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Old 03-22-2011, 08:01 PM   #31
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Old 03-23-2011, 02:21 AM   #32
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Saturday 19 March Ė part one: what do you mean... ďmedical emergencyĒ?

Thankfully 4.20am is not a time that Iím used to seeing that often any longer. Once upon a time, many, many years ago when I used to work in radio on the breakfast show, then it was a time that was familiar to me, but not any longer.... So it came as something of a shock to me when the alarm went off at that time. I slowly got going, but fortunately we had plenty of time before we needed to leave, with time for breakfast and a quick check of the boards before our departure.

Itís just as well we did have plenty of time, as we needed it to de-frost the car, after a pretty cold night. We were finally on the road, and the first thing that caught our eye was the huge moon in front of us. I later read in the paper that it was at its closest to the earth for many, many years and, at this early hour of the morning, you could see that.

We made it to the airport on time to meet our valet parking service, but when we got to the drop-off area, there was no-one to be seen and a very keen policeman, who seemed to be booking another car, so we went once more round the block. When we returned, our driver was waiting for us and we left our car with him, heading inside.

There were signs everywhere that theyíre currently in the middle of a £1 billion ( you read that right! ) upgrade and it showed. Outside, the parking was a bit of a mess, but hopefully when itís all done, it will be so much better. At least we know what to expect when we return to Gatwick in just under three weeksí time for our trip to Florida!

It was a very pleasant change to be able to walk straight through the terminal, not have to check in, as we already had our boarding passes and had no luggage to drop off. We were straight off to security and that took a lot longer than we thought. They were being very thorough, which is good to see, but they were also being painfully slow. I think we were probably in line for about 20 minutes waiting to go through.

We checked the display as soon as we got through and our gate hadnít yet been called, so I headed off to use the restrooms. As always happens at times like this, while I was in there, our gate was called. Mark still wanted to get a newspaper and a book, so we headed into a newsagent and stood there for ages in line, waiting to pay.

Finally we set off for our gate, power walking our way there, as we were conscious that it was due to close at 6.30am and it was about 6.25am when we finally left the terminal, with the signs telling us that it was a 20 minute walk. Well, thank goodness, they over-estimate those timings. I think we made it in the five minutes. And what did we find when we got to the gate? The longest snaking line to board that weíve ever seen.

We stood in it for probably about 20 minutes, during which time it became clear that there was no way that we were going to be leaving on time, as our flight was due to take off just 10 minutes later. Finally, we started boarding and almost got shoved out of the way by a woman, who decided to change lines to join her friend. I refused to let her in, although she got in front of Mark. I did no more than carry on walking, while her friend waited for her, determined to board first and get seats together. Well, I succeeded and Mark caught me up just as I got to the steps to the aircraft.

We were fine and managed to get two seats together, although we were near the back of the plane. Letís just say that on Easyjet, as itís a budget airline, they donít give you much space. : They make a huge deal of the fact that you can only board with one piece of hand luggage, which is crazy, as everything is then in that piece of hand luggage and you canít access it once you start the flight, unless youíre prepared to get up and annoy everyone. My hand luggage went under the seat in front of me and that was it Ė there was no way I could get anything out of it for the rest of the flight, so no photos, as my camera was in there.

Itís a shame, as we got some lovely views as we took off (isnít that always the way? ), flying over frost covered fields and then out towards the coastline. We passed over our town, although where I work was covered in cloud. Mark managed to spot the windfarms just off our coast, but I couldnít see them. It didnít worry me too much, as Iíve seen them up close a couple of times before through work.

In just a few minutes, we were across the Channel and seeing the coast of France. At one point, you could see both the coastline of France and England in one glance, which was neat and a good reminder of just how close we are together Ė only about 30 miles apart. Then we headed above the cloud and there was no more to be seen until we came into land.

The rest of the flight was certainly action packed. We decided to get breakfast, with Mark getting a bacon roll and me getting a pizza. He ordered a tea and I ordered an orange juice. Well, that was a bad move. No sooner than I had poured it out than I managed to spill it all over me and my iPod. At least my iPod still worked and I quickly dried it off. Drying me off was a different matter. I was wet through for the rest of the flight and didnít fully dry off until after we were through the airport.

I was told that my pizza would be about 15 minutes, which was fine, but after about 25 minutes, I was wondering where it was. I asked and got told it was just coming, as the crew had been dealing with a ďmedical emergencyĒ. It did arrive shortly afterwards and was bubbling hot, so that was something.

At least the rest of the flight was uneventful after that and soon we were landing. It was a very industrial area that we came into, complete with a quarry. It also looked like the forecast was right and it was a dreary and cloudy day.

We waited for everyone else to leave the plane before we extracted ourselves and in fact we were the last ones off the plane. I think thatís the first time thatís ever happened.

The airport looked very new and modern, and after a brief restroom stop for me to mop myself up we headed past baggage claim, with people from our plane still standing there waiting for their luggage. We cleared customs and immigration and then it was off to get the CAT, or City Airport Train. As we already had our tickets, it was straight down to the platform. As this has a very regular service, I was surprised to see that we had a 15 minute wait until the next train. Fortunately, we barely had to wait on the platform, as the next train pulled in and we boarded.

Itís a bit like the French trains, which are double decker ones and we quickly headed upstairs to take our seats. It was all very civilised, complete with TV screens showing departures from the airport, information about destinations they fly to from there and lots of other stuff. We sat and happily watched that until we left the station.



Next: thatís not the first thing I expected to see in Vienna! :
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:04 AM   #33
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Great start! Of course the views were great when your camera was stuck in your bag and you couldn't get to it. Sorry you had to wait so long for your pizza, I hope it was good. Looking forward to more.
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Old 03-23-2011, 07:12 AM   #34
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Yeah, you made it there. Can't wait to see what your first sight was.
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Old 03-23-2011, 07:46 AM   #35
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Glad you've made it to Vienna!
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Old 03-23-2011, 08:30 AM   #36
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Yay! Looking forward to reading about this!! What fun! Sorry to hear about the spill - I can't tell you how many times that's happened to me. Can't wait to hear about your first sight!!!
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Old 03-23-2011, 08:49 AM   #37
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I guess Easyjet is a bit like Southwest over here? At least with your tickets you get a little meal. The last time I remember eating an actual meal on a plane was in 2007 when we flew to Spain. Good for you not letting that woman get passed you, and sorry about the orange juice...that must have been uncomfortable.
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Old 03-23-2011, 10:15 AM   #38
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Yuck, sticky spills! But can't believe you had a choice in food - and cooked fresh? - on your flight!
Sounds like it is easy getting from the airport in to town. Looking forward to hearing about Vienna!
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Old 03-23-2011, 01:31 PM   #39
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Sorry about the rude woman in line and your unfortunate spill, but aside from that, it sounds like a good start to your getaway! Glad you're home safe, and now I'm looking forward to hearing more about your trip!
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Old 03-23-2011, 01:52 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by honeybee723 View Post
I guess Easyjet is a bit like Southwest over here? At least with your tickets you get a little meal. The last time I remember eating an actual meal on a plane was in 2007 when we flew to Spain. Good for you not letting that woman get passed you, and sorry about the orange juice...that must have been uncomfortable.
except more disorganised when it comes to boarding and you don't get as much for the money - luggage is an extra charge with Easyjet.
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Old 03-23-2011, 07:52 PM   #41
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Great start Cheryl!!! Looking forward to more!!
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Old 03-24-2011, 02:08 AM   #42
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Saturday 19 March Ė part two: thatís not the first thing I expected to see in Vienna! :

When we pulled out of the station and left the airport, the first thing we saw was a bit of a surprise Ė what looked like either a chemical or petroleum processing plant.



I wouldnít have liked to have lived in the nearby village... :



The journey to the Wien-Mitte (Vienna Central) station was amazingly fast, as it only takes 16 minutes. We came out and followed everyone else, before finally getting our bearings, or so we thought... We walked, getting some photos on the way:



After about 10 minutes of walking, we saw a subway station and I decided that enough was enough, weíd just catch the subway over to our hotel. I was originally going to walk through the Stadtpark, or city park, but it wasnít to be today. The subway system was very clean, although it looked almost what Iíd describe as cheap and nasty. Iíll come back to that comment as we go through this trip report...



Finally, we got to our station and very nice it was too. It looked like something out of the 1920s and was a beautiful throwback to a more genteel day.



We came out of the station and couldnít miss the Inter-Continental. Letís just say that considering how much the room cost, I was a little shocked at the appearance of the building...



However, once you get inside, you can see what youíre paying for...



The cafe in the lobby

... and some of the goodies on offer at that cafe!


Our floor

We checked in and were delighted that they were able to find a room that was ready for us and, even better, it was facing the park. We headed up to the 11th floor and it was a lovely room....



... with a wonderful view.


This is the subway station opposite the hotel

The Stephansdom


Next: very unlike a palace....
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Old 03-24-2011, 06:10 AM   #43
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Definitely not an appealing first-view out of the airport! The hotel looks beautiful, though--inside, that is.
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Old 03-24-2011, 07:41 AM   #44
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Wow, what an ugly sight coming into the city.

The hotel, so glad the inside was so much better than the outside.
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Old 03-24-2011, 07:41 AM   #45
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We stayed at the Intercontinental when we honeymooned in Tahiti (Moorea & Bora Bora). Very nice hotel chain, but I can see how it's outside appearance fooled you.
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