Dec 252013

Given my experience getting to my hotel on the way into Moscow, I decided to leave for the airport a solid 4.5 hours before my flight just in case it took four hours again. No such experience this time, and in right around an hour I was at Domodedovo Airport for my flight to Vienna.  Check-in went pretty quickly, and then it was off to passport control and security, which also was really quick.  Soon I was in the lounge with over three hours before the flight – ugh.  Oh well, better early than late!

Good planespotting from the lounge:


A Saravia Yak-42 – not a plane you see every day!


Uzbekistan Airlines…making up for the photo I couldn’t get when I flew them back in May.


Transaero and AZAL Azerbaijan Airlines:


Zhiguliy Beer and some tasty cabbage rolls, far from the best lounge food I’ve ever had, but also far from the worst.



Soon it was time to head downstairs to the gate and join the mad rush for boarding.

Austrian Airlines (operated by Tyrolean) flight 602
Moscow, Domodedovo, Russia (DME) to Vienna, Austria (VIE)
Depart 16:35, Arrive 16:35, Flight Time 3:00
Airbus A320-200 Registration OE-LBQ, Manufactured 1999, Seat 2A

Flight was completely full in economy, but ended up with a whole row to myself in Eurobusiness.  Can’t complain.  Taking off right at sunset provided some great views:


So, what’s to eat on this short flight…knowing Do&Co Catering, it was likely to be tasty.



But first, a bottle of Austrian sparkly to start things off right:


I broke my “no shrimps on a plane, ever” rule and decided to go with the prawns.  I wasn’t disappointed, and they were quite tasty!


Another great view of the sunset:


Landed right on schedule, and ended up with a bus gate in Vienna.  My bags had arrived by the time I got through immigration, so it was into a taxi and off to the Hotel Bristol.  Now, I had quite a bit packed so decided to take a taxi, but was shocked at just how expensive it was.  I probably would struggle with the bags on the train next time.  Even though it was a business expense, it just felt like highway robbery.

Check-in at the Hotel Bristol, and a couple thoughts.  First, it just felt old and stuffy.  Now, I knew that when I booked it and I didn’t expect my style of hotel, but everyone I encountered from the bellman to the front desk staff, to the other guests just had an air of stuffiness and snootiness to them.  I was unimpressed.  My request for a platinum upgrade was met with “it’s the Christmas season in Vienna, people pay for nicer rooms.  We have nothing.”  Uh, ok, don’t do me any favours….  that said, I got a decent room with a nice view of the Opera:


Looks like something my grandmother would decorate.


Turned out a coworker and former classmate was in Vienna at the same time, so quickly dropped my things off and headed out to meet him for dinner.  Based on a recommendation, we checked out 1516 Brewing Company, which was delicious.  I had some sausages and plenty of beer, and we caught up since it had been years since we’ve seen each other.  Then it was back to Grandma’s house…I mean the hotel…to sleep.  The room was extremely warm – around 25C, and wouldn’t go any cooler.  I ended up sleeping with the balcony door open (not the greatest idea, since it theoretically could have been possible to climb over from the next room’s balcony and there was a warning on the door about this) but it was all I could do to make the room a comfortable temperature for sleeping.

The view in the morning was even better:


Given my experience on this trip, I’ll definitely give the Hotel Bristol a miss next trip.  There are other Starwood properties in Vienna, and other than location (convenient to the S-Bahn and Starbucks) there was very little I liked about it.

Got up early the next morning, grabbed coffee, and then it was back in the cab and off to the airport for a new country – Montenegro!

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