Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Twenty some hours later

The Canadian has landed. Actually, three times. First in Montreal, then in Frankfurt, finally in Salzburg. Being someone who loves travel and thankfully still likes flying, it was a good adventure overall. There are always lessons to be learned - such as, if someone's checking your passport and boarding pass, there's a good chance you're walking into an area that you're not going to be let out of - at least not easily. That's what happened to me in Montreal not realizing that their International departures area was like this. What it meant was that the GOOD restaurants were on the side I just came from. The BAD ones were the only ones I could access. Thankfully I was rewarded soon after with a very empty flight and four seats to myself!

So now here I am, sitting in my hotel room, working on what I still intend to be a daily blog (if the frustrations of wifi don't eventually bring me down), snacking away. I could be out wandering the quiet streets of Salzburg - it is a beautiful town, and don't get me wrong, but I already did that in a half-dazed state earlier today while waiting for my hotel room to be prepared. Keeping me company are a Stiegl 500 ml beer, a bag of paprika chips, and a bar of one of my favourite chocolates in the world, Ritter Sport Mousse au Chocolat. This was all acquired at the Shell station 100 meters from my hotel. Now this isn't the fanciest dinner in the fanciest of places, but after 3 long flights and sleeping and eating with everyone else around, it's nice to have a little bit of quiet and privacy (and no seat belt signs). Plus I'm not worried about what the attendant is going to think when I take my time nursing this beer. And I have to say, what a huge disappointment Air Canada has turned out to be for flying over seas. The planes and the seats were more than fine, but talk about poor (and grumpy) service, and about the worst airplane food I've ever had. Plus, on the Montreal-Frankfurt flight, they might have done us all the favour of letting us know before we boarded exactly how miniscule the dinner would be! Plus, breakfast was a plastic-wrapped day old (at least) muffin with a choice of beverage. I won't even ask what ever happened to the hot towels.

The first day in Europe is always the most challenging - with the multiple time changes, not sleeping, eating breakfast at your usual dinner time and eating your dinner at your usual breakfast time, things tend to get a little messed up. But I love it - it shakes things up, as it 're-sets' your days and takes away the normal routine.

So as my adventure begins, I'm again reminded of how different Europe is. I guess it's fair to say, especially looking at my choice of dinner tonight, sometimes you just make different decisions and live life a little bit differently here. My first trip to Europe, back with my buddy Jamie after finishing university, was a budget based trip, and I find I've never lose that sensibility when traveling here. Jamie and I shared some amazingly cheap wines on that trip that I'd never even cook with let alone drink today, but sometimes that's just the way it is - and it all works out fine. Except for that period of 24 hours in Greece where Jamie, after some cheap drinks completely lost his memory, lost his way back to our hotel, and supposedly had an hour long conversation with a Pelican (see previous blog entry for details).

I have two full days to explore Salzburg before my brother arrives Saturday morning. Two days to adjust to the time zone, two days to work on my German, two days to explore and see what I can discover on my own. And two days to figure out why my bluetooth keyboard keeps disconnecting from my Blackberry Playbook as I'm typing. Otherwise, my entries will be becoming VERY short, and a certain un-named keyboard (you know who you are...) is going to go for a short swim in the river!

Cheers for now!

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