Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Hotel By Any Other Name Isn't Your Hotel: Budapest Museum Central Hotel

June the 5th, Tuesday, yes the same day I ended with last blog, but now we have really arrived and I would like to finish telling about the adventures of this day, because believe me there were some!

When we arrived at the airport we were expecting someone to be standing there with our names on a sign. (We were so excited about that because every time we get off a plane we see people standing there with names on signs waiting for very important people.  We always wanted to be very important people and now was our chance!) We had paid (yes, we paid to be important) for an airport transfer from Airport Transfer Budapest and they were so easy to work with.  Their website has an online chat with customer service option and their prices were very reasonable with a discount for booking the return trip.

We had called in Munich to tell them we would be late because of delays in Chicago. Luckily, Frankie’s phone was able to find a signal in Munich. (Mine didn't.)

I wanted to get a picture of the person standing there with our name on a sign. I just thought I was prepared. When we got off the plane, we went through customs (which only involved walking past a very bored looking customs officer, no lines, no stamp in our passport, nothing) and walked out to the main lobby. It was very overwhelming.  There were so many people and a ton of signs with names. But sadly, no one was there for us.

Frankie called Airport Transfer Budapest again (the calls were made while roaming in a foreign city and they totaled around $8, but for peace of mind I think it was worth it) and they said he was on his way but there was a traffic jam. We waited about 30 minutes and I had to go to the restroom (not that you need to know that but it plays into the story) and don't you know,  he arrived  while I was in there, thus missing out on my picture! I did ask him if he would let me take one with the name placard.

taxi driver Budapest Airport

Thank you, Mr. Driver! To the hotel we then went! The driver was very nice and answered all our questions as best as he could with his English skills.

We knew our hotel was across the street from the Hungarian National Museum and we saw it (pictured below) so we knew we were close.

National Hungarian Museum Budapest

The driver kept going so we figured he was having to go past it in order to turn around. He pulled up at the hotel and Frankie kept saying to me that this wasn't the right hotel. We stupidly got out still not really thinking we were at the right place. Below is where we were dropped off.

Mecure Hotel Budapest

We go ahead and go into the hotel because at this point the driver is gone. Guess what, we were indeed at the wrong place, but they gave us walking directions to where we needed to go and it was only about a 5 minute walk.

We were dropped off at Mercure Budapest Museum Hotel and the hotel we needed was called Budapest Museum Central Hotel. Yeah, still not sure how he could have EVER mixed those up! Later,  I emailed the company and they apologized several times. I knew it was an honest mistake and no harm was done. But they definitely were going to make sure we were picked up from the right place to get back to the airport!
We found our hotel and it is a very interesting hotel!  It is mostly apartments but part of the second floor was converted into seven hotel rooms. Since this was the case, it was a slight production to get in.  Here are the steps:

One: Find the front door.  If you have no key push the button to buzz the hotel.  If you have a key, use it (duh).

Outer door to Budapest Museum Central Hotel

Two: Walk down the corridor to the gate. When you get to the gate, again, if no key buzz the hotel, otherwise use the key.

Hallway to second door Budapest Museum Central Hotel

Three: Oh and ah over the courtyard and wish you had one at home, so private, so secure!

Courtyard of Budapest Museum Central Hotel

Four: Go to the right after walking through the gate to the small elevator.

Elevator to Budapest Museum Central Hotel

Five A: Try to figure out the elevator, which isn't as easy as it seems.  There was an outer door, seen from the outside in the picture above and seen from inside the elevator in the one below.

Outer door of elevator to Budapest Museum Central Hotel

Five B: (Prepare yourself, this is a long step!) Push the button for the second floor.  Wait.  Wonder why nothing is happening.  Actually read sign that says you must close the sliding door before the elevator will work.  Realize what that means and slide the SECOND elevator door closed.

Sliding second door of elevator Budapest Museum Central Hotel

Six: Now the elevator is finally moving and will stop on the 2nd floor. (If that is what you pushed in step 5b as described above.)  Once it stops move the sliding door and push the outer door open.  You will then go to the left.  There are signs in case you get confused.

Turn left once on second floor to Budapest Museum Central Hotel

Seven:  Hang in there, we are almost to the lobby.  After passing through the doors in the picture above you will look to your right and go through those doors to get to the small lobby area of Budapest Museum Central Hotel!

Small lobby of Budapest Museum Central Hotel

So, now you made it!  I am so proud of you!  Welcome to your lovely room.

Budapest Museum Central Hotel Room #7

This was the room we slept in the first night.  Before we we left for our trip Frankie had emailed the hotel and asked for a room facing the Hungarian National Museum, this one did not and we were put in it because they were full that night.  They switched us in the morning.  I never did take a picture of that room.

One of the nice things that the hotel offers the occupants of the room is a complimentary bottle of Hungarian wine.  I don't drink, but I did try it.  I haven't found a wine yet that I would drink.  I did take a picture of it and the multiply keys needed to get into the room.

Hungarian wine from Budapest Museum Central Hotel

Now at the right hotel and in a room, we realized it was later than we originally thought we were going to get in so we decided to find supper and call it a very long day. We didn’t want to wander too far from the hotel seeing how we hadn’t had much sleep and we were hungry. That was a recipe for disaster! Wandering around lost, hungry and tired then tie into all of this the fact that we probably would have been fighting with each other, since we both get gripey when we are lost, hungry and tired!

We found something and how exciting, our first meal in a new country! What did we choose? A place called Thai Wok, yep, none of that traditional Hungarian stuff for us! A side note: Every place we ate at brought us silverware on a plate before the food was brought out like shown.  It must be a Hungarian thing.

chopsticks and forks Budapest

Us choosing non-Hungarian food wasn't really done on purpose, we found this place and the prices look good so we went for it. Luckily, the waiter spoke English, but the menu was in Thai and English. I don’t know if they had a menu in Hungarian or if what we got is what everyone gets, but I have to say, there was a lot of English in Budapest! A LOT! I couldn’t tell you the name of the dishes we got but they were good. I did remember to take pictures!

thai food green curry Budapest

thai food Budapest

After eating we went across the street to a place that served mainly drinks called Nana Eszpressz√≥. Here is a look at the menu so you can get an idea of what they looked like. Note the lack of English but we understood enough to order two latte macchiato. (See! Our trip to Rome WAS educational!)

coffeehouse menu in hungarian Budapest

We both ordered a latte macchiato and they where less that $2 each!  Take that Starbucks!  AND they were beautiful!  Double whammy to Starbucks!!

latte macchiato Nana Budapest

Once stirred they looked like a normal coffee drink with foam, but just look at those layers!

Another side note: there were tons of places in Budapest where you could stop to get something to drink but no food called coffeehouses (kavehaz in Hungarian). All of these places served extremely cheap alcohol, sodas, water, teas, and coffees. You could get extremely cheap alcohol anywhere, from any shop, restaurant, coffeehouse, etc. We don’t drink, but it was crazy to see that liquor was cheaper than water!
Third side note: I don’t think Budapest believes you can drink tap water. It must be some sort of sin to do so. If you asked for water you had to be specific to say tap water and then some places wouldn't even serve it. When you did ask for water the next question you would be asked, “Still or with gas?”  That happened in Rome too.

When we ordered something that came in a bottle, they would bring the bottle and a cup, open the bottle and pour some of it into a cup for you. If it was a glass bottle you couldn't take it with you and most of the time it was a small .33 liter bottle that cost more than a shot of hard liquor, especially the water!
 Ok done with the notes, back at the hotel full and exhausted we quickly fell asleep, but I ended up waking back up because my precious husband snores and it was only afternoon back at home so my body was fighting sleep just like it does every afternoon, despite the fact that it had been deprived of sleep for way too many hours. I used ear plugs, I used headphones with a white noise app on my phone, I tossed, I turned, and I finally got some sleep just in time for the sun to come up at 4:30 local time.

 No, I am not kidding. The stinking sun comes up at 4:30 in the morning in Budapest in June!! It doesn't get dark until almost 9 PM, so they have a lot of daylight in the summer! All the other times we have gone to Europe it was winter and it got light by 8 AM and dark by 4 PM, so this was a nice change for us, except for the 4:30 bright sunrise!

Next blog will be our first full day in Budapest. Stay tuned!