Monday, July 20, 2009

And finally to Vienna.

....Which will be slightly different from the previous "Vienna" post, since I'll put up a couple pics.
We blew on outta Birmingham on Sunday afternoon after hanging around the mailbox area for a couple hours, getting a tad bored and deciding to cab it to the airport.
We had dropped off the pool car late Saturday night since we were unsure of the parking situation at the hotel. Natually it was raining like crazy since well, we were still in England, and what trip to the UK would be complete without some rain? It's always best to have an umbrella pretty handy.
Not sure that the guard at the gate quite knew what to do, but somehow after I handed over our "credentials", he was not only considerably more willing to have us put the car on the property, but at the last minute offered to drive the thing to some parking spot off in the darkness somewhere. For my part I really didn't give a rat's tiny behind since, once I had our stuff out of the car, he could have done with it as he pleased, and maybe he sort of figured that out too.
The plane ride to Vienna was uneventful, but in hind sight we probably should have taken a cab to the hotel and gone to fetch the rental car the next day, (or even Tuesday) since finding the hotel was a bit of a challenge.
This is the moment in time when you dig out the paper work and try and figure out just where we're supposed to end up.
Bad enough that the car was over in parking spot #745 or something, which can be a bit of a hike after a long day after midnight at a strange airport....
Oh and....note location of steering wheel.
The car was a standard, but that's easy peasey for me, certainly if I'm only required to shift and start on hills with my right hand, and not my left.

That's all I ask.

Now Gabe keeps telling everyone it took us an hour and a half to find the hotel and I realise it did take a long time, but somehow that seems like a bit of an exaggeration. We eventually got to within a couple blocks and called the place, since most (well, maybe all?) of the streets in the Vienna core are one way, and the rest are blocked off for pedestrian traffic. This.... the street that the hotel address is supposed to be on, but the entrance is way over on the other side. See any cars? Seems the address had been changed at some point in time, but nobody bothered to sort that out.
Had I even been able to find it, thisis what we would have found. No parking whatsoever, and their valet service had finished at midnight. So we left the car on the street three or four blocks away and I went out to fetch it Monday morning before 8:00 a.m. Parking overnight is doable in Vienna it turns out.
On the up side, we did see a considerable amount of Vienna after dark, so that when we decided to do a little tooling around on Tuesday, a whole whack of it was already familiar to us.
The other bonus was that, some wonderful person at some point had bumped us to the "executive" side of the hotel. Just meant a bigger room, with proper air conditioning and card only access. We were up on the third floor right next to the scaffolding you see there...

Günther...was coming by Monday morning at around the same time (8:00) to fetch Gabe, since they were heading up to a plant in Schrems to have a little look-see at the books and such, along with some glad handing and the usual introductory stuff.
Btw, Günther will be her new boss. He was quite concerned that we were to have a "good experience" in Vienna, and was a little taken aback when he heard where we were staying. (probably 'cause you need to be psychic to find the bloody place)
We're either fearless, stubborn or maybe a little dim. Not sure.

If you click the link you'll notice that Schrems is nice and cozy with the Czech border, since there's a lot of back and forth it seems between there and the Czech Republic. Something about the cost of labour, but I'm not sure of all the details.

Monday for me meant wandering around Vienna for most of the day, since Tuesday was going to be our day together to do a little exploring in some of the recommended districts to try and sort out just where we'd like to live. We more or less have an idea at this point, which does tend to help when dealing with the real estate agents. Always best to not let on how much you already know I find.
Then at least they won't be carting us around and wasting our time in areas where we might feel somewhat less than comfortable, even though we never once felt we were in an area where the demeanor of the inhabitants made you feel like you were being given the once over.
(Only ever had that overwhelmingly bad feeling once in Buffalo, N.Y. ...oh, and Springfield, Mass....)
Tuesday was also Gabe's birthday, so she not only had the day off, but spent it in Vienna. That ain't too bad I guess. She was already wearing her birthday present, (glittery, and on a finger, OK?) but that's another story.

The trip back to the Netherlands was well.....also a challenge. Wednesday consisted of a staff meeting for Gabe, from which I was to fetch her at six. With the case of any of these "staff meetings", especially when it's with a new team, the ending time can be a little vague, plus at the end there's all that much more glad handing to do, so we didn't get away from there until after 6:30. (plus she was introduced as the "Director", so there was that big fat head to get in the car)
Turns out it didn't matter. Even though we had to stop for fuel, and take the car back, we had gobs of time, since the flight was delayed anyway....
What I haven't mentioned up to this point was that it had been pretty darned toasty in Vienna for the whole time we were there, and just as we were about to leave, the weather finally broke and a huge electrical storm came through.
Oh and, where had we been for the first part of the trip? Right. England. It was cool there. I didn't exactly have "hot time in the city" clothing with me.....and thankfully the little car was airconditioned, which is why I spent most of the time in the car on that Wednesday.
So fine, we're at the gate, where we've gone through security, so there's sweet bugger all in terms of amenities, and they tell us that, since the aircraft came through a storm, they need to give it the once over.
Well that's just fine, since I'd sooner have the thing work properly, so a little delay wouldn't be a hardship.
About an hour later, we get on the plane. Oh...they did bring us some "refreshments".
A bottle of water. oooooo...

Now here's the thing. By this point we're once again approaching the witching hour, and airports do in fact close at the end of the day. Not only was it required to check the plane, but they also needed to get the OK from KLM back at Schiphol. We waited so long at the gate, that they had to actually tow us out of there to free up some space. They were waiting for a fax to be cleared to leave. Who the blazes uses a fax machine anymore? Wouldn't you just send it as a pdf attached to a text and then if need be, print it out later and put it in your binder?
Pretty sure that's what the pilot eventually decided to do, since he got fed up waiting for this mystery fax and got the word from HQ to go anyway. Over the phone!!


By then you see, we're even later getting in to Schiphol so that, it was another good half hour to get the luggage off the plane and out to what was by then three flights waiting at the same carousel for their bags.

Such fun.

Couldn't even get to the belt, even though our luggage was coming off "first", so I had to do what any old geezer would have done, and that was to tell one of the young snots crowding around in no uncertain terms to get my bag for me. He did what he was told before he even realised it. I had our bag and we were out of there.

We just figured that everyone was "op vacantie", since half the work force is gone for the summer here anyway.

We hauled our sorry selves into bed here at 3:45 a.m.


  1. Wow Vienna looks beautiful! I have yet to visit, but it's definitely on my list of places to see. I had to laugh when reading about trying to find the hotel. On our last trip to Cologne, we stayed in a hotel on a market square and ran into the same parking! All of the streets were for pedestrians only, and no matter which way we approached the hotel from, there was no where to put the car. I guess it's all part of the charm in these European cities haha!

  2. The underlying challenge was to stay calm and not get frustrated with each other. We came close to raised voices at one point, at which time I just figured we'd park and figure it out. Thankfully we were within a few blocks of the place. There will no doubt be many more pics of Vienna, whenever the time comes to go back.


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.