I know I’ve written about this trip in my previous blog in Multiply, but I wanted to include it here. And rewrite it too. So here goes.
April 2012 was the first time I ever set foot in Europe. Now that I think of it a year later, the whole trip still felt like a dream. I couldn’t say it was THE best time of my life, but it certainly ranks one of the top ten best moments.
I work in the travel and tourism industry, so I guess a chance to visit parts of the world would come eventually. I got to follow and observe a Japanese group touring Central Europe (which included Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic and Germany) for 10 days. It sounds like I was on a business trip (sure, I had to write a report after that) but it actually felt like I was vacationing with these additional people 😀
My departure was set to be around mid-April, and the whole process to get the Schengen visa started from mid March. It was really hectic and frustrating, and I remember breaking down and crying a couple of times (I’m a very weepy person) because of the stress. Anyway, due to help of very many people around me, I was able to receive my visa a day before my departure date on 17 April 2012 to Vienna.
I flew with Singapore Airlines on the 17th. The flight, of course, was non-direct, stopping via Singapore and Frankfurt. When I was about to leave for the airport with the shuttle bus, the most horrible rain started and I was worried that I would be late for my flight. Even the slightest rain turns Jakarta roads into a crazed up gridlock. Luckily, I was able to arrive at the airport with plenty of time for my flight.
The person at check in desk was very kind to offer me an earlier flight, so I would have a little bit of more time for transit at Singapore. At first, I was worried my mom, who accompanied me to the airport, would be left alone waiting for my brother to come and pick her up. But in the end I took the earlier flight, because I couldn’t risk being late for the connecting flight to Frankfurt. I felt really really bad, but there was nothing I could do.
15 hours later, I arrived at Frankfurt and it was so … overwhelming. I have been overseas flights alone before, but this felt different. I was kinda scared and worried something would go wrong. I quickly looked up my flight and saw that it was scheduled to be in Terminal A, Gate 1.
Imagine my horror when I found out that A1 was just a default for flights that weren’t assigned gates yet. When I asked the attendant at the A1 gate, why the flight there wasn’t mines, she told me that my flight was at Gate A30. It was so, so far. So I ran the whole way ( with the help of travelators, of course) and got to the right gate with time to spare. Phew!
So after about 17 hours of flight time, I arrived at Vienna on 18 April 2012 at 1 in the afternoon, local time. Since the group I was supposed to follow would be arriving at 4, I decided to just hang around at the airport instead of going to the city for a little alone (but I assume would be a very hurried) adventure. So I ate a late lunch at McDonald’s (I know it’s not very creative, but hey, you can’t blame someone looking for a little familiarity in a foreign country).
Anyway, it was 4 in the afternoon before I knew it and the group arrived. They were all elderly people, with a total of 26 people with 1 tour leader. I introduced myself to the tour leader, and then we all headed for the bus to take us to the hotel after buying some food at a bakery inside the airport. On the journey to the hotel, the tour leader introduced me to the group; where I worked, the reason why I was following accompanying them, and for how long I would be staying with them. I think they were really tired after the long flight, so they just nodded in silence.
After we arrived at the hotel (am Samsegang in the suburbs of Vienna) and checked-in, everyone all hurried up to their rooms to get a rest. I got a room with a balcony in it. Since I was also very tired that day, I too decided to rest, but first run a bath and then lie down while watching TV. But since the blanket was so, so warm so I eventually fell asleep around 6 PM ^^;;
Next up will be 19 April 2012, Budapest.