Friday, 29 February 2008

Changi -> Frankfurt -> Vienna -> Salzburg. On the move for 24 hours

28 Feb 23:20 - Singapore Changi Airport

The boarding areas were swarmed with Europeans and I was dwarfed in size. Amsterdam, Frankfurt, New York… those were where they were heading towards. Speaking in foreign tongues that I could barely understand, this was a preview to my world in the next 10 days.

29 Feb 07:00 – Frankfurt Airport

I have survived the 14 hour flight and reached Frankfurt. My old injury, however, has recurred at the most inconvenient time. It hurt so much to maintain a sitting position for long hours, as I once slipped and hit my “little tail” during my teenage days (right at the end of the spine), which never seem to fully recover. Ouch! I cannot imagine how much worse it will get as I grow older.

My connecting flight to Vienna was almost 2 hours away. In Vienna, it would be another leg of train ride before reaching Salzburg. 9 more hours of thrill and toil on the road! I was already exhausted. Why do people travel? So that they can get as tired as this and earn a good night sleep?

I was far too awake at 7am. First sign of jet lag-ness.

29 Feb 10:50 – Vienna Airport

I felt a gust of cold wind rushed upon me as I stepped out of the air craft. “Welcome to Vienna”! I could “smell” urban metropolitan and I knew right away that I am going to like it here. Starbucks said it all. A sense of nostalgia, or maybe not quite; just the comfort of seeing something familiar.

My stay at the Vienna airport was brief as I hopped on to the airport bus heading for Vienna Westbahnhof, where I would transfer to a train for Salzburg.

29 Feb 11:40 – Vienna Westbahnhof

Am I not glad that I allowed generous buffer time between my connecting transportation. I would have missed my train if I booked the one at 11.40am (which would get me too Salzburg 1 hour and 20 mins earlier than my current connection). Flight from Frankfurt to Vienna was delayed for half and hour and the bus from Vienna airport did not leave on time.

An hour more to my scheduled train. Few things that I should do in the meantime:

(1) Go to the ticketing counter to verify that my online train ticket is valid.
(2) Get provision (food and water) for the 4 hours train ride

Ok time check. 11.55am. I better get going.

Anyway, this is the last leg of my Austria trip in which I have done advance planning. So far so good. I am clueless as to how I will make it to my hotel when I reach Salzburg. Wish me luck!

Feb 29 12:57 On board Wagon 16 OBB Train 642 for Salzburg

Catastrophe! Just as I was happily enjoying the quiet company of the mother and son who were sharing the train cabin with me, a fat lady walked in at the first train station. I saw the mum frowned but I didn’t realize why… until…. I choked…. BO!! The fat lady carried with her an odour that is, ahem, not exactly pleasant. Would it be suffering for the next 3 hours to Salzburg? The train cabin was enclosed, which made it more unbearable. What should I do? Pretend to fall asleep? Or fix my mind on my book?

Half an hour later, fat lady rose and said goodbye. Phew! Within 5 seconds, the mother spoke to me in English and asked if it was ok with me to leave the cabin door open for air. Of course. Then she took out a bottle of body spray and promised me that it has the most wonderful smell and then she started spraying randomly inside our cabin. Haha…. I told her I thought fat lady was following us all the way to Salzburg and she laughed.

Feb 29 Dusk (I lost track of time)

I was wandering along the streets of old town Salzburg. It was late enough for museums and most shops to be closed. I remembered I read in the guidebook about the historic street in Salzburg old town “Getreidegasse”, where shops have wrought-iron signboard in front of them. That includes McDonalds.

I have booked myself on the “Sound of Music” tour tomorrow. This might be the only chance to do the tour for me this time as I was told by my kind hotel receptionist that the weather forecast is windy tomorrow afternoon and on Sunday. People are advised to stay indoor. Darn! But no worries, it will be museum appreciation day tomorrow afternoon then.

* * First mishap. I broke my filter.

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