We left the ATL Airport on schedule (after the phone incident) heading for Amsterdam…an 8 hour flight away. The A300 was great and Audy enjoyed her first class seat. I sat next to a very interesting retired AF nurse….who’s husband and daughter are currently working in Abu Dhabi….and we had a very enjoyable conversation. Delta served us a great dinner…and the flight went quickly.
We landed in Amsterdam in the early morning and then taxied, and taxied, and taxied for probably 20 minutes….finally arriving at the gate. The Schipol Airport is modern, massive, and super busy….struck both of us as one of the larges airports we have seen. Makes sense in that it is kind of the gateway to Europe. We walked a bit then started towards the gate…had to go through a customs check, which was fast and pleasant…then on to the D61 gate…and then we saw the Aspire Lounge and went in there and relaxed for the hour time….very nice with snacks, etc.
We boarded the KLM flight to Budapest…full flight and arrived on time….busy buy easy airport and got the luggage and met the shuttle service man and off for the 30 minute ride to the Budapest Intercontinental Hotel. We checked in and the girl said we have to go to the Club level…..and we did and a very nice personal check in with the concierge….and the Club Intercontinental is the exclusive Club for the upgraded rooms. Very nice greeting, etc…..and we directed to our room on the 7th floor.
We slept for about 2 hours…then went to the lounge area for some food…and at 6:30 PM left for the St Stephens Basilica Organ Concert. We walked a few blocks and then started to see the Christmas market area with many shops along the pedestrian only street…..and then at the end of the 4 blocks was the lighted tower of St Stephens…..photos on all of this…and then as we walked towards the Basilica we saw and heard the beginning of the light show…got it all on video.
We went into the Church to check out the tickets etc…then went on in to the Sanctuary to admire this massive impressive Church…certainly a showplace for Budapest and a “must” to see for all that visit. We had some extra time so walked down the adjoining street as all of the stores are lit up nicely for Christmas. Very impressive…very safe feeling…very cold at 38 degrees….and a lot of families out walking to see the sights. Very nice.
The concert itself featured the organist, one of the finest in the country, along with a very fine flutist and a male bass-baritone. The concert was GREAT…and lasted about 90 minutes…but, and this is a big but….the organist surpassed any organist we have ever heard, and this is saying something. He was as fast on the keyboard as we had ever seen…and then his feet were moving non-stop. How we thought of William…..a thousand times….as this man was by far the best we had ever seen or heard…and he believed in big volumes. For me, it was one of the “chills run up your back” experiences…..just truly outstanding…and the full house crowd would not let him finish…so we stood in the back for the final number. Audy did get a program, but we are sure he is on YouTube. Clearly a once in a lifetime concert experience for us….
only downside…cold, cold, and cold inside. we sat with coats and gloves….but well worth it. Took our time back to the hotel….great 8 hours of sleep, and now off to breakfast in the Lounge and then the market and the Hop On Hop Off…suppose to rain this afternoon…maybe some snow. We shall see. A GREAT DAY to begin our trip.