Illustrated image for article How not to travel to Vienna (3.)!

How not to travel to Vienna (3.)

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Mikulov, our retreat, where we wanted to rest after the day's adventure before heading to Austria the next day.

Even though it was freezing and the whole countryside was covered in snow, we recognized in the distance the beautiful castle that was so admired by Czech and foreign tourists in the summer. The people here are very friendly, and kind and are famous for their rich vineyards. I am not one of the top sommeliers, but I appreciate their quality wine and it is one of my favorites.

We were approaching the guesthouse at a snail's pace so as not to accidentally cross it according to the navigation.


It was just before midnight when we arrived at the place. The whole village was asleep and we felt like we were in a fairy tale.

When we got out of the car, we stretched our bodies and let our dog out the door to get a quick walk so we could finally get to our room to stay warm. My husband pulled into the garage by the house, we got all the necessary bags out of the trunk of the car and headed happily to the apartment.


The room smelled clean, was very spacious and even the dog had his own space on the sofa to sleep.

The first thing my husband did was visit the toilet after such a long drive. For me, this meant being awake for at least an extra hour as we all had our bathroom rituals and I had to wait in the room for my safety.

We unpacked the necessary items to wash and clothes to wear for the night, my husband and I took turns in the shower so as not to get in each other's way in the smaller bathroom, and after a hot bath, we ate a little something else in front of the TV. Before we could explore the late-night movies, all three of us passed out and fell asleep, snuggled up nicely in our down comforters.

I woke up early the next morning, not knowing where I had slept, which hadn't happened in a long time. Still, I was refreshed and ready to run out for a morning walk with the dog, where we were awakened by the morning frost.

Upon returning to the room, my husband informed me that he still had to stop at an ATM somewhere and get cash out so we could pay the owner for the night. We combined this with a little walk to the town square. Along the way, we passed good honest country food, cafes, and artisanal businesses with a preserved tradition. I was fascinated by the greetings of passers-by, who exuded contentment, modesty, and life energy regardless of age - you just don't see strangers greeting you on the street these days and wishing you "Have a nice day", with a warm smile of course. The walk took us back in time and we admired the beautiful heritage buildings and landscape along the way.


We were already running a little late, so we picked up the pace and returned to the guesthouse to settle the bill and head off to our next adventure.

We were pressed for time, so we threw all our stuff in the trunk, strapped our wild dog in the back seat, and headed off to our first Austrian stop, Parndorf, which was a "city within a city" where we wanted to hit the famous boutiques and shop for a new and proper wardrobe, especially now for winter and sports. There are famous annual discounts here, so we wanted to take advantage of that. However, people are often very pushy, and for a particular piece of clothing, they can beat you to death with a shopping cart to get to it earlier. It was a game of time and sharp elbows there.


We were almost at the border with Austria when we realized that we had to get a vignette as soon as we crossed, so we wouldn't be fined and delayed by detours through villages.

Well, the next problem was in the air.

My husband stopped at the first gas station where they just had a big sign that said we could buy it HERE. I waited with the dog in the car, waiting for him to come with the sticker he had purchased.

Of course, that didn't happen.


He got in the car and told me in a sharp Slovak dialect, "I can't believe it! So there's a jerk there who doesn't know how to display it because he's new and learning, and he said that his colleague, who is the main person in charge, won't be there for another hour! Dude, I don't believe this!" He replied in an annoyed tone and started thinking about where to go to shorten our highway misery. I didn't comment, because I sympathized with him and mentally cursed what was to come before we finally arrived at a place where I could at least have my morning coffee and a little something for breakfast.

We passed one signpost after another, praying that we would find another station with a little more prompt and experienced staff at the counter. Fortunately, we only wandered for 20 minutes and finally came across a promising gas station where we could buy something other than automotive supplies or just gum at the register.


My husband jumped out of the car and I prayed he would return with my coffee and sticker to the car.

I smiled and was looking forward to the goodies when I saw him return with a calm expression.

"Awesome!" I exclaimed, taking my caffeine fix and the chocolate chip cookie that was just out of the oven.

"Dude was cool!" My husband complimented the quality of his service and stuck a sticker in a prominent place on the windshield.

Nothing was stopping us from taking off now, so we set off towards Parndorf, excited and refreshed.


Well, now one would think we had all the obstacles behind us...or hadn't we?

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