Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Journey to Vienna

So, the great part about Cesky Krumlov was the place. The bad part is...small places that are off the beaten path are difficult to access by public transit.

We planned to take a train to Vienna, but found out that it would involve SIX transfers. (This trip should take a total of 4 hours max). Then, we investigated a "shuttle service" that runs "every day"...but they weren't running that day. We eventually figured out that we could take a bus to nearby Ceske Budjevice where we would have better luck getting a train to Vienna.

Long story short, we took the bus to Budjevice...got off the bus and got ready to find the train station...and realized we left our jackets on the bus (the only warm clothing we really packed for this leg of the trip). We'd seen the bus take off...so we knew our odds of finding it were slim...but that didn't stop Ron from throwing off the luggage and sprinting around the bus station...where it had fortunately stopped for a smoke break. We recovered our jackets, but little did we know this would be the first of about twenty sprints in the next few days.

A kindly lady helped us figure out that if we waited for the late train it would be direct rather than the upcoming one with three transfers. Seriously, this is VIENNA...not exactly a small town we're trying to get to!

So, we waited.

The train to Vienna was lovely and I have to admit something I think I'm kind of embarassed of...I felt so relieved to be in Western Europe. We exited the train and we hadn't stopped for three seconds when we were approached by a friendly Austrian, "Can I help you?" It was so decidedly nice in Vienna that we basically didn't carry a map. Whenever we were lost we'd just pause for a second and inevitably someone would approach us and offer to help.

It was in Vienna that I was also finally able to get the medicine I've been needing...(the best answer I could get in Cesky Krumlov was, "If you walk up the road about a mile that way there's someone who can alchemy it for you" I wasn't super sure about the alchemizing with language barrier thing...so we opted to wait until Vienna).

I have really enjoyed Eastern Europe (called Central Europe here). I don't think I really realized how many small things you are expending effort to be adaptable about (invasion of personal space, people being instantly suspicious of you when you approach them, different standards of cleanliness, etc.) until you don't have to spend the effort...and it feels a little relieving. So, not sure what I think about that yet.

We arrived in Vienna, got into our rented apartment through the door code she'd sent us and we were tucked in our beds by 2am. All was well.

Until the next morning at 8am when the landlady began persistently knocking on our door to be paid. When we eventually stumbled to the door she was so surprised that we didn't have exact change. (Let's stop for one second here...the lady gave us the code BECAUSE we were arriving really late last night. So, why she thinks 8am is a good idea, I don't know. And where exactly would we have gotten such exact change at 2am?)

Needless to say it was a long trip.

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