As soon as we were settled in our room, advised where to get dinner, and had ordered a meal, it hit me that I was in the region where my grandfather was born.
With the taxi wizzing us off to the airport, we knew we would have plenty of time to check in with WizzAir and then time to be decadent in the Diners Club lounge. The best plans that can go astray, generally do. Wizz would not open their check in for another forty-five minutes after we arrived. When they did, we were first in line, but the young man providing “customer service” looked like he had a devastating experience at the recent Gay Euro Games held here this last week, thus planning his revenge on anyone he suspected may like rainbow flags.
Perhaps he overheard me tell Ron he looks like he had been splattered with fairy dust while having a mental rod inserted in his derriere. He proceeded to force me into proving my gym bag like suitcase would fit in their anorexic luggage template. It would have had it not been for a camera, lens, a computer, mobile phone and all the cords needed for the above. For clothes, I had 2 pair of shorts and 2 shirts. Finally, out of mercy, he gave me the go ahead signal with a truly limp wrist, a disgusted look followed by one of disdain, and a flip of his head to remove the bangs from his eyes. I swear those mental templates they have at the airports are much smaller than their advertised dimensions on their website.
I realized this was my first time in the Franz Liszt International airport since it had been remodeled. When we went to Guatemala, we took Wizz to Madrid first, but even then we went out of Terminal 1, which had not been closed yet. This airport is spectacular. The only way to really appreciate it is to know what it once was. I was truly impressed.
We spent a glorious hour in the lounge luxuriating, before joining the crowds to board a bus to board a plane. It is the usual guerrilla warfare to get on the bus that takes you to the plane and then the pushing and shoving to get onto the staircase first, not to get the prime seats, because there are none, but to get the overhead bin real estate. By the 2nd busload, the bins were full. People had to check their luggage, which made tempers soar from the start.
The flight was an easy 1 hour and 15 minutes. The crew barely had time to finish their sales of food and then start the 2nd go round of overpriced souvenirs before it was time to stash it all away for a landing.
The Bari Airport is small, modern, and manageable. Outside there are shuttles that only depart very hour for 4 Euros p/p or the public bus, which takes longer, but leaves every 20 minutes and is only 1.20 Euros. We opted for public rather than wait another forty minutes for the shuttle to take off, but it was so crowded. I had to stand much of the way. It seems it took longer to get into the city than it did to fly from Budapest. In reality, it took almost as long. Once in the city, we saw our hotel flash before our eyes, but was not in a position to get to the stop button or climb over everyone to get out if we did. Arriving at the train station which now seemed miles away, we opted for a taxi to the hotel. It cost us 10 Euros, but at 10:45 pm, it was worth it.
We stayed at the Boston Hotel; if first impressions are important, this one created a lovely first impression and never let us down. It was excellent and we would return in a heartbeat.