It was a fairly long day (and typing on a German keyboard isn't easy) but I finally reached Vienna and Schengen land today. Got up around 7 in the morning and had to repack a lot of stuff as European airlines only allow one carry-on and one check-in bag. This meant my main backpack was stretched to the limit and and I was scared it might be overweight as I'd stuffed everything inside it. Left G's flat around 8 and after changing 2 trains reached Tottenham Hale for the Stansted express. My flight was around 11:15 and I reached the airport at 9:30 and felt I had enough time to get breakfast and buy a book. The check-in took ages though. My backpack weighed in at 19.7 kgs (My entire life's belongings plus a laptop) and though it was just under the 20 kg limit I had to go to the oversized baggage counter. Took a while to clear that and finally had to sprint through security to board my flight. I was flying Ryanair so there's no assigned seating so I got one of the worst seats on the plane. Slept througth the entire flight.
I flew into Graz (about 150 km outside Vienna) and C was supposed to pick me up but turned out that she couldn't as she had a recital so I had to take a train to the main Graz station and then another train to Vienna. This was my 5th train for the day but worth all the effort. It was one of the prettiest train rides I've ever taken and sipping a nice chilled beer, listening to my ipod and watching the Austrian countryside unfold in front was a great experience.
H was at the Hauptbanhopf to receive me and asked me immediately if I wanted to do something illegal. Couldn't figure out what he meant since the last time he and I had met we'd had a few crazy experiences in Toronto. Turned out the Vienna subway has no security and he doesn't pay for tickets - he gets caught twice a year which is still cheaper than buying passes. Reminded me of DTC buses in Delhi. Decided to stay legal (not for long though) and reached his flat around 7. It's right in the heart of Vienna and I can't wait to head out tomorrow and explore the city.
His brother M came by soon and we polished off quite a bit of wine and then headed out to one of their favourite bars - a cross between a lounge, bar and a cafe with a DJ. But a very comfortable place and they seemed to know a lot of people there. Hung out there till well past midnight and followed H in not paying for tickets on the Vienna metro. Let's see how long this will last.