Just a short post, so I can get back to drinking wine and reading philosophy at Cafe Central.
This morning I rose before 5am to take the first subway and then an early RER to Roissy airport, and arrived in plenty of time to catch my flight. Unfortunately, I’m travelling with 2 bags (one bag and one guitar), and Austrian Air wanted to charge me 20 Euro per KG for my second bag, working out to 120 euro. I argued with them, and got it down to 50 euro. Which is still ridiculous, I think, but I suppose it’s my own fault for not reading the fine print of all the airlines before I left. I realize this is the bougiest complaint ever – but Star Alliance really should have consistent baggage policies across carriers if they want to pretend they operate as a group.
I arrived in Vienna about noon, and took the “Cat” train to the city centre. Well, in reality it’s the outskirts of the city centre, but it was a nice (and confusing) walk into the centre of town. I mailed my Sinn Fein books home, so as not to have to bring them through Israeli security, found Cafe Central, and I’m concentrating on chilling out, doing a lot of writing, and thinking about the trip so far and what is yet to come in Palestine.
A few words about Vienna – it’s not too big, everyone is eating an ice cream, and everyone looks very German except the American tourists. Like most German cities (exception: Berlin), it doesn’t really excite me. But at least, unlike Salzburg, it isn’t packed full of stores selling nothing but Mozart choclates. (I did find one store, however, selling all-mozart related things. I found Mozart’s house, actually, by accident. He did write some fantastic music (some of which I heard this morning, because they play local classic music before takeoff and after landing on the Austrian airliners).
One thing – the place is full of bookshops. And not bookshops for tourists; German language bookshops, and with a lot of philosophy prominently presented. It’s a socially recognized value, I suppose. However, I have not seen anyone reading a book and eating ice cream at the same time. Yet.
If you come here, you really should come to Cafe Central. I can recommend the red wine – and it’s cheap (2.20/glass).
In a few hours I’ll be taking the train back to the airport, and taking a flight to Tel Aviv. It’s odd, in one sense I’m excited to go because I will be met at the airport by people I know and like, and soon be headed to what will be my home for the next six weeks. It will be wonderful to have a home again; crating all my things around is not my idea of a vacation. But on the other hand, there are various reasons why I’m quite “unhappy” to be going to Israel. Living within strolling distance of the separation wall isn’t my idea of a vacation, but that shouldn’t be surprising – I’ve never thought of this as a vacation. Anyway, I’ll write more about my apprehensions after I’ve cleared Israeli customs.