Home again

Shhh....  Be quiet, it's not even 5:00 am yet.  But I'm home and ready to blog about the last few details of our trip.

We had a nice sleep in on Monday morning, meeting Wayne for breakfast later than usual.  It was nice not to have to set an alarm, especially knowing how early we'd have to get up the next morning.  We went for one last breakfast and then Wayne collected his bag and we walked down to the train station.  After putting Wayne on the train, we decided to head back down to the oldest part of Vienna for a bit of shopping.  Neither of us bought anything.

After that, we headed back to the room to relax/pack for a bit and then head out for one last meal of schnitzel and strudel.  The schnitzel was delicious but the strudel wasn't.  Sad.  Once we were back at the hotel, we got all packed up and headed to bed early.

Our 4:00 am alarm went off VERY early and we got the last of the packing done, checked out and were on our way to the airport by 4:30.  Everything was closed so we didn't get a chance to eat anything before our first flight, which didn't have service on it since it was only a short flight to Brussels.  The flight was smooth, though, I did have a gentleman beside me who got rather cranky when the flight attendant told him he had to put his tray up for landing.  Once in the Brussels airport, we had to cross from one end of the airport to another, going through customs & security without boarding passes as the flight hadn't opened up for the check-in lady in Brussels to print them.  We had seats but no passes - which seemed odd.  Our baggage tickets and printed itinerary were enough and we got to our gate about 10 minutes before boarding.  We got our boarding passes and then had to talk to security for a few minutes.  It looked like everyone picking up boarding passes was being questioned and ours was far less inquisitive than some of the others.  Then, we sat to wait for the 9:15 boarding call.  Which never came, they just started boarding!  So onto the plane we went and despite our boarding passes saying boarding would only go until 9:50, the plane kept boarding until our take-off time of 10:15.

This flight was also smooth, in the sense that there wasn't much turbulence but it sucked enough in other ways that I probably won't want to fly Jet Airways again unless I have to.  All of our flights were booked on Brussels airways but both coming and going, the Toronto to Brussels leg was operated by Jet Airways, an Indian airline.  They served drinks & a snack very quickly.  I have no idea what the snack was supposed to be but it was spicy enough I thought I would be breathing fire.  Neither Kevin or I could eat it, which was sad because we were both starving (though, I had grabbed a Twix from the vending machine just before boarding.)  Our first meal came shortly after and it was, without a doubt, the worst meal I've ever had on an airplane.  It was supposed to be chicken with couscous.  The couscous was completely inedible and the chicken was rather sausage-like in shape & colour so I wasn't even trying that.  Even the salad was awful.  And the dessert.  I ended up eating my roll & water.  We didn't get offered anything else to drink and the coffee cart zoomed right by us, too.

Then the crying started.  There was a set of twins on the plane.  Either one or both were crying the ENTIRE flight.  Their parents were doing their best and they moved around the plane so that it wasn't just us that got tortured but it was still so frustrating.  Oh, and one of the babies was right behind me and whenever it stopped crying and was put in its car seat, it thumped the back of my chair (hard enough that Kevin's chair was moving, too.)

Closer to Toronto, we got another meal - quiche with a bit of pasta.  It was edible but certainly isn't considered good, even for airplane food.  It was followed up with ice cream, which salvaged the flight for me but aside from that, there was nothing good about the flight.

Once we landed, we got through customs quickly & easily.  Kevin's friend, Bry, was picking us up and he was already waiting for us on the other side of customs.  Our bags took a long time to appear - there was some kind of jam in the baggage room and they couldn't get them onto the belt quickly.  Ours didn't take too long to appear, once they started arriving.  We found Bry, headed to the car, and drove home.

Overall, it was an amazing, fantastic trip.  I loved Prague - even though we feel like we saw everything, I'd go back in a heartbeat.  Vienna was also lovely but definitely had that big-city, Toronto-like feel to it.  I'd go back to Austria, for sure, but I wouldn't spend much time in Vienna.  I think the highlight of the trip, for me, was Durnstein (the kingdom far, far away) and it would be the first thing I recommended to anyone who was planning a trip to the area.

Now, it's time for a cup of tea and back to regular life.  When's the next trip?

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