Sitting in my room at the Steigenberger Hotel, Linz Austria looking out at the Donau (Danube). It's evening of the last day of my first international business trip. I've traveled to Europe twice before and I've traveled on business many times but this was my first opportunity to go abroad at someone else's expense. Not like it's been a luxury journey or anything, but it has been mostly nice.
Weather in Linz has been mostly overcast but little rain and cool. In the four days we've been here the Danube has definitely been rising. CNN this morning had coverage of rains and flooding on the Danube in Germany, upstream of here. If there's flooding in Linz, which I doubt, the river seems to be well banked up with levees, I just hope it waits another full day. Our flight leaves at 6am.
Things I love about Austria:
- Beautiful women. There are just a lot of lovely young women here.
- Friendly people. Linz is a city of about 200,000 according to the people we're here to see. There is absolutely nothing exciting for tourists here so it's a real nice normal town. Everyone has been very nice and very tolerant of my inability to say much more than bitte and danke in German.
- Clean safe place. We were tired last night and ate at the hotel. After dinner, well after dark, we made our way down to the levee and walked for about a half mile. We passed a few people. The way was clean and the walk was very nice. Not something I'd do in any American city.
- Coffee, chocolate, and weissebier. What can I say. Coffee here, even at the office, is good, strong and all around excellent. I'm taking a half kilo home.
Things I dislike about Austria
- Toilet paper. My aging rear doesn't like the stuff they have here. It's about the consistency of a paper shop towel or maybe medium grade sand paper. Urg. I really almost put a roll of soft American t.p. in the suitcase but I was determined to do the four day trip with only carry-on luggage. Which was a good decision. My colleagues also tried but checked in later than me. By then the ticket counter was enforcing weight limits and made them check their bags. Those bags didn't make our tight connection thru Frankfurt and they got to spend about 30 hours in the same clothes.
- Jet lag. Not just Austria but I can't sleep in airplanes, not even 10 hour non stops. At least not in coach and I've never managed an upgrade on a transatlantic flight. And I can never ever manage to sleep well the first night away from home. So I went something over 48 hours without sleep and had to function in business meetings at the end of that stint. Not fun.
So anyway. I just had to get some thoughts of this down and I have a couple of euros worth of wireless access to burn thru before the night is over. Ah, which reminds me. Used Skype for the first time. Before I left I set Skype up on my wife's computer back home. We chatted earlier tonight. Quality was just as good as any domestic phone call. I'm impressed. Wonder if Google Talk will wipe them out. I already have way too many "resident" programs in my tray so I'm not sure what I'll do for a VoIP proggie. Probably stick with Skype for the moment.
Time to get some shut-eye. Hitting the shower and then the airport in about 5 hours. All in all, it's been a blast!