Train to Vienna

Trip Start Dec 15, 2009
Trip End Dec 30, 2009

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Flag of Austria  , Vienna,
Monday, December 21, 2009

We got up really early, lazed around and packed up. We watched some CNN and TV5Monde cartoons. I ate my leftover green curry chicken for breakfast (yum!) and sipped some hot tea. Greg (the owner of the apt) came right on time at 9:50 am. He had arranged a taxi for us the night before so it would be there at 10 am.

We said goodbye and thank-you to him (great guy) and got in our taxi to Kaleti Train Station. It seemed like forever since we'd been there. The train station was cold, of course. We still had some HUF (Hungarian Forints) leftover, so we went on the hunt for some scarves. DH and I scored some soft, pretty Burberry-esque scarves for about $2 each. [Later we would see people in every city we visited with these scarves!]

DH got a Gyros sandwich that looked disgusting, but he insists it was the best ever. The kids and I went to a bakery place and got a "pizza" bread slice that DS and I split and DD got a cheese croissant. Then for a sweet, I got a chocolote cinnamon roll and the kids got these cream-filled donut things.

Because we were 1st Class passengers, they let us go in the Business Lounge, although we couldn't use any of their services (beverages, etc). But at least it was warm in there! The lady told us to have a seat because it might be awhile. I thought maybe the trains were running behind because of all the snowstorms. DH eventually went up to ask about our train and found out she had thought we were going to Prague!

Our train was on the platform and getting ready to leave, so we grabbed our luggage and made a run for it. Thankfully it was on the closes platform right outside the Business Lounge door. We had to go way down towards the end to our car. I was getting worried that the train was going to start sliding away. But we made it...with only a moment to spare. My seat was facing the wrong way, wo I moved a few rows back to face forward. I just relaxed and watched the beautiful countryside whiz by.

We arrived at the Westbahnhof train station in Vienna. The U-Bahn station there was under construction, so we had to go outside to the one adjacent. We eventually figured out how to get tickets and then took the U to the stop by the apartment.

It was quite cold. We found it quite tedious pulling luggage through the snow too. We walked several blocks to the apartment, which was a challenge to find. The owner was there to meet us, unfortunately, with some disturbing news: the heating system was not working. Oh dear.

He said he had a bigger apartment in the 1st District that we could maybe stay at but he had another family coming in and he had to wait for them. They got there in just a couple minutes, and we could hear the guy saying no way was he going to a hotel. So what that meant was that they got the apartment in the 1st. We got stuck with going to a hotel.

The owner took us and our luggage in his Mercedes SUV to the Austria Trend Hotel downtown. I looked at the room with him. It was very basic. The way he had talked before we got there was that it had two beds, but it has a bed for DH and I, and a pullout for the kids. I was hesitant. He offered to get us two rooms, but I felt that would be excessive. So I said it was fine.

This hotel is kinda sucky. It's cold; there is no control of temperature in the room. It's very basic. But I keep telling myself, "Well, at least we have a place to stay. It's Christmas week and there might not have been room at the inn." --so suck it up girlie.

We put up our stuff and went to Stephansdom Quarter. The U came up right at the church. There were a ton of people out and about, and lots of sparkling Christmas lights decorating the streets. We found a place to eat, Mama's Kitchen. It was a teenie, tiny place. I almost said, "Let's go." But we found a table big enough for four in the back. Right next to us was a lady with the cutest little dog.

DD and I ordered chicken and mushrooms with cream sauce and potato croquettes, DH got wienerschnitzel, and DS had soup and salad. The food was absolutely fantastic--the best meal on this trip so far.

We went into a shop or two as we walked back to the U. We were freezing. The temp was supposed to get down to -15 C. It certainly felt that way!
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