Austria Welcomes Me

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The flight landed at the Vienna International Airport, and I headed towards the baggage collection belt. The trolley system is totally different here. We need to insert a 50 cent coin in order to unlock one of the trolleys and should again put it back in its place in order to get the coin back. Its a nice system but we couldn’t understand it at the beginning.

It was then that I saw a good looking young lady waving her hand to greet me. I did not know who she was but soon realized that she must be Sana, who has been in contact with me for the past 2 months through mail.

The climate was almost the same as in Kolkata, it was raining and we had to stay in a temporary apartment as Sana has forgotten collecting the keys of our flats. She rented her friend’s house in order to accommodate all the three of us there for 2 days. As soon as I entered the house, Karim welcomed me and served a glass of “something” to drink. I was a bit puzzled of whether to ask him what it was. Soon Omna confirmed that it was apple juice. Uff.. again a glass of apple juice!!

Karim left by handing over the apartment to us and Sana took us to a quick tour of Vienna the same night. By the way, it was not actually a night for us as the darkness of night descends only after 9 pm in the night here. It was very new to us. She took us to a “Kebap Corner”, as it is spelled in German. I seriously felt like vomiting when I saw some big rolls of flesh and beef hanging in those stalls. Such stalls exist in almost every street of Vienna. But what can be done? In order to buy a Veg Sandwich, we had to explain him 10-15 times not to put any meat in it. The sandwich tasted too bad, and I had to throw it.

The best thing about Vienna or Austria is the traffic discipline of the people. I was standing at the corner of a road waiting for the signal. In the meantime, a silver coloured Mercedes which was pacing at an 80 kmph came to a halt just in order to let me cross the road. It felt as if I was someone special and everyone else was waiting for my “convoy” to pass. Also the timings of the local transport are so accurate that you cannot say “abbey dheere chal, bus der se aayegi!” The biggest difference between India and Europe is the western toilets with “big rolls” of tissue papers hanging around. Although everything else is pretty much the same, the supermarkets, restaurants and McD’s. There is a McDonald’s in almost every district of Vienna and there are around 30 districts in the same city unlike in India. This is a small country with a small population. This is where I felt very proud of India. One more abnormal thing I saw here is that all the shops and supermarkets are closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

We were back to the flat by 8.30 pm but the skies were not conveying the proper time. We decided to watch TV but it was a disaster as all the channels were German, and one or two English ones were dubbed into German. There was a Travel & Living programme in “Pulse4” channel, in which a couple travelled to different hotels just inorder to examine the cleanliness of the toilets by putting the hands under the commode.. Yaak!! Switched off the TV and went to bed. The next morning when I rose up, I saw “the scene of the day!” It was a silhouette of a church with a background of the rising sun. What a fantastic scene it was!

Thus started my first morning in Vienna. I visited various places on the first day, including the Parliament, the Opera House, and a street market with a lot of “Mozart” chocolates stalls. After a long walk around the city, we returned to the flat but got stuck outside the apartment as the lock was a bit old and despite our attempt to open it for around 15 minutes, we couldn’t open it. We neither had a phone with us nor could we communicate with Sana. What should we do? I and Omna almost fell on the floor laughing while Pratik was still trying to open the lock. Then we went to a neighbouring flat to ask for a help. As soon as we rang the bell an old Austrian women came out who didn’t understand English properly. She saw us as if we were some terrorists trying to enter her house and shut off her door. After ringing the bells of 4 apartments we came across a strong lady, who understood our problem and helped us out. Or else we would have slept outside the whole night.

The next day we moved into our individual dorms and from then started the daily official routine. I loved the office space very much as it reminded me of the days of my second year intern at IBEE Solutions in Banjara Hills, Hyderabad. I used to stay with my grandparents and every morning Vivek used to wake me up saying “mama, lets go to the gym ra!” I am also missing my friend Mani as I have not talked to him for the last one week. I guess he is on his tour of South India.

Coming back to Vienna, the office is lovable and the canteen is excellent with hundreds of varieties of chocolates and biscuits. The work assigned to us is so interesting, that Omna got completely immersed in the Ticket booking app that we had to study and by mistake booked a ticket from Basel to Zurich worth 70 francs, that too with Pratik’s card. Lets see how many more surprises the whole trip has planned for me!!

The Eurotrip

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Although I and my friend Yaswanth worked on a project called “Web Analytics for Bloggers” :P, I never tried blogging personally. But my Eurotrip has inspired me to start blogging in order to archive all the activities I do during my stay here. I would like to thank Satyadeep for the idea!

This is the first time I am travelling out of the Indian sub continent. I remember the words my dad said to me before I boarded my flight at Kolkata towards New Delhi. He just told me a sentence, which meant a lot to me “If you think you are doing something wrong, don’t do it!”

Then I have decided that whatever may be the circumstances, I will not cross my limits. For a period of 2 months I will be travelling with a different circle of friends with different tastes and ideas. The two main points I had in my mind for the whole journey are I should not have non-vegetarian food and I should not drink; although there are some other things too to add to this list, which many of you can easily guess. May be this was what my father meant too.

The whole journey has been very exciting and full of tensions. I had to board the flight at Kolkata on 8.30 pm and I started from home at around 6 pm. It was a Friday and the city roads were filled with traffic. We started in a cab and after sometime, realized that the cab driver was taking us in a different route. After 20 minutes of journey he told us “aami rashta ta kam cheeni!”  This in bengali means he doesn’t know the route properly. Oh my God!! it was already 6.30 pm. I was not even out of Kolkata but the surprises of the Eurotrip have already started. I dont know how many such events will happen in the whole trip but I am pretty sure that I would enjoy all of them to the maxx. I reached the Airport at around 7.45 pm but luckily the flight was taking off from the international terminal, hence it was not so busy and I could board the flight in time. Thus started my journey from home.

I reached New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport at 11 pm and had to stay there till 10.30 am the next day for my flight to Europe. My dad is very caring; he said “Pandu, dont think about money during your stay. Just eat properly and be safe and healthy.” I have booked a suite at the Airport’s Transit Hotel, which costed me Rs.3000 for my stay of 5 hours, that too just to have a nap of 3-4 hours. Anyways, the suite was awesome. I had a pack of “Pulihora” for dinner, which my mom prepared for me. Its my favourite dish and I ask her to prepare it everytime I travel. The next morning I met my friends Omna and Pratik at the airport and we checked in together for the flight to Helsinki, Finland.

I was out of India within 2 hrs. from then. The flight journey was a bit tiresome but I have managed it with a wide variety of entertainment options they provided in the Finnair AY022. I watched a movie called “My Super Ex-girlfriend” which was absolute crap except for its comedy. I reached Helsinki and had to change the flight for Vienna, Austria after 2 hrs. I faced my first hurdle on this flight, when the hostess said she didnot have a Vegetarian option for me. I had nothing to do except having a glass of Apple juice. My second flight landed in Wien, the German name for Vienna at 6.30 pm local time. We were welcomed by Ms. Sana El Kebir, a student from the same University I was gonna visit.

By the way, I forgot to mention my purpose of Eurotrip. I came here for an Internship at RISE – TUWien, at the Industrial Software Research Group and would be working on Android Design and Development for the next 2 months. Wish me all the best for my work and stay and all the fun I would be having here..!! Also for my blogging 😉