Sunday, January 31, 2010

Snowed in

Winter has Debrecen firmly in its grip at the moment. Snow has been in the forecast for the majority of the last four weeks, though the actual impact has ranged widely from a few flurries to 8 inches. Unfortunately, this weekend was the latter. Though snow was forecast from this past Tuesday straight through to next Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and today have been cold with flurries but little accumulation. The brunt of the snow hit on Thursday and Saturday. Ordinarily, I would not mind - I love snow! But what was supposed to happen on Saturday morning? A good friend was supposed to fly in from London for a 48 hour tour of Budapest. Spoiler alert: he did not make it.

I set out early Saturday morning for Budapest, intending to meet said friend at Ferihegy Airport. It was cold, but surprisingly sunny. On the train, he called to say, "Um, it looks like the flight is cancelled. For some reason Ferihegy is closed? I will try and get on a flight this afternoon."
I looked out the train window, and it was cloudy, but no snow.
Ten minutes later: "There are no flights this afternoon. No one is going to Budapest today."
Still no snow coming down.
Twenty minutes later: "I am giving up and going back to London."

I got off train at the next stop, Szolnok (ironically only one stop from Ferihegy), and hopped on the next InterCity train back to Budapest. Thankfully, it was the last InterCity train that ran out of Budapest that day - due to the rapidly falling temperatures, the switches froze, preventing the 1960s vintage Soviet trains from leaving. Gas engines were patrolling the tracks, with workers in orange hopping off to uncover the crucial frozen switches. But it still wasn't snowing.

Two and a half hours later, the train pulls into Debrecen. I hop off, and immediately, it started snowing.