Friday, June 11, 2004

Vienna, Austria--Day 132

Today we arrived in Vienna. A good friend of mine from Tucson (who is also named Sarah) is tagging along on to some of the zoos with me on this Eastern European leg. It was so exciting to be on the same flight and to finally have company. The flight out of Tucson was actually pretty delayed due to bad weather in Chicago, but we made the rest of our connections just fine since we had significant layovers in both Chicago and London. It was great being back in England even if it was just for a few hours.

Our flight from London was fine and both Sarah and I were feeling a little delirious due to lack of sleep. While I napped sprawled out on a bench, Sarah read her book, keeping watch on the time and what gate we were supposed to leave out of. The London Heathrow airport kept us on our toes though, we had to hop off and on several shuttle buses between terminals before finally getting to the right terminal that our flight left out of. Then we spent time walking around the terminal trying to find the best seats away from all of the smoking sections. Finally it was time for our flight to board and luckily this one was not delayed.

We made it into Vienna around 6 pm and found Kathryn (my good friend from Macalester) waiting at the arrival gate. I realized that I hadn't seen Kathryn in a long time (could it be over a year?) and so it was great to see her and to be able to spend time with her while on the pursuit of hippos.

Kathryn was happy to see us because the flight number that I told her turned out to be wrong (we were on a British Airways flight, not an American Airlines flight) so she was really worried that despite us telling her what time we were going to arrive, that we wouldn't show up. I also realized at that point that I didn't have Kathryn's phone number, so I wasn't sure what we would have done if Kathryn wasn't waiting for us!

We were also lucky to have Kathryn with us since she is fluent in German, and there was no way for us to navigate the Austrian train system without her help! We got our tickets, boarded a train, and were on our way into Vienna.

We made it to our stop and lugged our baggage to Kathryn's cute little apartment. After hearing about her place for so long, it was great to see the real deal. We dropped off our stuff and sat down to not only catch our breath, but to take in the fact that we had actually made it to Vienna! I couldn't believe that just 4 days ago I had been in Mexico, and now I was in Vienna on the other side of the world.

After relaxing for a bit, we went out to find some traditional Austrian dinner and found just that right near Kathryn's apartment. A few beers and schnitzel later, we were off on a walking tour of downtown Vienna at night, which is just a beautiful sight. Kathryn gave us the full on tour, and we were eager to get to see everything during the day.

Back at Kathryn's apartment, jet lag was finally settling in and I couldn't wait to get to sleep and to the zoo in the morning. Luckily sleep wasn't far away, and before I knew it, it was time to get up!