Thursday, April 15, 2010

That can't be good.

For anyone with travel plans to Europe over the next week or so,  this doesn't look good.  Apparently flights in and out of Reykjavik are fine,  since all the ash spewing out of the volcano in Iceland is blowing towards Europe.
Are we going to have another summer of '92?
Cripes,  I hope not.
If you recall,  it was in 91 and 92 that mount Pinatubo erupted,  dropping summertime temperatures around the globe by (they say) a half a degree.

Sure felt colder than that.

  I just remember it rained ever single weekend that summer but one.  Funny how those things stick with you.
Whereas I first saw this on MSN,  it had actually come from the CBC.   Not sure why it is I have to see some idiotic Winney the Pooh ad ever single time I watch one of the brief videos on MSN.
I'm NOT going to the new Walt Disney Winney the Pooh movie,  so just stop already!

What I hadn't mentioned yesterday was that my travelling companion had spent the day in Frankfurt,  first at a pow-wow for the group,  and then for a brief trip through the trade show where the company that cannot be named was putting out a few of their latest high tech gadgets.
Thankfully she's back home here in Wienerland for a while longer,  so there are no immediate travel concerns.  It was a day trip to Frankfurt,  so that meant we rolled out of bed well before 4:30 for what I think was a 7:30 flight (memory's dim)  off to warm and sunny Frankfurt,  only to return last night after 9:30 to Vienna,  where it's been raining pretty steadily for as long as I can remember.

Well,  since last Saturday anyway.

This morning though,  there was a two hour window of near sunshine,  which gave me the chance to once again head out in search of what I think is one of the best deals around.
At some point,  maybe it was on the weekend,  I discovered that there was a season's pass to be had for eight of the venues here in Wienerland.  First of all,  we have the "Kunsthistorische Museum",  which translates to the "Museum of Art History",  which was started by the Habsburgs to house all the stuff they had collected over the hundreds of years they ruled over the Austrian Empire.   It's actually a little more complicated than that, but trust me,  you don't want me to go into it.
Clink on the link if you want.
Read all about the Habsburgs.
Fill your boots.

Now,  along with the Kunsthistorische Museum,  there are seven other venues you can get into with this one pass.

Such a deal!!   And for €29,   this thing is good for a year!

I was also quite pleased to see that these things were available at one of the many Bawag bank branches not far from our front door.

Or so I thought.

On Tuesday I naively figured I could just waltz into the branch out here on Mariahilfer and pick up two passes.  Oh no,  sold out.

Fine.   No biggie,  since there's another branch on Neubaugasse.   There's a nice bakery there that I go to almost every day,  so off I go.

Sold out.   Went to the bakery anyway,  so it wasn't a complete waste.

Beginning to think the whole concept is starting to look less than promising.

So this morning,  I figured I'd suck it up and try calling somebody to find out about these flippin' passes.   Ever tried calling your bank?   (I called the museum,  they don't answer)  You don't really end up calling a particular branch,  unless you've managed to wrestle a business card from someone who works there,  and then pray to God they haven't been transferred by the time you actually need to talk to them.
No,  if you decide to go down that road,  you end up speaking to someone in some central location or worse,  a call centre.  Here in Austria,  this may very well have been someone actually in Vienna.   We're not sure,  but Vienna is the capital,  and this woman spoke German.  Not the goofy Austrian dialect,  which I can almost  understand,  but Perfecktes Hochdeutsch.

Unlike some Canadian banks that we won't continue to rant on about here,  these folks can't quite outsource their call centres to some slum in Bombay.  (it was'll always be Bombay as far as I'm concerned.   They didn't start calling it "Mumbai Furniture" )

 See,  they don't speak a whole lot of German in Bombay,  or New Delhi....or New Brunswick for that matter.

Anyway,  the very nice lady on the phone said she'd have someone call me.
I don't really know my number,  so I had to scramble for a few seconds there while I located my cell phone into which I had thankfully programmed our home phone number ahead of time!   Yikes!

Once again,  I wouldn't have taken that bet,  but much to my surprise,  about 20 minutes later,  the phone rang,  and it was a bank lady!   Holy moly!
I darned near peed.

Here's another little snippet for you:

In Austria,  it's considered bad form (well,  downright rude actually)  to answer the phone by just saying "hello".  Don't ask me why,  'cause the Austrians are plenty rude without ever having to get on the phone.   No,   you say "hier..."and then your last name.   I don't normally do this since I figure it's nobody's bloody business who lives here,  but in this case I made sure I answered the phone properly.   Never hurts.


My guess would be at this point you're thinking that I'm in possession of two of these coveted passes.

Well....not.... quite.

What I have is a couple really fancy little pieces of paper in cutesy little envelopes that I can now exchange for my two passes when we go to the Museum for the first time.


Small steps Bob.  Small steps.


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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.