Wednesday 31 August 2016

Midlands to Magyar [2]

Chum and Leicester correspondent David has arrived at Budapest Airport and, crutch in hand, has arranged to meet his former Uni friends. But not at the airport!

David has to make his way to Budapest-Déli pályaudvar aka Budapest South Station.

It might have been straightforward (ish) had he de-planed at the now-closed No. 1 terminal ...
... because just outside is a railway station (map below, top left).
In passing, please note bus 200E making its way along the main road and stopping at Ferihegy station.
There would appear to be plenty of trains ...
... and the 200E bus is a dedicated service to the new and open terminals 2 and 2A which are  some distance from the railway.
Bus and taxi access to the new terminal buildings is via a high level ramped road ...
... with bus stop clearly signposted within the building.
The aforementioned 200E awaits. But correspondent Andrew (see yesterdays blog) notes some challenges in taking the bus.
So we can catch the 200E (what does the "E" mean? Expressz?) and get off at Ferihegy Station and catch a train into the city.
And there would appear to be plenty of 200Es and plenty of trains.
But daring and slightly disabled David wants to meet pal Roger and his good lady wife at Budapest-Déli whilst all these trains go ...
... somewhere different. But how different?

There appear to be three possible city centre stations; Nyugati (Budapest West) is at the top of this metro diagram. Keleti (east) is bottom right whilst Déli (south) is lower left. So now we can offer Dubious David a splendidly complex journey to meet his friends:-

Bus 200E Airport to Ferihegy
Train to Nyugati
Metro to Deák Ferenc tér
Metro to Déli

In fact, David was advised to operate Plan B and take the 200E to the end of the route at Kőbánya-Kispest, the southern terminus of Metro Line 3. This would reduce the complexity by 25%

Bus 200E Airport to Kőbánya-Kispest
Metro to Deák Ferenc tér
Metro to Déli

At Kőbánya-Kispest (named after the two districts served but known locally as KoKi) he would find a smart bus station ...
... and a covered link to a three storey shopping "Mall".
The logo actually reads "Koki" terminal, the name of the shopping centre. Here he could enjoy some exciting Hungarian retail experience ...
... at Tesco, C&A, H&M or even (deepest joy?) ...
... Colonel Sanders finest; a sumptuous evening meal of csirke és sültkrumpli. (To assist your adventure into the Hungarian tongue, "krumpli" is potato). And, in case you wondered; C & A closed down in the UK in 2001 but remains strong in Europe as per this list showing number of stores.
The company was founded by brothers Clemens and August Brenninkmeijer in 1841 as a Dutch textile company, taking its company name from their initials. In 1906 Clemen's son, Bernard Joseph, started discounting in Amsterdam (Rekenen in Centen, in plaats van Procenten) and by 1910 there were ten stores in the Netherlands. 

But David is in a hurry; so he will turn in the other direction at the footbridge and prepare to board Metro Line 3.
The fantastic voyage continues!

 Next Magyar blog : Thursday 1st September 

Tuesday 30 August 2016

Midlands to Magyar [1]

Leicester correspondent David has just had a partial knee replacement. He visited fbb mansions in Seaton a couple of weeks ago and seemed very mobile, claiming the crutch was for sympathy. Of mature years (a few more than the fbbs!), the operation and recuperation had meant that his annual jaunt around Europe with a former University colleague (Roger) was at risk.

In the end, David decided to travel later and join Roger and his Mrs for the conclusion of their trip.

So the fantastic voyage began last Thursday, 25th August as David set off from his pad in Groby, Leicester.

By bus of course.
Arriva service 27 or 29 to St Margarets bus station in Leicester. Thence Skylink ...
... to the Airport. Once hourly and run by Trentbarton subsidiary Kinch, this route has expanded dramatically over the years, partly due to the increase in air travel and partly by absorbing some local bits and pieces in the Kegworth area.
So David had a 20 minute frequency ...
... and therefore plenty of choice and plenty of time to arrive for the usual security and other lengthy procedures now de rigueur for any plane flight.
The airport was originally a Royal Air Force station, RAF Castle Donington, which was decommissioned in 1946. The site was purchased by a consortium of local government authorities in 1964, when a major programme of building work and runway investment was begun. The airfield was renamed East Midlands Airport to reflect the area it served, and it opened for passengers in April 1965.
It has got a bit bigger since.
David's "carrier" was ...
... which flies Boeing 737s and has a fleet of 60 aircraft.
The flight schedule seems long ...
... bit we need to remember different time zones; always confusing for poor old fbb.

Budapest Airport opened its stylish new terminal in 1950.
This became Terminal 1 and is now joined by terminals 2A and 2B. Terminal 1 closed in 2012; all bewailed by an enthusiastic on-line air traveller!

The current Hungarian government can claim credit for a series of mistakes but allowing the national airline (Malev) to go bust without a successor, when in fact the previous government had left a detailed blueprint for setting up a new airline, is certainly among the most painful. An absolute first is also the fact that Terminal 1 at Ferihegy is now going to be closed since with Malev gone, there is simply not enough traffic to justify keeping the old terminal operational. No other major airport in recent history was forced to close a terminal because they had run out of aircraft.

Although everyone still refers to the Airport as "Ferihegy" after the district in Budapast in which it is situated ...
... it was renamed Budapest Liszt Ferenc Nemzetközi Repülőtér (Budabest Ferenc Liszt International Airport) on the 200th Anniversary of the composer's birth.

He looks a bit like the late great Spike Milligan.

But for becrutched traveller David, the fun is just beginning.

As we shall see tomorrow.

 Next Magyar Blog : Wednesday 31st August 

Monday 29 August 2016

Bute Bits and Largs Leftovers

 Cumbrae Scooter Rally 
Last Friday (26th August) there was heavy demand for crossings to The Isle of Cumbrae.
As the fbb's began packing for their return to England, there was the repeated sound of Vespas and Lambrettas spluttering towards the ferry queue. A two boat service was running for most of the day using the "spare" parked at Largs pier all week.
It gave ferry-watches the opportunity to compare the two sizes of ferry ...
... and hearken back to the early days of car carrying craft when they were even smaller!

 Largs bus depot / bus station 
fbb does vaguely remember been taken by his Mrs (probably before she became his Mrs!) to enoy the spartan delights of this shed plus bus stands. Whilst searching for Western S M T information for Rothesay, the piccy popped onto the screen.
Roughly speaking it stood alongside the railway station.

 Bus Business on Bute 
fbb is now on dangerous ground. He has tried to remember what actually happened on Bute pre- and post- privatisation. Here's hoping someone "out there" will tie up the loose ends and complete and/or correct fbb's incomplete and unreliable memory.

Pretty much the whole of western Scotland was in the hands of Western S M T, later Western Scottish. That included Largs, The Island of Arran, Dunoon and the Isle of Bute. Here is a service 90 bus outside the Port Banntyne depot (of trams fame)
When the Scottish Bus Group was split in 1985, Bute became part of Clydeside.
Although the main rump of Clydeside went to Arriva, Stagecoach ended up with Bute and much of the pared down Western Scottish.
In many parts of Scotland the silly season of bus competition happened. Even on the little Isle of Cumbrae two companies' vehicles met the ferries from Largs and ran together down the road to Millport. Eventually they agreed a one-day on one-day off deal. Now there is only one.

All sorts of mischief happened on Bute. Arran Coaches was the big fly in the ointment ...
... followed by and including West Coast Motors.
Whether Stagecoach lost or West Coast won, or whether there was some clandestine agreement, is lost in fbb's brain. But Stagecoach capitulated and West Coast now reigns supreme on Bute and in the Cowal peninsula (a k a Dunoon). Stagecoach still holds sway on the Island of Arran.

 A Peek at the "Pav" 
fbb mentioned The Pavilion as one of Rothesay's great assets, built in 1938 but somewhat decayed and unloved.
Work is under way to refurbish and reujuvenate this marvellous building. The report on the proposals is on-line and includes some stunning pictures of the interior. Here are a few.
Once again the lure of this rich magnificence to the humble Glaswegian holiday-maker or day tripper can be easily imagined. What a contrast! The "Pav" closed completely last year for a much needed re-vamp.

And there was even a Caretaker's house ...
... in need of some remedial work!

It will be really great to see this iconic building in full working order and used as it was intended.

And talking of full working order: thanks to another correspondent for this item.

 Tootle - loo Rothesay! 
And here it is / they are:-
Conveniently located at the car assembly point for the ferry and once Gents only, these facilities have been restored to their Victorian opulence and mantained in working order, complete with small gift shop.

Stand up:-
Sit Down:-
And please wash your hands.
Magnificent. You can't beat Twyfords for superior sanitary wear/
One of the most desirable and useful visitor attractions in Rothesay.

 Next Hungary bus and rail blog : Tuesday 30th August