While looking for tickets from Delhi to Budapest I gave various search engines a try! The best fares were thrown on Skyscanner and they were with Alitalia. However, there was a hitch. While coming back we had a night to spend in Rome. I still decided to take it as I would get to explore a little bit of Rome. So, here is our experience of flying Alitalia!
On the day of the flight my sister and I met at the Delhi airport, what we locallly call T3 and went to the check-in counter of Alitalia.
My sister has no last name. The staff at the counter in Delhi was young. But her senior knew how to handle this and after a while of confusion, all was sorted, we had our boarding passes right up to Budapest.
And then we saw it, the queue at immigration! It was the worst that I have ever encountered on my numerous trips out of T3. We came in quite early, so we had plenty of time to negotiate it and it took plenty of time too. Finally, we made it through security and went to our gate. Boarding happened in an orderly manner.
The flight from Delhi to Rome was quite empty. On an obscenely early morning flight the empty middle rows are such welcome sight. After the food service was over, I went to a nearby empty row and went off to sleep, tucking myself in a blanket. The plane was a new looking A 330. I love it when I am flying with a companion as it has 2X4X2 seating. My sister and I happily took the window and the aisle and we never had to bother about any other passenger on the plane.
After sleeping for about 4 hours, I woke up and my sister went off to sleep. I watched a Japanese movie “Tap, the Last Show.” At day break I clicked a few customary pictures. After a while my sister woke up too. The cabin crew was helpful throughout.
When the breakfast was served, one of the flight attendants would talk to me in Italian and his colleague would smile and tell me to ignore him! This went on for a while, and it was good fun! This was a first for me! He did it after a while with my sister too! I wonder why I didn’t reply in Hindi? I must have been too sleepy! Soon it was time to land. All in all, it was a good flight.
The Rome Delhi flight was quite full but then I was not as tired or sleepy when I was flying back. I binge watched on movies and had a pleasant flight. I ate Italian vegetarian with wine and I was content. I liked their tea!
The Rome Budapest flight was full with a lot of luggage space taken by jackets and strollers. We still found space to tuck in our shoulder bags. It was less then two hours flight, something like what we would take within India on say Jet Airways! The Budapest Rome flight was nearly full. They serve tea/coffee and light snacks on this flight.
As we had a lot of time in transit in Rome both ways, we went to the city. We did not spend much time at Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport. We stayed at the Hilton Rome Airport Hotel for the night.
But from whatever time we spent at the airport, it is comfortable with plenty of eating and shopping options. The most convenient way to go to the Rome city center is the Leonardo Express Train.
When I fly on my own, I have to search for a cheap ticket, that is the common denominator for me. But if I find it on Alitalia again, I will be happy to fly with them! We had good flights all around with them!
PS. As I fly so many times with sponsors, it is time to write a clarification the other way round. I was on a personal trip to Budapest and we paid for our fights.
Visiting Szechenyi Thermal Baths in Budapest is a must do activity! It was a bliss to take a dip in the hot pools and sit in sauna! We went during the day, the place has great atmosphere. For my sister Alka, I think this was the highlight of the trip. I had intentionally left if for our last full day in the city. She remarked, “it can be done immediately after arrival too, as you are tired then as well!”
Széchenyi Thermal Bath is conveniently locate next to the Széchenyi Furdo Metro Station on M1 line. Get out of the station and walk into the reception, it is that close! As we went in November, we did not pre-book our tickets online. It was not crowded at all, at the reception. We could easily buy the tickets.
You will have an option of buying a ticket with cabin, which is more expensive than the normal ticket. We bought the normal ticket that comes with a locker. They give you a wrist band which is to open and close the locker. Just wear it and move around, you can go into the water with it. The locker was enough to store our belongings, in fact we used only one locker between the two of us. The men and women changing rooms are separate. So, there was no problem in finding a corner to change after our shower in the women area at the end! In my opinion you don’t need the cabin.
If the indoor pools are fun, outdoor pools are gorgeous! It is an amazing experience to enjoy the outdoor hot water pools on a cold day! The baths are equally popular with the locals and the older population. It is amazing to see women gossiping together in the middle of a pool!
In the beginning the outlay of the bath may seem confusing. But you will figure it out eventually. You can keep walking from pool to pool indoors and at the end you will emerge to one side of the outdoor pools. Repeat the exercise to emerge at the other end of the outdoor pools!
I strongly recommend that you read the FAQ section of the official website before going. You need to carry your own towels, swim wear, and pool slippers. If you don’t then you will end up renting some of it. And it will cost you money! We had swimwear and towels but not slippers. We did fine indoors, there were many others walking barefoot like us.
But it was damn cold to walk barefoot outside. We did it, but do carry your poolside footwear, you will enjoy more. There is an outdoor lap pool too. You need to wear a cap to do the laps. But the two circular outdoor pools do not require any caps. If you plan to do laps, do carry your swimming cap!
Some of the indoor pools are filled with cold water, like the one behind us. We only dipped our toe and decided it was not for us! So, do check the temperature before plunging in. There is an indoor exercise pool too, where you can join in for free.
Photography is allowed at the pools, do read the official take here. The only trick is that you have to watch out for your phone and GoPro. As there were two of us, we managed fine. There are signs telling you to keep your valuables in the locker. The management is not responsible for them. I did leave my DSLR in the hotel but I carried my phone and GoPro all around and I am glad I did.
While it is fun outside, all the saunas are inside and they are insane fun too! There was one which had the scent of mint. It was my favorite. Some pools are open at night too. I read about night pool parties but we were content to enjoy it during the day!
Both of us were totally smitten by the idea of making such a grand pool available to common public. Of course there is an ticket, the cheapest a little more than 1.2K Indian rupees, which is not too expensive for such a grand place at all. And we loved it that the senior citizens came out in such numbers! It was fun to watch them play chess with beer!
Here is a short video of the Szechenyi Baths. It features Alka in a few clips! We both had a gala time indeed. I am already looking forward to our next vacation together, though it will happen next year only!
Szechenyi Baths are huge fun, it is a must on your Budapest itinerary. There are other baths in Budapest too, but it is a pity that we could not check out anything else.
I dragged my sister, Alka Dwivedi, on a vacation to Budapest with a transit in Rome. I had to use every trick in the book to make her travel, I told her she was going with me this year even if I had to kidnap her! Here is her account of our travel to Budapest! She has been off the mark before me! Read her account below.
For a long time, we have not gone out for a holiday. So, when my sister, Mridula, offered me to take on a holiday, I was quite happy. I was going out on a holiday with her for the first time in my life, leaving my daughter and hubby home. It was also my first visit to Europe. When I reached IGI airport, and my sister joined me shortly, she took me to the immigration. The line there was R-E-A-L-L-Y long and resembled a jigsaw puzzle.
When we landed at Rome airport after clearing immigration, I was hungry. And my sister fished out a tiffin from her bag that contained aloo parathas!! I can’t tell how delicious they tasted, sitting in a foreign land, surrounded by foreign chatter, there was something that is familiar, comforting and tasty too.
Next we tried to visit Colosseum, we went out because our flight was in the evening. We reached Roma Termini, by train. But we couldn’t get metro tickets as there was again a long line. We tried to reach Colosseum by foot but without Google map, we chickened out after a while. Instead we visited a beautiful church near Termini, known as Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. It was magnificent. When we reached back airport for our flight to Budapest, I came across an interesting phenomenon. Out flight was packed and full. And there was not much difference between travelling in Delhi metro and that flight. I will not elaborate here. 😊
When we landed in Budapest, my sister hired a taxi for Novotel Budapest Danube hotel. It was almost a half an hour ride and taxi guy was quite courteous and polite. When we reached hotel, we saw out of window and almost cried in unison, “WOW!!” It was really a wow, the view out of our window with river Danube flowing gently and Budapest tallest and magnificent, Parliament Building. It was lit brilliantly and its reflection in the river was awesome. So by default our next day visiting spot was this building, which is the pride of Budapest. Though no one said that to me, but if I ask around, my assumption would come true.
We also saw, ‘Shoes on Danube’ and it is a sight of holocaust atrocities. You will see many pair of rusted shoes made of iron. Here people were shot by firing squad and their bodies fell in the river Danube leaving no trace. But sculptors Gyula Pauer and Can Togay had created a heart rending monument for holocaust victims. People still leave candles and flowers on this sight.
We also visited, Fisherman’s Bastian, Buda castle, Széchenyi thermal bath, Heroes square, Margret Island, St. Stephen’s Basilica, Great Market Hall and Gellért Hill. We didn’t have much trouble finding vegetarian food but don’t know why they don’t like their food, hot like us. It was mostly served warm.
If you are visiting Budapest, please do visit Széchenyi thermal bath. It will not just send a warmth to your body but to your soul too when you will see how elderly people walking with difficulty or with cane or crutches are enjoying life with friends, sipping beer or wine and playing chess sitting in the pool. I loved the exercise pool full of senior citizens exercising in the pool, imitating the actions of the young, beautiful and superbly fit instructor.
In short, I had a fantastic holiday. Wish to take many more with my sister and family.