13 October, 2006

@ Wien - Austria

@ Wien Flugafen
Just letting you people know that I know a couple of more words in German :)....

Martin taught me that Flugafen means Airport

Mark taught me:
Bahnhof means Railway station
OST means East
West means West ... not WOST :)...I didn't even know that Wost is a valid word in English till I looked it up in the dictionary :)...
Wien means Vienna
Danke means Thanks
Dank vielen means Thank you very much

Ich spreche nicht deutsch --> I don't know German :)... That is quite handy when you are there... :)...

I had learnt quite a few phrases and Sentences in French oops sorry français :)but All i managed to say while i was in switzerland was:
NO FRENCH... :)...
that was quite embarassing :)... so I didn't want to go through that humiliation again and I learnt "I don't know German" :)... but unfortunately :( I couldn't use it while I was there... :(

While I was walking towards the passport verification section, I saw a lot of magazines that read "Welcome to Vienna. A complete guide to Vienna City with street maps inside".
good! I can use it to get around the city...
so i pick up one and I flick through the pages to see where I can go first...

aiye!! What is this??
dtypew'as je0wi ayteaytewrmqt???

[You ****** ******** !!! can't you have this printed in English? Do you expect every single tourist visiting this country to read and understand German?

Why does this remind me of Chennai or some other place in Tamil Nadu where you would be expected to know Tamil and then step into the state? Any Tamilian reading this...no offence meant. But I know a few people who have quit their jobs only because of the language barrier. One person even told me that she had to sit through the technical meetings that would be held in Tamil. There was this funny incident that happened to my friend Srivatsa. He finished his cricket match (o BTW, he is on the Vijaya bank cricket team) in Chennai by 15:00Hrs and he had the return bus to Bangalore at 22:00 Hrs. So he decided to walk around the city. He saw the poster "Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge" in one of the cinema halls and being a fan of Kajol he happily bought the ticket and walked into the hall. The movie starts.... and what does he hear??? Kajol and Shah Rukh speaking in Tamil :). Ridiculous isn't it?]

I had picked up the magazine so I thought I might as well take it along with me.

Vienna airport or VIE - VIENNA AIRPORT is also known as Vienna International Airport. I read on the net that the airport has been rated as one of the most pathetic airports (may be in Europe????) People who have said such nasty things should fly to Bangalore International airport once in their life time. Only consolation was that the airport had very few seats in lounges compared to Bangalore airport. Considering the number of passengers changing their flights at this airport I guess we need to be sympathetic towards the airport personnel at least. Not many of them speak English. I was very unfortunate as my passport was verified by one such person who probably didn't even understand that I was speaking in English :). He looked at my passport looked at my face... and then verified my passport and said something... I said "pardon"... "sorry"... and craned my neck to look at what he was trying to do to my passport :).... and he finally said something in German and stamped CLEARANCE for entry :)... Yahoo...!!! another hurdle cleared.

Then I went off to reclaim my baggage. The baggage reclaim area is totally unorganized. There is no particular order like in Heathrow or at Stansted where you can reclaim. I checked for the conveyor number that would have my baggage and walked towards it... I waited ... and waited... and waited.... Zzzzz.... oo where am I...??? O yes @ Vienna Airport... is my baggage here yet? no?? not yet??? Ok...Zzzz.... is it here yet???? Looks like my baggage... the blue one... yes... definitely looks like mine... :)... is it? Nope... Not mine :(.... o well... it has just been 20 minutes since I have been waiting for it... so I guess I can take a short nap for another 10 minutes and then check... Zzzzzzzzz.... FINALLY... here it is... this is my baggage... is the baggage in one piece? Yes it is? Has the lock been tampered with? nope! then it should be fine...

Vienna... Here I come!!!!!

I looked for an information counter and I saw one. There was a lady at the counter. I greeted her and asked her for the directions to the hostel.
"Hiya. This is the address of my hostel. [I hand her my hostel map]
I am here in Vienna for only one day. Tomorrow I am off to Salzburg.
Can you please suggest me how to get round the city?
I also have a student card. Do you have any discounts for students?" [I show her my Symbiosis student card]

The girl smiled and said "Here is your one way ticket to Westbahnhof. You have to take the airport bus service that starts right in front of the airport. The ticket costs 6Euros. We do not have discount for students for hte airport service bus. But you will get a discount on the travel card that you can use on all the underground trains, buses, ferries and trams. It will cost you 5 Euros and the card is valid for 24 Hrs. This is the map of the the city and the visitor attraction sights."

I paid her the money thanked her for the tickets and asked her
"What do you suggest I should be doing? Should I go to the hostel drop off my luggage and then go round the city or should I first go round the city?"

She smiled and said "your hostel is just 3 minutes from the Westbahnhof station. So I suggest that you first go to the hostel and then go sightseeing"

I said "thanks a lot"

she smiled again and said "have a pleasant stay in Vienna and if you need any other help I will be glad to assist you"

I said "thanks. I have all the required information now. Thank you very much. I appreciate your help"
and walked towards the Currency exchange bureau.

I got my traveller's cheque encashed... PAID 3Euros as commission :( and walked towards the airport transfer bus. The airport is 25Kms from the city and it takes approximately 35 minutes to reach the westbahnhof station. He he he... I had read all the information on the internet.

I got on to the bus and exchanged my ticket voucher for the ticket and comfortably settled in the last seat with my camcorder round my neck and my book and pen to note down the details of all the interesting things that I saw on the way to the hostel.

Ok... what do I see... mmm a tree... another one... and some more of them... and Looooooooooooooooooooots of 'em... ok... I'm no botanist... else I could have written their botanical names... they look just like trees :)... nothing intresting or amusing to note down... ok... next we turn round the corner and we enter the city... and now what do I see??? Buildings and more building... naaa...not interesting... o well.... forget it. I put my book and my pen away and sat back doing nothing till I reached the Westbahnhof station.

@ Westbahnhof station

The airport service bus dropped us off in front of the westbahnhof station. I should have gone round the station and taken the road perpendicular to the main station. Instead, I entered the station as I thought I could look up the exit to in the station. London underground stations display the street names that you enter taking a particular exit. So off I went and was utterly confused. The railway station has not been planned very well. The international trains arrive on the same platforms as the national trains. The display boards are in German. Well.. the alphabets are almost roman :) except for a few like ß which is a double 'S' or ö which though is 'O' is pronounced with a nasal stress. Martin taught me how to pronounce this :).

Then I lost my way inside the station and took the stairs downwards, hoping to see an information centre around. Finally after descending about 60 - 70 steps I saw that I was entering the underground station. That was good news. Now all I had to do was find the exit to Robert Hamerlinggasse street. I proceeded with confidence to find the exit. Aiye!!! I saw an exit sign to 'Inner Hamerlinggasse'. Where the hell was Robert Hamerlinggasse street??? I slowly walked around trying to locate an information counter and could have almost shouted with joy when I saw one hidden behind a flight of stairs. I entered the information room and there were two men sitting at the desk.
[Should I talk to the one on the right or the one on the left. The one on the right doesn't look like he can speak English, let me talk to the one on the left.]

I walked up to the man and said
"Hello. I am looking for "Hostel Ruthensteiner". This is the address. Could you please help me find it?"

The man didn't even bother to look at the address he just said
"o Hostel Ruthensteiner. It is on Hamerlinggasse. You go straight down there and take the first exit to the left"

I said "Thank you very much. Did you say it was the first exit to the left?" He said "Yes"

I continued "Is it very far from here?" the man said "Just 2 -3 min walk from the station madam"

I was off again smiling. I finally took the right exit.
I noticed all the streets had their names ending with 'Straße' and I guessed that Straße meant Street.

More to follow ...

No comments: