9th Jan 2010 - Austria
Was this to be my last day in Vienna?
Had a bit of a sleep in today as didnt have to check out until midday. Eventually got up and packed. It had stopped snowing overnight but unfortunately drizzled all day which is worse as you actually get wet. Left the hotel with my bags about 1100 and made my way to the CAT (City Airport train) station where you can check your bags in earlier in the day and they get taken out to the airport - also get your boarding pass at the same time. To use this service you have to have booked the CAT train which is 18 euros return (bus is 12 euros return).
Walked from here via the central city via sSarbucks - sat here and read my book for a while and then decided I better do something and went to the Albertine Museum - a large museum full of paintings - only reason I really went was because they advertised having some Monet paintings - saw them and then wasnt particularly interested . When I got there i noticed my backpack zip was open so quickly checked for my wallet which was there so decided it must have somehow come undone.
Wandered around a bit longer but not pleasant as the rain continued so decided to make my way out to the airport an hour earlier than I needed so I could have something to eat before I got on my flight back to Heathrow - I hadnt heard it had been cacelled because of the weather. Anyway on the train on the way out I decided to check which terminal i needed to be at and couldnt find the large wallet where I keep my airtickets, passport, a credit card, tube card and house keys - it was not there and i knew instantly it had been stolen when my bag had been unzipped several hours earlier.
I would have to say the thieves were good. I had my umbrella up and no one came close to me - as I am careful when people brush into me. They would have been disappointed with their find - i wish they had got the wallet. the funny thing was that the passport wallet was tucked into the very back of the backpack and I am sure I should have felt soemthing but I didnt.
I was kinda in shock and thought I handled it pretty well. reported it to the Airport Police as i knew the first thing you need is a Police report. The Policeman asked me to stop using slang - wasnt using any and figured it was my accent. A long labourious process for both of us. Then up to Austrian Airlines to explain the situation. They were actually prepared to let me fly as they had seen my passport on check in but said it would be up to British immigration as they may not accept me back into England. The man got on the phone and it was not good news - Britain wouldnt let me in. I did have my NZ drivers license and HSBC bank card but it was not enough. Then back to austrian Airlines to see if I could get a refund on my ticket - no to the answer. The line was long due to all flights to Gatwick being cancelled due to weather over the past few days so they could sell my ticket at 10 times the price. I had to go back downstairs to wait for them to off load my main bag off the air craft.
After a long wait by the conveyor belt I had been told to wait at I went and lined up again - they sent another request to have my bag off loaded. Evidently the plane was delayed because of the weather anyway. I managed to get free wireless internet (good thing I carried my laptop around with me all day) and got a number for the NZ Consulate in Vienna - this was closed until March. I then rang the emergency number for the NZ Embassy in Berlin which is the closest and spoke to a very nice lady who explained I could do nothing until Monday - I was to ring her colleague at the Embassy in Berlin on Monday who would arrange with the British Embassy in Vienna to issue me with emergency travel documents. She said I should book a flight for Monday night.
I then continued to wait for my bag which still did not arrive so went over to the tourist desk and booked a hotel for 2 nights - actually quite cheap - 37 euros per night including breakfast. By now it was about 2130 and I was getting irritated with the waiting around so went and lined up again and they put another request in. It finally turned up soaking wet about 2210. Left the airport and just in time for the bus back into central Vienna - decided to be frugal at this point as have never made a claim on travel insurance and have no idea what they will reimburse. It was still steadily raining and I was told the hotel was about 20 mins walk away on a main street. No taxis around so had no choice but to walk. Took more like 25 mins and I was soaking wet by the time I got to the hotel.
Nice place - the Resonanz - lovely squishy bed and i knew I would sleep well.
Felt a bit mystified by my attitude to it all really as wasnt particularly worried. I was more worried re Scott's reaction to losing his house keys (only allowed 2 sets per apartment) than I was about the passport. This was until I realised that it may affect my holiday to Venice in 4 weeks if my replacement wasnt back yet. I guess I knew I was safe and well and God was looking after me and its only really a bit of paper which will cause inconvenience rather than anything else.
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