Train Trip Austria (04/2012)

I had written a big post telling all about this trip we made, but it got lost somehow =(
Here’s a summary of everything and everywhere (in the order in which we visited):

– Mozart’s houses, both where he was born and where he lived until moving to Vienna
– Schloss Mirabell: no, it’s not a palace made of cookies. It’s very pretty though.
– Untersberg: mountain on the border of Austria and Germany, from where we can see the alps. I dare to say it was the prettiest place of the whole trip. It’s pictures are at the end of the album.

– Swarovski Kristallwelten: art exhibition of Swarovski pieces (with some disturbing parts)
– Bergisel: ski jump platform designed by Zaha Hadid
– Cafe Munding: best smelling cafe in the whole world!

– Shattenburg: medieval castle with museum

– By the Bodensee
– Saint Martin’s gate and tower
– Walk of 10 kms in the rain to Lindau (Germany)
– Pfänder mountain (snow again!)
– Three country cruise

Ah mon dieu… encore une fois!

I had to come to Marseille for this winter school, and since there were no direct flights, I took one with a connection in Paris. I got to Charles de Gaulle and quickly looked for the gate I had to board, it would start in 15 minutes. Then the boarding started, I entered the plane and sat at the last seat, by the window. I did not choose the seat, since I was alone, and this was assigned to me at check in. Everything was going well and I was looking at the people loading the airplane with luggages. Then I saw my bag, standing there right next to the thread mill that takes the bags inside. Suddenly the guys stopped loading and sat down on the cart. My bag was still there… One guy got up and scanned the barcode on it, he sat again. Then another guy scanned it. Still left it there. Then one guy got up, got my bag, put it on a cart and started driving away. I was watching everything from that little window, and I just wanted to shout “hey!! that’s my bag! come back here!”. But he would not listen, so I called the flight attendant, pointed out and said: “Do you see that red bag they are taking away? It’s mine!!”. The lady certainly did not see that coming. She started making phone calls, asked for my bag ticket and passport, talked to the pilot. But nothing helped… I could see my bag going away, but they could not find it and the plane had to leave. She apologized a hundred times, of course. How crazy is that? I actually saw what was going on and there was nothing anybody could do!! So after we landed she said I should go to the lost and found in Marseille so they could put my bag on the next flight.

As soon as I landed I went to the lost and found. The guy said that the bag was still in Paris and it should arrive in Marseille on the flight on 11 at night, or tomorrow morning. Really?? I knew that my bag was not arriving with me before leaving Paris! And he could not even assure me that it would arrive in Marseille the same day? What kind of logistics is that? He said the bag should get to the lost and found on Charles de Gaulle before being dispatched. Stupid protocols… making our lives harder.

I really don’t understand how these airline companies are able to control the flights’ times, organize a million airplanes on ground and on the sky and still loose baggages in stupid ways like that… Now I am in Marseille, with no clothes other that what I am wearing. Let’s just hope my bag makes the 11 pm flight.

My long long trip to Brazil

We left our house in Vienna at 4:30 in the morning of December 21st to go to Brazil for Christmas. I knew that this was a long trip, but I had no idea what was expecting me. Our plane left Vienna under snow. It was so very pretty!! We could see snow falling from the plane window and the ground was all white! We could only see those little lights that they have at airports to guide the planes.

We left at 7:05 in the morning and arrived at Milan, Italy, at 8:30. I found it weird because I had to check in again in Milan, but my luggage  would go straight to Lisbon. Oh well, I never understood these logistics anyway, so there we went. Since our flight was only at 12:30, we had some time. So we walked around the airport, saw bookstores, played games on the phone, ate cookies… all those things we do to pass time. Then we went through the whole checking in procedure again and got to the gate. The plane that was supposed to leave at 12:30, left at around 13:20… almost an hour late. And then, the problem started…

We got in Lisbon at 14:40 and had another flight at 15:30, i.e., people were already boarding. But I still had to get the luggage and go to the check in counter to dispatch it again. Although my bag was the first one to come (what *never* happens), there was no time. I got to the check in counter and the lady said they could not put anymore luggage on the airplane. I said it was their own fault, that their flight from Milan was late and that they could not send my luggage directly to Brazil for some reason and all she could tell me is that I should go straight to the boarding gate. I asked what was I supposed to do with my bag and she said to leave it there. She really meant that I should leave it at the airport… yeah sure. She said I could try to send it by mail but I had no time!! We had to board immediately. There was no way out of it.

I went to TAP customer service at Lisbon’s airport (ah, yes, I was travelling with TAP) and they would arrange me some other flight. The next flight straight to Belo Horizonte was only on the next day, at the same time (15:30), but they had  a flight that went through São Paulo and then to Belo Horizonte at 23:10 at night. The downside of it would be that we had to get the luggage again at São Paulo to go to customs, and then dispatch it again to go to Belo Horizonte. We asked the lady if there was enough time for all that and she said that there was no problem (big mistake…). We chose this one because we really wanted to get home and we were naive and/or tired enough to believe her. So we got the tickets exchanged and already checked in and sent the luggage. Since we had some 8 hours to spend, we went to Lisbon’s center and walked around a little and had lunch. At 23:30 the plane left Lisbon, late once more.

After a really long night sleeping uncomfortably on an airplane chair, we got to São Paulo. It was 8:00 in the morning and our next flight was at 8:45… but I had to get the luggage and go through customs. When I left the plane there was a TAP employee asking for people going to Santiago and I asked him if the other airplane would wait for us and he said with the most natural voice in the world that we would miss the flight, again. By this time I was so angry that I wanted to punch him in the face. I ran to the room to get the bags but this time I was not so lucky… It was only by 8:30 that we had everything and once again we had to go to TAP’s customer service, this time at Guarulhos airport, to change our flight to Belo Horizonte. The next flight the cranky lady could find was at 13:54 from Congonhas airport. That meant we had to get on a bus for one hour and a half to get to the other airport. We asked if they would buy us lunch then since it was 9 in the morning and the other flight was only at 2 in the afternoon. The stupid lady gave us a voucher to eat at a restaurant in Guarulhos, but we had to catch the bus at most at 11 in the morning to get to Congonhas… we asked if she could not give us a voucher to eat at Congonhas and she simply said no. So, we ate something at 10 at the restaurant… really dizzy from all the bad sleep and jet lag. During lunch we saw the news and they were saying that Congonhas airport was chaotic because lots of employees were on strike and all… Some flights were delayed, some canceled. I wanted to cry…

In the end, we were lucky (it was about time!) and our flight left on time. We got at Belo Horizonte at 15:03 with the luggage and all, but no energy… Bottom line, you either do not take any luggage other than something you can carry in the cabin or you make sure you have at least 3 hours distance between flight if you need to get the luggage and dispatch it again. They don’t know what they are doing.