Night in Vienna

Trip Start Dec 16, 2007
Trip End Jan 11, 2008

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Flag of Austria  ,
Sunday, December 23, 2007

We started off from Ivan's at 3:45 am for the Chop train and got there in plenty of time....about 5:15 am. The train station is almost completely dark. Ivan says that there are so few crossing by train at this point that it will be a while before the station has a more welcoming look. It is a grim old Soviet building. Some remodeling had started on it, but it's obvious that it became a lesser priority in the midst of the remodeling.

In Ukraine you have to go through customs on the way OUT of the country, too. As usual we are asked about guns, icons and drugs. The ride is 17 minutes on a creaky train track that takes you slowly across the Tissa River into Hungary. Finally, LIGHT! The Zahoney train station. We have crossed into the new Europe. Hungary became part of the Schengen border and now from here you can travel all throughout Europe without stopping at any border.
Will our train experience to Budapest be without incident? We were hoping so. But, it was not so.

First, the Inter City train we should have taken 15 minutes after arriving left. For some unknown reason it was not on the schedule board. Oh well, we have lots of time. Now, we take an older train to a Nyieregyhaza which is one hour away. We're certain we can catch an Inter City to Budapest. It was a cold morning. We come to Nyieregyhaza and transfer to the Inter City. So far so good.

Then an efficious conductor comes buy saying platzkart, teeket, and other words. We show him our ticket. Not good enough. He demands that we each pay about seven dollars more. Dan won't stand for this and stands up to him. All the conductor can say is "teeket" and shows us the amount. Dan says that we paid the fare in Budapest for a round trip ticket. The conductor finds someone who can translate. On and on the conversation goes. We didn't see why we had to pay more since we bought a round trip ticket. The conductor threatens to turn us over to the police at the next station. All this is not worth the few dollars so Dan kindly pays for the rest of the "teeket."

Time flew quickly as the Harper's and us talked about what can be done by them with the Vinogradov kids and when. We discussed various options that might in our schedules. We really appreciate their willingness. I know that they both will be treated very well by our Ukrainian friends. Before we knew it we pulled into the Budapest Keleti train station and quickly bought tickets for our continuing train to Vienna, Austria. We parted here with Dan and Cindy. It was really sad to see them go. They were so enjoyable to be with. They would go on to the airport from here.

Bev and I trained uneventfully to Vienna. The world is getting more and more modern looking. We walked out of the train station and found a modest hotel across the street from the train station. Our next departure is by plane from Vienna airport to Riga, Latvia.

I had not been Vienna since 2000 when I had to overnight from Estonia back to the USA. I took some pictures then that I have on my Web site at

I wanted to take Bev to a restaurant that only serves Wiener Schnitzel and is world-renowned. I got lost soon and walked into a hotel for more directions. Inside started a mini-adventure.

A guest with an alpine hat overheard me asking for the restaurant and offered to drive us there. He spoke good English and was quite bombastic. His wife many years younger and about 10 year old daughter were standing by. Looked OK enough and he wanted to help two Americans in need. We were squashed in the car with my knees in the back seat almost up to my jaws. He goes on telling us that he is from Israel and now lives in Vienna. His wife is from Hamburg, Germany. He asks all kinds of questions about why we are there and who we are. I tell him I'm a minister and that I keep the Sabbath like Jews do....trying to find some commonality.

Anyway, he drives round and round and says that he has to stop at some Iraqi friends to drop off a document. I knew that we were driving much more than to the Figlmüller restaurant. He went into a building for about ten minutes while we waited outside. He seemed oblivious to us.

Then he came out and the car wouldn't start! So, he went into the building to get his two Iraqi friends and the three of us pushed the car out of the parking place and down the street until he could pop the clutch and the car would start.

Anyway, I asked him to please just get us somewhere close and he did after another 20 minutes.

The restaurant was full so Bev and I walked around a bit and found a nice little place in a cellar that was very charming and we had a quiet meal together. We took the metro back to the train station. Our day started in Khust ended in Vienna. I'm hoping that Air Baltic tomorrow won't charge me a lot extra for the nearly 50 pounds of Russian literature that I am taking on board tomorrow to leave at Johnnie's apartment in Estonia.
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rogersma on

Okay well that was a bit scary.
What were you and Bev thinking getting into a car with strangers? I don't think I could be that trusting and I thank God for watching over you two. Please be careful.


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