Thursday, May 31, 2012

Day 334 Mumbai - Vienna

This was the longest day of my trip. Literally the longest day due to flying westwards through some time zones. And as nearly no sleep was involved it felt even longer.

2:00 AM Mumbai time: I was finally allowed into the airport. The check-in staff of Turkish Airlines was extremely helpful with my bicycle. I just had to turn the handlebar, deflate the tires and remove the saddle. No packing required. I prefer it this way - I reckon if the baggage handlers see that it is a bicycle they will handle it with appropriate care. The check-in lady even gave me an emergency exit seat - huuuuge leg space.

3:37 AM Mumbai time: Waiting, I am very very tired.

5:35 AM Mumbai time: boarding starts, the leg space is even larger than expected, perfect!

6:00 AM Mumbai time: We start as the sun rises. Very modern airplane, huge multimedia entertainment selection, but I am too tired for that. Only the stewardesses could smile more often - they look as tired as me. Hope the pilot is not!

11:00 AM Istanbul time: I arrived in Europe! I have no idea how long the flight was, I am time zone confused and I dosed off a dew times. Still very tired.

11:50 AM Istanbul time: I nearly missed the boarding for the flight to Vienna - even though I was lying down about 25m from the gate.

11:55 AM Istanbul time: Got my next emergency exit seat.

11:57 AM Istanbul time: The other five emergency exit seats go to a flock of Australian Hells Angels. That will surely be a funny flight.

12:15 PM Istanbul time: We are airborne. The Hells Angel on my left starts a conversation. The one to my right tries to do the same, but fails: there is no way I can understand his Australian redneck accent.

1:30 PM Istanbul time: Until now I got along well with my new friends. Then my vegetarian meal arrives. The hells angels seem to disapprove of the concept of vegetarianism. It starts getting funny, the redneck-accent guy makes jokes, of which I understand less than half.

2:00 PM Istanbul time: The redneck accent guy asks me if there are many biker gangs in Germany. Upon my honest answer (I have no freaking idea whatsoever) he inquires if I am a Bandito. I can convince him, that yes, I am very much into bike tours but no, not in the way he and his guys are used to.

2:00 PM Vienna time: Touchdown. As I look out of the window: rain. Not normal rain, more like a rainstorm.

2:25 PM Vienna time: All my luggage arrived and my bicycle survived! Bicycle travelling with Turkish Airlines is highly recommended!

2:45 PM Vienna time: I found a nearby gas station to inflate my tires. I start cycling towards Vienna. Through the rainstorm. I had expected a bit cooler weather here, but certainly not that!

3:17 PM Vienna time: I cycled through a village and saw not a single person. Culture shock! Where are all the people? Eventually I flee from the rainstorm into a pastry shop. Poppy seed cake and coffee! Perfect first meal in Europe.

3:50 PM Vienna time: The rain has stopped and even the sun comes out. I get on my bike again.

5:30 PM Vienna time: I cycled on a bike path all the way to the city center and found a hostel. Everything clean as a whistle. It all seems a bit artificial, surreal to me.

7:00 PM Vienna time: I found a mobile store and got a SIM card within minutes. Quite different to my Indian mobile adventures. New number: +43 66 48 70 62 41.

7:10 PM Vienna time: I stumble upon a vegan restaurant and order 'Veganes Backhuhn'.

7:35 PM Vienna time: All the order and cleanliness has its price. As I try to buy some more food they kick me out of the store: Ladenschluss! This is a concept I have to get used to again.

10:00 PM Vienna time: I managed to do my laundry in the hotel. Now I am tired to death. Good night.

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