy in between my sobbing bouts and he told me. Of course, I didn't completely believe him so I googled it and sure enough - not recommended. A few hours later when the storm was a bit quieter I took a chance and opted for a quick hot shower. Clearly I survived. Ha!
Needless to say I stayed in that night. In fact, I never even had dinner - the two Cokes and snacks and storm-induced primal fear were more than enough to tide me over until the morning buffet.
Next morning was checkout time and transfer to the riverboat. The Tauck hotel was a few blocks away from mine so after checking out I walked to the other hotel, checked in with the Tauck rep and left my bags with them to be loaded onto the bus later.
I had until 2:30 to amuse myself. It was still sprinkling a bit outside but not enough to be a bother and the temperature was blissfully cool today so I went off to do some more touring. It was on that walk that I came across the statue of a man and his dog. I included that picture in my last post. It was a statue of Peter Falk, in his famous TV role as the rumpled detective Columbo, along with his trusted Bassett Hound.
It just seemed so random to come across a statue of an American television character just positioned on a quiet street corner. The street's name is Falk Miksa so there is some speculation that perhaps there is a family link but no one knows for sure and since Peter Falk has passed away we will never really know. Coming across this bronze statue made me so happy though. Peter Falk was probably my favorite actor and I even got to meet him briefly about 25 years ago, at a mall in Santa Monica, California. And we shared the same birth day and month. So there.
After my walk I returned to the hotel and soon enough we were boarding the coach and being whisked away to the river's edge and embarking on the Esprit.
With only ocean cruises and bigger ships as my frame of reference, I was a bit surprised at how small the ocean boat is on the inside even though it looked really big from the outside. Kind of weird, I know. Small but efficient. Everything is very pretty with a beautiful marble tiled entry floor (and dangerously slippery when your shoes are the slightest bit damp on the bottom), the main lounge where the bar, piano player and daily briefings are located is pretty and bright with lots of seating and small tables.
There are less than 100 passengers on board - the ship capacity is only 112. There are 3 passenger cabin decks. Mine was on deck 1 which is the lowest deck. No floor to ceiling windows or Juliet balconies down here partially below water level, but two nice windows for my viewing pleasure as long as I was standing up. The room was actually bigger than I expected but it's still quite small compared to an ocean ship's cabin. Small, but very well laid out and comfortable. Plenty of closet space, and the cabin also has a small fridge and a safe. A nice size flat screen TV is on the wall directly across from the bed. There's a Bow camera channel which I kept on a lot - it made me feel like I had a better overall view from my cabin.
My luggage was on the bed waiting for me to unpack, and after settling in we all gathered upstairs in the lounge for a get acquainted cocktail reception and our first daily briefing. After that, some exploring of the ship, a little rest, getting to know some passengers and then it was dinner time. We were overnighting here in Budapest so after dinner, when it was dark, I went out for a long walk along the river side. I wanted to see if I could get some decent shots of this pretty city at night. And a bonus was that it was a full moon!! With a better camera I probably could have taken some great photos but my trusty iPhone does an okay job for now.
My Fitbit told me I had walked 9.2 miles today. I slept well......