Monday, 7 April 2014

Budapest day 5 - in which we enjoy a decadent breakfast and return to traffic chaos

We have time to enjoy a leisurely start to the day and while Simon is packing, I go for a last-minute shopping trip to the idiosyncratic Spar, picking up the inevitable paprika and a few other goodies to take home. Then it’s off to the New York Café again to end as we began – with a decadent champagne breakfast. Here, for the first time we encounter the surly service our colleague Steve warned us about – the maître D looks as though he’s been up all night and his red-rimmed eyes can barely focus. Maybe he’s been celebrating or commiserating the result of the invisible election.

Returning to the Ibis to pick up our bags we take a taxi to the airport. It’s a miracle we ever arrive – the driver seems to have a death wish and weaves alarmingly between lanes. It’s a relief when we finally arrive in one piece. The flight home is unremarkable, which is more than can be said for the rest of the journey. Arriving at Terminal 3 we find it’s a long walk to the central bus station where we have just missed the Railair service. Then, as we approach Reading it’s clear that something is wrong with the traffic. There are no taxis at the South taxi rank and judging by the double line of buses backed up along Station Road, no chance of them arriving anytime soon. A traffic cop has given up trying to solve the problem and is simply standing in the road with his hands on his hips, shaking his head.
We quickly assess the situation and decide our best bet is the new north taxi rank. No taxis there either. The traffic seems to be gridlocked here, too. Suddenly, a stroke of luck – we spot a minicab dropping off a fare and quickly call his office to book him. Finally we’re on the move again, albeit slowly. It transpires that the council has decided to work on most of the main routes during the Easter period, with chaotic results. We’re late picking Alex up but at least this time we managed to make it home on the right day!

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