Well, here I am in Vienna!
I thought I’d give a brief update on my journey so far.
For those of you who saw or spoke to me before I left, you know I was a definite mix of excited and nervous for this big adventure. It didn’t help that a lot of negative stuff happened in the weeks before my trip, which really messed with my stress levels and overall focus. (And that’s why I now have a lawyer to handle all that stuff!) But I tried to think of this trip AS an adventure. (Which of course means I thought of it as an adventure done all Lord of the Rings style – my own quest through Middle Earth, so to speak…. ‘Cause I’m a dork like that…)
The flight over was pretty uneventful. I couldn’t really sleep much, but that didn’t surprise me. I did at one point look out the window and noticed just how awesome the stars looked. I could see Cassiopeia right out in front of me (the stars were all SO bright and clear) and the distinct curvature of the Earth below me. Very cool.
When we were approaching Munich for landing, I wondered why it still looked like we were in the middle of the clouds – no sight of any land. Pretty soon I realized it was because of all the snow. The ground was covered with snow, and it was coming down pretty steady. Thankfully, we still had an easy uneventful landing. (yay!)
I grabbed the Lufthansa airport bus to the train station. If you ever have to get from the airport to the train station in Munich, let me just tell you that they are not near each other. it was a decent half hour drive to the train station.
And being a little on the clueless side, I had to seek the assistance of the information desk to figure out what to do next. (I didn’t have any experience with trains on main land Europe.) I got my Rail Pass activated, and they told me which train to get to take me to Vienna.
The train left around 11:30am, and we got to Vienna around 3:45pm. Yup – lots of long travel. I did doze off a few times on the train, and when I was awake, I got to see lots of snow covered countryside.
Once I got to Vienna, I had some trouble finding my hotel. My apartment contract started on February 15th, so I had to find a place to stay for my first night. I found a cheap place (which I booked just a couple of days before I left), but for the life of me I couldn’t find it. So I had to ask at the UBahn station, where I was fortunately given good directions. In the meantime, I was walking block after block with very heavy luggage. I got quite the work out! 🙂
I stayed at the Donau Walzer Hotel – along the outer ring. There were definite plusses and minuses with this place. On the plus side, the service was excellent. And the hotel is neat and clean. BUT, the neighborhood leaves a bit to be desired. I am not the kind of girl who’s afraid to walk around a city at night – heck, I’ve done it plenty of times in NYC and Philly. But this area seemed especially…. run down? Kind of sketchy. Lots of dark abandoned looking buildings and the buildings that were open, well, didn’t look so great. Just my general impression. And another one for the minus side – free wifi allowed only in the cafe part downstairs – while you’re consuming something you bought at the cafe. (I had two green teas so I could sit in the cafe for awhile and check email and facebook.) Seriously – in this day and age, wifi should be free for hotel guests!
But for one night, it was fine for me. Plus – it included free breakfast in the morning! And I just wanted to get some rest after going so long without any.
Alas, jet lag always gets the best of me. I got to sleep around midnight, but woke up around 3:30 and couldn’t get back to sleep. I played Boggle on my iPhone for awhile, then got back to sleep around 6:30, only to be woken up not long after by the fire alarm. Yeah. Ugh. I got my shoes and coat on and went into the hallway to figure out what the heck was going on, just to have the alarm stop. I called the front desk just to find out everything was fine.
After breakfast, I got my stuff and got out of there. But I had to get my heavy luggage on the U6, then transfer to the U3, and then on to the U2. (The UBahn is the subway system here in Vienna.) Kind of a tricky task, but I did it.
Now I’m in my apartment. It’s small, but plenty big for me. It has high ceilings and lots of light coming in through the windows. It’s right next to the UBahn stop, and there’s a grocery store right across the street. Alles ist gut!