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Saturday, October 08, 2005

Vienna - Day 1

Finding a taxi was easy - no issues about taking me the short distance to the B&B. He just smiled. I think I’ve seen that smile before in Brussels. We arrived in no time and he even dragged one bag to the footpath in front of the address. Then it came to paying. How much? He smiled that smile. €10 will do. I’m sure it will. He smiled again as he left.

Now in all the correspondence between the owner and myself, there had been an absence of any real instructions about what you did after you arrived at the address. Walking down the long portico I found another doorway where you need to be buzzed in. Hmm, but which buzzer do I press. Scanning the names I found the correct surname and buzzed. Introducing myself he then told me to come up to the 3rd floor. I saw stairs behind the locked glass door. Okay, 3 floors with these bags - you have got to be kidding! I looked around a little for an elevator then buzzed again “oh no, not in these old buildings, you have to take the stairs.” After a long pause he continued “do you need help with your bags?”

I suppose I wouldn’t have been annoyed had I known that this place was on the 3rd floor in a building without an elevator. Had I known these little details, I would not have stayed here. With all the information on their website (including the fact that's it's free of harming rays - you don't have to wear your tinfoil hat indoors folks!) you might think that it might just be mentioned...somewhere...anywhere at all.

As we began our trek upstairs I cursed myself at packing the smaller bag heavier (and not hiring a sherpa). By the second floor I was dying but I heard his cheerful voice telling me “just one more floor.” I’ll just one more floor you! Don’t you bother coming down to help, you just stay up there.

Having finally arrived I was shown to the room and offered the house manual. Reading it later proved quite amusing - you can’t half tell these were UN wankers workers. I shouldn’t drink bottled water because vienna’s water is fantastic and not buying those evil plastic bottles is better for the environment. Computer time is limited to 30 minutes - but there’s an outlet in my room so by days end I have a cable and am connected to the world. Take that 30 minute time limit! I had to sort out my rubbish into recyclables - try to limit my shower time so not to waste that precious water. Surprisingly there wasn’t a timer fitted to the shower. I can use the kitchen but only after 12 and there's space in the fridge but umm, I can't let anything go over the allocated space. Heavens known we don't want to have any border disputes.

I was also given the breakfast order sheet - where you are offered one portion of the items offered. It reminded me of the night trains breakfast menu. I opted for coffee, muesli, bread rolls and honey.

Once again it’s an incredibly warm room more suited to reptiles, with absolutely no privacy from the neighbouring windows. There are curtains but nothing else. It’s sunlight and no privacy or close the curtains and use the low energy fluoro (what else would they be).

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first time i've ever seen a bed made like this
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Being in a foul mood I decided to walk off my annoyance by doing my usual stroll of the area - to get my bearings. That just got me more annoyed. Yes, the germans may have pushed their way to the front of the line when God was giving out arrogance and rudeness, but the people they nudged out of the way were the austrians.

Walking down the crapfest of mariahilfer strasse, a supposedly classy shopping strip I was accosted by in your face beggars, screaming at me and then a smoking shrew who flicked her ashes at me as I walked down the road. Yes, welcome to Vienna, such a classy city.

I went down into one of the centres and found a supermarket. Interesting, they are so plastic conscious that unless you paid for a trolley before you enter the shop, there are no other means of carting your purchases around. I ended up buying one of their plastic bags to carry the goodies back.

In an act of defiance I’ve purchased a large bottle of water - I will have to hide my stash in case I arouse the ire of my hosts by going against the book.

I did find the one bright spot to my disappointing first day in Vienna - a little Japanese restaurant called Ikibana where I had a fantastic late lunch.

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6 avocado maki rolls, 6 salmon and 6 tuna maki rolls.

All made fresh to order and extraordinarily delish. It made the walk back down to the b&b and up those stairs almost tolerable.

On the way back i finally noticed what was on the ground floor of my building
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yes, the house of reptiles, I think I’m on to something.

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