We woke at 3:00 am, called the taxi at 4:00 and was at the airport by 4:30 am for our 6:30 flight to Amsterdam. Chris and Mark who were traveling with us had just pulled up in another taxi. Check-in, which is supposedly 2 hours before a flight, had not opened yet.

After we did check in, go through security, and passport control, we sat for a coffee to wait for the flight. We flew SkyEurope and arrived twenty minutes earlier than scheduled.

After getting the luggage, we bought our train tickets to the Central Station and we were off. The trains leave every 15 minutes. At Central Station after a 25 minute train ride, we walked over to the transport office to buy our 96 hour transport tickets. Now we were good to go and off we went to the Golden Bear Hotel. Our room was ready, but Chris and Mark’s was not. They put their things in our room and we took off to see the city.

With this being my 11th trip here, the most recent being one year ago, I was the guide. Our first stop was automat that served French fries with peanut sauce. In the same area, there is a life sized 24 piece statue of the “Night Watch” done by two Russian artists. From here, we just wandered down the streets and did some window shopping.

On our way back, we stopped for a beer and a Dutch gin. It was getting chilly, but the sun was pleasant enough to sit outside while enjoying our drinks to people watch. After getting hydrated, satiated, and motivated, we continued our walk down to the pedestrian mall and did some more window shopping, but at Waterstone books, I went in to shock up on English language books that I knew I would not find in Hungary. There were some new books by my favorite authors: Alexander McCall Smith, Margaret George, and Josten Gaardner. I bought them all, getting three for the price of two. Though they were expensive in Euros, I still paid less than if buying them new in the States.

It was well after 2:00 pm by now when Mark and Chris’s room would be ready, so the vote was to go back and rest. We met again at 5:30 in the lobby and took another walk before heading to the all you can eat Chinese restaurant for dinner. By 10:00, we were all dead tired, so decided on an early night for a full day tomorrow.

Our room was disappointingly small. Having been to this hotel last year, I had a large room with a wonderfully comfortable bed; it was disconcerting to get a smaller room now that there were the two of us, when I had more luxury when I was here alone. The bed was so small for the two of us; I barely slept the entire night.