Well what can I say!? Such a whirlwind couple of days! Though I can confirm that I successfully made my way, on three flights, just over 1000 miles, from little old North Wales, to the beautiful Austrian city of Graz!
My adventure began on Sunday evening when I made my way up to a hotel near Manchester Airport, where I was staying the night before flying out! It was such a relief doing this as it made sure there was no stressful rush to the airport in the morning! It was really worth paying for that night, because it really did give me a chance to get prepared for the next day and to have as much sleep as possible before the early start. Highly recommend doing this if you know you live a while away from the airport you are flying from, even if you are only going to be there for a matter of hours!
It has to be said that even the 4.30am alarm didn’t dampen my spirits for heading off to the airport! I think I was just so adrenaline fueled that I was ready for anything the day would throw my way!
The greatest surprise of the day however was meeting some classmates from university (also heading off on their year abroad) checking in for the same flight as me! I can safely say I have never been so glad to see a familiar face in my life! It was a lovely little reunion and admittedly made the first leg of the journey much easier to cope with as our nerves at the point of boarding were all going through the roof! As we arrived in Cologne, it was time for us to go our separate ways, which was the point in which I momentarily asked myself, ‘What on earth am I doing out here on my own!?’
My ‘lone-ranger’ journey then continued from Cologne, over to Vienna, which was a little stressful as I had to collect my bag, check back in and go through security again! Also this was made more stressful in that the Cologne-Vienna flight was a little delayed so I didn’t really have a great deal of time to do this transfer! Though once I was back through to the departure lounge I had chance to grab a bite to eat and drink before heading off on my final leg of the journey. Which, no word of a lie was probably the most, hmm how do I put it,.. ‘alternative’ flight I have ever been on. With past holidays and travelling to main destinations, the planes have been between a fairly standard to a larger size. So basically I don’t think I was very prepared for flying with Austrian Airways! We had to get a little bus out to where the plane was and then we had to walk up some little steps onto the plane (like the ones you see rich people walking down as they get off their private jets 😉 ,but this wasn’t a private jet unfortunately!) The plane was a fair bit smaller than I had ever been on before, and seemed to be a lot thinner as it only fit two small seats either side of the isle down the middle. The first thing to happen was an announcement from the captain, which I actually am not entirely sure what he said, or in what language or dialect, as I could not make it out through the muffled speaker! Then one of the air hostesses wheeled a squeaky newspaper trolley down for people to take for the flight as some traditional folk music was played over the speakers and then the ‘safety talk’, that you always get on a plane, was no more than ‘This is a seat belt and that is the exit.’ I was sat by the window which was under the wing and could see the propellers whizzing round and the wheels as they screeched upon landing in Graz. All in all it was a one of a kind flight experience, but one I should say that did indeed put a smile on my face!
One big advantage of studying and being a part of the university here in Graz, is that I have joined on the international student scheme which means that I have a mentor to help me me settle into the city and university life, and greatest thing ever was that I also got someone who picked me up from the airport and took me on a little tour before dropping me off at my new apartment! My new place is really great and my flatmate is really nice, and helping me out a lot with settling into life here in Graz.
All in all everything with the journey went really smoothly and worked out fine, even though I did get on three different plane and have to lug my case around a bit! Travelling on my own was something that naturally I was a little apprehensive about seen as I had never done it before, but it was actually fine and it gives you a real buzz of independence knowing that you are totally responsible for finding your way!
My evening was spent chatting, drinking tea, eating yummy Austrian chocolate and settling in, before heading to bed, which I was more than ready for, as I was totally drained!
More updates about my first day in Graz will be along very soon! 🙂
– erasmus explorer –