Monday, November 22, 2010

Arrived well in St.Poelten

A long day. Why does it seem to be so difficult to travel from Northern England to Eastern Austria? There is not a single direct connection to Vienna from any of the Northern England airports. One would assume that at least Manchester has one, but no... the only connections are from the London airports, Standsted and Luton. But this would have meant a 4 hours hazzle train ride from Leeds. So the only reasonable alternative is to use KLM from Leeds-Bradford airport. Not ideal; the very lowest-cost flights would have left me stranded at the Vienna airport at night, because no further trains leave to St.Poelten. So I had to choose a "reasonable" flight during the daytime, with a 4 hour transit time in Schiphol airport (Amsterdam).

Everything went well in the morning, I decided not to take a taxi and instead drive to the airport, the parking for a week costs as much as the two taxi rides. Takeoff from LBA on time, then walking through the AMS airport. This is in my opinion the best airport in the world: besides having a museum with paintings of Dutch masterpieces there, they now also have a library! The four hours go by fast, as I stroll around, exploring some electronic gadgets (Sony has a digicam with 360 view video capture! And there are quite a few micro pocket projectors available - would be good when giving talks or demonstrations where a projector is not available). Can also do a bit of work. Then I proceed to the gate B15. Flight to Vienna, departure 17:40. I sit there and read a magazine, waiting for the boarding call together with other passengers. The plane at the gate is from Austrian Airlines. I did not know that this KLM-flight would be a code-share flight - there was no mention on my ticket and boarding pass! Well, maybe they have some nice Austrian food during the flight. As the call for boarding comes, they mention the Star-Alliance. That cannot be right - since when is KLM a member of the Star-Alliance? I go to the desk and ask if this is the right flight - no, it is not. The KLM flight to Vienna, at 17:40, is at another gate. How could I be so stupid not looking at the flight number? That never has ever happened to me before! Now I have an opportunity to test my sprint capabilities, as I run to gate B36, fortunately on the same letter track. They are about to close the gate, but I can still go in. Lucky, I made it. Everybody is seated, and they just make the announcement that they are waiting for a few late passengers and are about to unload their luggage...
How can there be two flights at exactly the same time, to exactly the same destination? Well, next time I will be more careful and will check exactly the flight number, to rule out any confusion with code-sharing.

The flight goes well, and we arrive actually on time in Vienna. Now by bus to West-Bahnhof. Takes 45 minutes, through some narrow streets in the "12.Bezirk" of Vienna. The Westbahnhof is a huge construction site - the main hall is basically stripped of everything, not sure if they will actually turn it down. I know that they are rebuilding the Suedbahnhof into a new main station for Vienna (Hauptbahnhof). From the schedule there are only 5 minutes to buy the train ticket now and to get onto the train, but the bus has arrived a few minutes early. So I catch the proper train to St.Poelten, and arrive there at 22:00 local time. 20 min walk from the station through the empty and silent, but well illuminated town centre; my two rolling suitcases make a lot of noise on the rough pavement.

Then finally at the hotel. The travel day is over.


Johannes CHRISTIAN said...

Hi Reinhold!Also do not forget to blog on your adventures here in Austria and to give us your view of St.Pölten a bit.Good luck and hoepfully we meet soon again.

Reinhold Behringer said...

Hi Johannes,
yes, I will write a few more blog entries about my visit.