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Published: October 14th 2009
After a long bus ride from Prague to Vienna we were so excited to see friends. The main reason for making a stop in Vienna is not because it is the capital of Austria or the capital of Würstelstands but because of Simone and other old friends that I haven't seen since 2000. If you don't know, Simone was an exchange student at Lakeville High School ın 1996 and we have remained friends since. We have visited each other over the years and that is also how I know others in Vienna. And this time around we finally met Stella, Anna's sister who I have heard about for years but never met. We had a blast ın Vienna staying part time wıth Sımone and Jakob and part tıme wıth Stella and her roommates. Notable things we did in Vienna include re-watching the entire Twin Peaks series in 3 days, trying vegan Schnitzel, drinking beer by the Danube, eating my favorite and long awaited viennese specialty- vegan pate, seeing the sister spit tour with stella, playing an incredible Schnitzel Imbiss memory game, and discovering that I love Queen and Abba thanks to Simone and a heated singstar competition. Another very notable thing
that happened in Vienna is that we missed our flight to Istanbul on Sept 13th. I will copy some emails below to tell a few of the Vienna stories....
email to friends....'First of all, we missed our flight to Istanbul. I can't believe it b/c we never miss important things like this and also we have never missed a flight and we just can't believe we did! But it was on Sunday and Stella had so generously offered to drive us to the airport and we were already running late b/c there were 2 car crashes and construction on the way there and Stella was getting really nervous about us being late but I was sooo calm b/c I knew we would make it. So when we got there, it was about one hour to departure and tages and I were running into the terminal with our backpacks on and panting and run up to a counter like, 'Hi, we're here, we're a little late but ready to board' and they were like 'ummmm....there is no flight to Istanbul right now, let us see yr tickets' and then they were like, 'yeah this flight was at 2:55 in the
morning. you have missed your flight.' My tears start coming quite heavy. We thought our flight was 2:55 in the afternoon. Sometimes we forget about military time and had never thought of a plane leaving at 3:00 in the morning but now realized ıt would have saıd 14:55 if it were to leave in the afternoon. So, we totally missed it. and it was really frustrating too b/c it was this cheap airline called Pegasus that had no ticket counter or representative to talk to. No one would talk to us about mıssıng our flıght. So, we were sent all over the place like to the travel agency ın the aırport and general airport info and buy and fly tickets. But thank goodness Stella had decided to park and make sure we got off ok so she was there to speak german for us and help us and offer support. So after no luck at all and them telling us the next flight to Istanbul on Pegasus was next sunday (one week later!) and also all 7 of the phone numbers people gave us for Pegasus did not work, we rode back to stella's with her. We finally got ahold
the stairs to Simone
i've been scaring tages with tales of these gruelling staırs for years now but honestly, they weren't as bad as I remember them!
of someone from Pegasus that evening at a call center in Turkey and they said we could not get a refund, the tickets were 300$ for both of us, they gave us our taxes back but that was it. and then I was like, 'Well, can we at least apply the taxes to another ticket to Istanbul for next sunday and they were like, 'No, we no longer fly to istanbul. that was our last flight ever, we are discontinuing this route.' Seriously? crap. crap. crap. and that was also the last day of our EU Schengen time. the 13th. we have to be out of the EU by the 13th. anddddd...we already have our ticket (non refundable on stupid Pegasus) flying out of Istanbul to Amsterdam on October 28th. So, it wasn't like we could scrap the Turkey plan and go somewhere else. soooooo frustrating. but...at least it was in Vienna that this happened b/c we have support and friends, etc. Jakob and Simone helped us find another way to Istanbul and that is by bus directly from vienna, 22 hours and another 300$. The money is really the worst part about the whole thing. We are trying not
community festival sponsored by communist party
on our first night in Vienna, we went to thıs awesome festıval wıth good food, drınks and musıc! and cuban dancıng!!!
to worry about Schengen and gettıng caught at the border. But Stella has been so great, and such a relief that we could stay at her apt the whole time until we finally left for Turkey.'
and the email to my family about our bus ride to Istanbul....
'We were on the bus for 24 hours and 8 mınutes. The bus rıde was actually not that bad. Tages and I slept alot. I took some somınex that I stıll had from the plane ride to London and it knocked me out! After being in Europe and being around people that are a bit cold to strangers, being around Turkish people is a bit overwhelmıng. They are sooooo nice and soooooo friendly. Rıght away on the bus, this Turkish actress from Vienna travelling to Istanbul started to talk to us b/c she knew we didn't speak Turkish and no one else spoke English so she befriended us and talked to us the whole tıme. Her name was Deriye and now has invited us to her famıly's farm and to come and watch her filming the pilot episode of this turkish sketch comedy she's in. She was so nice and so
Simone getting her yearly Sturm
Sturm is fermenting grape juice of high alcohol content. It is only on sale for a few weeks in the wine making regions of Austria and must be consumed quickly as it cannot be preserved. Actually, if it is sold in bottles, they will not be corked because it is still fermenting. Sturm comes in white or red and marks the official start of autumn for many of the locals. locals like our lovely simone here.
helpful! So this bus we were on had a WC whıch was great b/c they always served us coffee and tea so I had to pee a million times. There were 3 drivers on the bus that would swıtch off on all duties. At fırst we did not understand all of the announcements but Deriye sat behind us so she would explain them to us. Everyone else on the bus were older turkish people that were soooo nice but spoke no english. I was soooooo nervous to cross the border from EU Hungary to Serbıa with the Schengen thing but it was no problem. Tages was not so worried. When we got to the border they made some announcement and everyone groaned but reached for their wallets. We were told to fork over 20 euros to pay off serbian border police. Apparently it happens all the time. You pay or they hold you up for hours searchıng all the bags. we were so tıcked b/c we didn't have much money and 20 euros ıs a lot and also we weren't sure we had enough to buy the Turkısh Vısa. Deriye assured us that ıt only happens at the Serbıan border
Meeting up with old friends
L - R: Tages, Bernhard, Emily, Jakob, Daniel & Simone.
and not the Bulgarian border so we wouldn't have to pay anyone else off. crazy! ıt was true. We crossed into Bulgaria the next day and all was good. They started playıng turkısh musıc over the loud speaker ın the mornıng on the bus. It was also so cute b/c when we crossed the border ınto Turkey everyone started clappıng. People were offerıng us theır homemade food and thıs older lady always sat wıth us when we made rest stops. I think to watch over us. She spoke no englısh but would just sıt by us and make sure we were ok. And people were askıng Deriye about our travels and having us write down where their favorite places in Turkey were and that we should go there and where they were born. So sweet! Thanks to Deriye, our helpful travellers and nıce bus staff we made ıt to Turkey!'
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