Final stay in Vienna with Mal, Kirsty & Family
May 12, 2012
|15th April 2012:
Sunday: 7:30 sees us all up and packing as today we are traveling to Vienna by train (2 change overs). We are all a little concerned as we haven't seen the Ferry do it's usual hourly trips across the lake as it has on other mornings. It is Sunday and not all services are available but we are releaved to see the Ferry head across the lake at 8:30. We have a timetable but of course it is in German. Wayne comes to the rescue as he picked up a-brochure with key words for reading train timetables with English translation, so we are able to find out that our Ferry will be leaving on time.
Today is very foggy and the mountains are hidden from view so our train trip is very relaxing without a great deal to excite us. But then along comes the conductor, who informs us that our ticket is invalid as we are on the wrong train. How did this come about? To cut a long story short Lester pays the Conductor for the trip once again and on our arrival at our destination he has to lodge a claim to recover the added costs incurred.
16th April 2012:
I'm hoping today is a relaxing day. We have settled in at Mal and Kristy's place together with the boys, and of course Peanut the female Beagle. Roz and Lester are there also, of course.
The plan for today is to sort out our ticketing for the trip to Venice, Interlaken, Marseille and then Toulouse. Historically, getting reservations with the EURail Pass has meant a long wait in a line, seeking out an English speaking ticket operator and hoping that seats are available on the the trip you want to take on the day you want to travel. Previously we had problems with booking Swiss travel while we were in Toulouse, but here in Wien the process was a dream. Walked into the ticket office with info on where and when we wanted to travel and presto, the Austrian (who spoke fairly good English), after speaking way to fast for us to understand, beavered away on him computer, regularly producing ticket reservations from his printer, handed them to us and waved us away with auf wiedersein. We bid him goodbye and feeling pleased with ourselves indulged in a coffee while waiting for Lester to return from his walk around the shopping centre.
We head back into the city as there is still a few things to do. Lester promises to bring back periferoles from Zonomies (a traditional food item loved by the Norths and Reichles, apparently). Red wine is also required. But first we arrive at the city centre for a guided tour by Lester around some of the areas he knows about but after about an hour of sightseeing Yvonne gets very tired and we decide to call it a day and proceed back to our accommodation for the night. The long traveling, reduced sleep patterns, and changing food groups are starting to catch up with us.
Back home I check the tickets (written in German, of course) and notice differences between these tickets and what I would have hoped to have seen on the tickets. After help from Kristy and Mal, plus the ipads language translator I start to understand that EURail doesn't / can't provide ticketing for small regional trips and some trips on the train ticket may actually be bus trips. More trip challenges but always interesting. I may need to go back to Westbahnhoffen so I can improve my understanding of what info is provided on the tickets and what addition travel has to be done outside the boundaries of the issued tickets.
Yvonne is searching the web sites for accommodation at Venice. It takes a while trying to get value for money as the costs for this part of the trip will be higher than we have been used to so far on our trip in Europe. But eventually she locates a site that looks pretty good. It will be interesting to see how we get around in Venice. Another challenge ahead of us which we will no doubt master.
17th April 2012:
Tuesday. Yvonne has not had a good night sleep. She wakes feeling unwell with pains in the stomach and looks pale and exhausted. Time for her to rest and recover. No value in me hanging around here so I head to Wien to catch a local tour. I am interested in the German / English tour starting at 10:30am. The tour concentrates on the area (monuments, buildings etc) that are located between the St Stephens Church and the Hopburg Palace. A fairly small area in size but an area with loads of history.
To get to the tour, one has to, walk to bus stop and catch the 27A bus to Kagran Rail Station, take the U1 to Karsberg Station, hop off the train and walk to the meeting place and presto, there I am.
The tour lasts about 2hrs takes in a walk around the location mentioned earlier while being given the history and current details of these places of interest. The guide spoke in both languages but her native tongue was German. The places I was able to see and get some info on included the Hofburg Palace (Franz Joseph and Elisabeth), St Stephans Church, St Peters Church, State Opera building, Parliament House, Arts Museum, St Michaels Square,
After the tour, I jumped back on the train to Westbarnhoft to clarify the rail tickets I had got yesterday. That sorted, so to speak, I headed back to town to continue sightseeing,particularly the famous churches, St Stephens and St Peters. Before entering the churches, and not having eaten all day, I succumbed to the chinese restaurant that was between the 2 churches and I went in and had some soup and then chicken with cashews and vegetables with rice. Very tasty indeed.
Now it was time for the churches and I must say they were fantastic. By the square metre St Peters was pretty impressive but St Stephens was hugh and maybe just as impressive.
After seeing more sights I had had enough and ventured back home to see how Yvonne was feeling after her rest.