It's only 7:30pm - early for me to have started on the blog - and yet today has already been longer than most. We had really only had two days in Vienna, despite a glance at the calendar suggesting four. Our arrival was at 6pm on the Wednesday, and our flight to Zurich departed at 7am on Saturday morning, for reasons that I'm sure made sense when we booked it.
Sam was happy with what we'd seen, and I was too, but I couldn't help but feel there was so much more that I'd only brushed by. That sense of a young, student culture and a seemingly universal love of cool indie and electronica was present, but I didn't feel like I'd found that particular epicentre. Still, better to leave something to come back to.
So, a 4:30am start to catch the first 5am train to the city centre (full of revellers on their way home from a big night with pizza), to then catch the 5:38am airport express train for a 6:30 boarding for a 7am flight. Ouch. Sam left the hostel, only to realise he didn't have his train and metro pass. So I grabbed both our bags, awkward and heavy, and stumbled through the metro while he sprinted back to the room. Just as the train arrived - a train I needed to get on in order to meet the check-in deadline - he appeared at the steps and we leapt breathless onto the U-bahn.
The panic of a looming deadline was eased by Vienna's fantastic new airport and train connection. In the city train station you can check in, drop off your bags, get your boarding passes and then coast on a smooth, near-silent train direct to the airport and waltz straight through to the gate. Couldn't be simpler, and when the ongoing renovations to outer wings of the airport are complete it will be a world class facility, if it isn't already. It's as if you could check in at Victoria Square, and you can do it the night before.
Well, there was one way it could be simpler: my bag didn't arrive. Sam's, which was processed simultaneously with mine, made the journey. Mine seemingly fell off the train. After watching the last couple of bags spin around for a while, I reported it missing to lost and found, bemused. I wasn't particularly upset, trusting that it would turn up eventually, and checked with the attendant as to what they would compensate for in the meantime. A few forms later, and the promise that they would ship it one stop ahead to Basel, means hopefully we won't be playing bag chasey for three months. After a three hour train ride we disembarked in Montreux, the lakeside city that we'll be in for two nights to catch Bob Dylan at a jazz festival.
My dad and our family friend Scott will also be here in a small overlap of various trips that was originally going to include Florence for Radiohead too. We kept in touch with Scott's progress from Basel, where he will kindly put us up for a few days next week, intending to meet for lunch. As he disembarked, we got a frustrated text. He'd forgot to bring the tickets. Right back on the train for another two hours to pick them up, and yet another two to get back tonight. Dad, coming in from Geneva, is currently stuck in peak hour festival traffic on the drive, so we expect both to arrive in the next hour or so. Maybe.
It has been a long and eventful day, and yet a good one. Shopping, a chore I usually loathe, is always better when it's with someone else's money (two tees, shorts, socks, jocks, toiletries... thank you very much, Niki air). And when your day includes watching parasailers drift down from the Swiss alps above the glistening blue lake before you, as you eat chocolate and cappuccino ice cream, and bask in the warm mid-twenties of a beautiful day, it's hard get worked up about the odd hiccup. Now if only the bloody adults would get here so we can have some dinner.