Monday, November 16, 2015

Postcard from Vienna (a.k.a. the last hurrah, part II)

Pestsäule, Vienna  |  Postcard from Vienna (a.k.a. the last hurrah, part II) on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

I don't think it was Vienna's fault—at least not really. But after our magical visit to Prague I don't think that any city could have compared.

(The rain certainly didn't help, though)

We'd both been to Austria as children, but to smaller, more idyllic towns like Salzburg and Innsbruck, which we remembered as enjoying, but Vienna? I'm not sure if it was how commercial and modern the Old Town was or that we had the wrong idea and were expecting something more quaint and atmospheric (a la Prague). Whatever it was, we didn't quite click with Vienna.

But we did have one truly amazing experience.

On our first evening in town we went to a Classical (Mozart) and Baroque (Beethoven) string quartet concert held in a small church in the Old Town. I knew that we had to see some sort of live music while in Vienna, but I wasn't quite interested in a bigger todo, like the ones at the Opera house or the concert houses. Then I came across St. Anne's intimate concert series, which seemed perfect for us.

St. Anne's Church Mozart concert, Vienna  |  Postcard from Vienna (a.k.a. the last hurrah, part II) on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
St. Anne's Church Mozart concert, Vienna  |  Postcard from Vienna (a.k.a. the last hurrah, part II) on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

And it was—an hour of lovely music, sitting a few feet away from the musicians, in a beautiful church.

Our second day found us wandering around Old Town looking for the charm, for Old European flavor unmarred by McDonald's and Starbucks, and sadly, we didn't quite find it, although we did have a proper Viennese coffee break, so that's something.

By the next morning we were ready to go home, but Vienna had a little surprise for us.

Innere Stadt/Old Town, Vienna  |  Postcard from Vienna (a.k.a. the last hurrah, part II) on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Innere Stadt/Old Town, Vienna  |  Postcard from Vienna (a.k.a. the last hurrah, part II) on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Innere Stadt/Old Town, Vienna  |  Postcard from Vienna (a.k.a. the last hurrah, part II) on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Innere Stadt/Old Town, Vienna  |  Postcard from Vienna (a.k.a. the last hurrah, part II) on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com


We arrived at the airport and put ourselves in line to go through security and were shocked when the security guards insisted I go through the X-ray machine. Based on the two airports I've departed from while pregnant (Stockholm Arlanda and Catania Fontanarossa), I knew that it was within my rights (as it is for everyone) to ask for a physical pat-down from a security guard rather than go through the X-ray machine because of a medical condition. In fact, there were little curtained cabins right behind the X-ray machines precisely for that purpose.

Rather than be accomodating, the security manager put us through quite an ordeal, speaking rudely to us and saying, "Ma'am, just because you're pregnant doesn't mean you're special. This is Austria and everyone goes through the X-ray machine".

As he insisted that it was not harmful to the baby, I rationally asked him to show me where on the machine it says that or some form of documentation to confirm. He refused to, and instead called over the military police.

If you thought R might have been upset with the man's behavior before, you should have seen how livid he became when the two armed guards came over and began yelling at us in German (which of course was 100% unhelpful). I stood firm, R stood firm, and the Austrian security manager and military police stood firm.

Finally the head of security came over and pulled the others away so they could have a pow-wow in private. A minute later a female security guard was called over to them and then she came to me and said, "Ma'am if you'll follow me, I'll perform a physical security check in the curtained-off area".

Innere Stadt/Old Town, Vienna  |  Postcard from Vienna (a.k.a. the last hurrah, part II) on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Wiener Staatsoper, Innere Stadt/Old Town, Vienna  |  Postcard from Vienna (a.k.a. the last hurrah, part II) on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Now really, why didn't that happen 10 minutes earlier? What was all the posturing and peacocking about for?  The absurdity of their insistence on making me do something that we felt was unsafe and that they couldn't prove was safe was infuriating. Especially after the wonderful treatment I received in Sweden and in Italy.

In the latter's case, the security agent at the head of the line gently "chastised" me for waiting in line to go through security, saying that as I was pregnant, I didn't have to. Then she led R and I both through to the family line, where he walked right though the X-ray machine and I was immediately led to a woman for a pat-down.

Clearly, Vienna has no intention of waiting for us.

(I still love that song, though.)

One year ago: The first snowfall
Two years ago: Travel tweaks
Three years ago: A bit more on AIRE & Frissons

Leave a note (comments)
Subscribe via e-mail
Follow along on Instagram and via Bloglovin', RSS or Feedly

No comments :

Post a Comment

Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a note!

XOXO,
J.