Friday, October 2, 2009

The "or not" part of Stressfree travel.

Now that Gabe is safely back here in Kikkerland,  I figured I'd add a few little snippets on the other side of the story.
See,  she had to head to the airport on Monday morning,  and while the original plan was for me to simply drive her there,  we had this notion that it would be way better for her to take the train.  There's a non-stop to Schiphol at 7:07 I think it is.

All was going to plan,  except for the minor annoyance of not having a ticket ahead of time,  which had always been the practise for business travel up to this point.  So that meant trying to extract a ticket from one of the ticket machines at the station,  since the office for ticket sales hadn't yet opened when we got there at around 6:50. 
If you do happen to go to that website,  I'd just like to say that I don't totally agree with the first statement,  since the machine doesn't accept any other credit card other than some sort of "maestro master card"  and a bank card from a Dutch bank....
That's it.   No Visa,  no other master card,  and certainly not American Express.   Can't say I'd blame them on that last one,  since dealing with Amex can get pricey.
Needless to say,  I've never ever had a great deal of success getting tickets out of the darned things.
Turns out,  last Monday morning was no exception.

Just so happens I had left the house without a set of glasses,  and since I'm the only one of the two of us who has the slightest clue what's going on in Dutch, we made a fine pair.
After a couple attempts,  we managed to get what looked like a ticket to come out of the thing,  but by then it was time to head for the tracks.  There was then the question of which train was the right one,  so in spite of being parked in a not so very good location (they've moved the "kiss and ride"  way over on the side!)  we raced together for the tracks,  one flight up.
Fine,  that was easy,  it's clearly marked,  so I decide to go.
My "job" for the day,  was to get some funds into our Dutch bank account,  since it was dangerously low.  It did seem a little odd that there was even enough money in there to purchase a first class train ticket,  but  no matter,  we did get a "ticket"  to come out of the machine.
Well,  not really.
It was just a little slip of paper (looked exactly like a train ticket!)  saying we didn't have enough money in the account.
It's a wonder the conductor didn't kick her off,  but I guess the genuine look of surprise on Gabe's face when she handed over her "ticket" was met with a certain amount of compassion.  Besides,  there was no ticket checking until she was almost at her destination,  so she was told she could go and pay for her ride once she got to the airport.

Ah, ya.  We'll get right on that.

As far as I know,  the rest of the day went fine.  I mean,  I did my banking,  Gabe caught her train to Vienna, and I didn't hear from her until much later in the evening.
Turns out there was some sort of convention or other in Vienna,  and hotel rooms were
 hard to come by.  If there's an Austrian equivalent of the Day's Inn,  my guess is that it would be this place. The MÜLLNER Landgasthof
First of all,  there's a difference between a "hotel"  and a "Gasthof".  It can be sometimes a slight one,  but sometimes it's a big difference.  A Gasthof is usually family run,  and most usually frequented by locals.  In any case,  it should be clean enough so that you don't feel you need to keep your socks on all night.....

No matter how hard I looked,  on Tripadvisor or,  I couldn't find one single person who had stayed there.  The only reviews I did find,  were on one site called "trivago",  which I had never seen in my life, and the one and only reviewer on that site spoke of having to brush the ants off her legs when using the WC in the morning.  I think you get the idea.
Oh,  and it's a good thing she grabbed those two bananas on the way out the door in the morning,  since there was nothing on offer at the "hof".
They didn't even have anyone at the desk after eight p.m.,  and when Gabe had packed up and was going to leave in the morning (she was supposed to stay there all week)  there wasn't even anyone there then either!  Her leaving was most likely precipitated by the fact that there was no place to eat,  and then there was a mysterious knocking on her door late in the evening.
In the grand scheme of things,  all of this could have been nicely avoided if there hadn't been quite so much foot dragging (might have been knuckle dragging,  now that I think on it)  on the part of the various entities that were supposed to get us to Austria in a timely fashion.  We should have moved already!
Honestly!  The new job started in July.   It's now October.

And don't get me started about the Day's Inn either.

It just so happens that she has another office up in Shrems,  and one of the marketting guys was headed there for a couple days,  so she decided to tag along.  Turns out there are a couple nice little hotels in Shrems,  and they also offer something to eat when you get there at the end of the day.


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Well, I've been getting too many spam comments showing up. Just a drag, so we'll go another route and hope that helps. So, we won't be hearing anything more from Mr. Nony Moose.
I guess I'll just have to do without that Gucci purse.