Aug 14, 2010




A huge surprise starts of the trip!


August 14 is finally here and we can start our vacation. So, after getting up and ready I headed out the door after checking that everything was turned off and nothing got left behind. I went to the baker and picked up some rolls, so Tom and I could have a nice leisurely breakfast. When I arrived at Tom’s he had already prepared the breakfast table and we sat down to enjoy tea and juice and rolls with butter, ham and cheese and some soft boiled eggs. Once we had finished our meal we cleaned up, got everything ready for Pixie to be fed and entertained until the visit of the catsitters and finally called a taxi to take us to the airport.

Once we had stored everything in the trunk of the car we started our journey only to turn around after about 150 feet. Tom had realized he had left his glasses behind and we went back to get them. So a few minutes later we started the second attempt to get to the airport. No problems this time, we arrived there in good time, and since we had already checked in online, all we had to do was check in our luggage and go through security. Blue Danube Airport in Linz is fairly small so there is not much to do and after walking through the tiny duty free shop we waited for our flight to Frankfurt to leave. While we were waiting I looked around and ….. there were a few of my pupils. Before I could say a word to Tom they already came over to tell me that they were on their way to San Francisco for their 3 week vacation. After a short chat we realized that we actually were on the same plane to Frankfurt and soon after boarded the plane.

We left right on time and since this is only a 50 minute flight they only serve small snacks and drinks. This time we had chocolate and vanilla cakes, which were quite nice. Tom had Coke and I had water to go with it. Once in Frankfurt we had enough time to get from one part of the airport to the other, sat for a while and had a drink and some rolls filled with ham and pickles before we finally boarded the plane to Orlando.

Once we had reached cruising altitude we were served some refreshments. We each received a small packet of pretzels and some drinks. We happily munched away on them and before we knew it, it was time for a late lunch. Before they started serving we joked that it would be “Chicken or pasta?” and guess what …. It was chicken or pasta we had to choose from. As our starters we had a small Salad with Balsamic dressing and a herbed shrimp skewer! Yummy!!

Tom’s main course was the Sweet and Sour Chicken, which was surprisingly moist and flavourful. I had the Trofi-pasta with Two Kinds of Pesto. Pasta cooked perfectly, don’t know how they do that with pre-packaged food and the pesto went well with it. A very nice lunch. For dessert we had some strange looking Lime Cake.

We had the same thing on one of our previous flights, and even though it had improved it was still tasting a bit odd. After we had had tea and coffee we took some sleeping aid and turned on the little monitor to watch a movie or two and dose off. Tom was clever taking two pills and sleeping on and off for some time. I had only taken one and was afraid of taking another one, so I watched “Young Victoria” and fell asleep a few times but never for too long.

I then changed to “Alice in Wonderland” and finally fell asleep for some time too. We both woke up right before we were served a light dinner. This time there was no choice, it was Sicilian Pasta with olives and very tasty too.

 For dessert they offered yoghurt. I didn’t like the strawberry one and tasted Tom’s cherry one, which he didn’t want to eat anyway and it was at least a little nicer. Shortly after dinner we arrived at MCO a little early only to learn that a Virgin Atlantic plane was still at our gate and we had to sit on the plane for another 15 minutes. Once the doors were opened we were lucky to be able to leave the plane fast and got in line for immigration.

Thankfully there were not too many people in line ahead of us, so it only took us half an hour. We went to search and pick up our luggage, took it through customs, only to learn that we were to hand it in again to be delivered to a conveyer belt in the terminal. Okay, at least no carrying it. We then made our way across the terminal to the conveyer and waited for another 15 minutes for our luggage to arrive. While we waited we both talked about how nervous we were about the rental car. In February we had booked a larger type car only to learn they were out of that category and to go to aisle xy to pick up a car. Well, they only offered “buses”! 6 to 8 seaters and we actually had to downgrade, as I would not want to drive around in one of those, let alone park them at a WDW parking lot.

Now this time around we had booked a convertible, our plane was the same time as in February, 7pm and by the time we got to the counter it was past 8pm. We were welcomed after about 3 minutes and guess what, the representative looked kind of puzzled and told us to wait a second, as our reservation came up “funny” and he needed to talk to a supervisor. After 16 hours of travel time I was in NO mood for problems and could feel a knot forming in my stomach. The guy came back a few minutes later and told us they were out of convertibles. Yeah, here we go! He then put on a really happy face and told us we were to be upgraded. I was waiting for the – here’s a bus for you, but no, he offered us a Camaro. Guess I have to explain – these are NOT common in Austria and I had NO idea what it was, so I asked Tom and he said that he thought it was kind of a “sporty” car.

So I lean over the counter and asked the guy if my luggage would fit in the car. He was puzzled too by the question and I guess our not freaking out over the upgrade. He told us about 5 times that it was a C-A-M-A-R-O!!! We didn’t blink! Once our paperwork was finished we made our way over to the parking garage, a bit puzzled as we are usually told to “pick a car in row xy” and this time we were to ask for the key at the little booth in the parking lot. Well, looooong story short, we walk out and they have ONE car parked right close to the booth and we both look and read and look and read again and this is it ……… our car! Yeah, NICE surprise and a GREAT upgrade!

Even though I could barely see over the dashboard we really fell for our car for the next four weeks. It took us a few minutes to figure out how to put most of our stuff into the trunk and how to work everything, but we were soon on our way. After a few minutes on the highway the first billboards made us realize that our vacation had actually started and with a wonderful upgrade surprise. We made it to WDW in about 25 minutes and checked in at Old Key West at around 9pm.

The wait was short and we were welcomed home. There is something about the feel of  Old Key West, that quiet little village feeling with lots of smiling and happy inhabitants – Tom and I love it there. The CM looked for our paperwork and handed us the Keys to the World and I realized we were on the first floor. That is something else I am funny with – I do not like to stay on first floors. So she asked a manager if she could change our room assignment because we were staying for nearly two weeks and he agreed and she put us in the same building, actually just above the villa we had originally been asigned, but only on the second floor. I am fine with that. We drove down Old Turtle Pond Road, walked up to the building and up the stairs and when we opened the door we knew we were finally here and at home. We moved all our luggage upstairs and went out to do some shopping at Publix. There were a few snack items and drinks we wanted to pick up and there was more than enough time to do so.

When we had finally finished shopping we went to our all time favourite counter service place to pick up some very late night dinner, Wolfgang Puck’s Express. Since we did not feel like either cookies or brownies we decided to pay out of pocket for our dinner. Our order was put in and in no time we were on our way back to Old Key West and sitting at the dining table with two plates of delicious food and some cold drinks.

We had chosen two sandwiches to share, the Warm Turkey Melt with cheddar, caramelized onions and arugula in freshly baked all natural bread with yummy sweet potato fries. It was SO good, still warm, even though we had to take it back to a very air conditioned villa and the sweet potato fries were SO good! Our second choice was the Pesto Chicken Salad sandwich with romaine and plum tomatoes in freshly baked all natural bread with crispy herbed fries. TO DIE FOR!!! Once we had enjoyed our sandwiches we noticed just HOW tired we were so we fell into bed for a good night’s rest.