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Monday, February 13, 2012

Frugal Travel with the Recent Graduate: It's Cold!

Frugal Son is en route to yet another vacation spot. A few friends will meet up with him later, but he started out solo and had to spend a night in the airport, owing to his lack of funds.


Hi!

In Vienna and alles gut! Free wifi here! I really think all airports should have free wifi, at least for 15, 30 minutes. Small price, but it really placates crotchety travelers like me. Sleeping in Charles de Gaulle was...interesting. I couldn't go through security (because there were no more flights out of my terminal, although I don't know if they would've let me through anyway) so I had to stay in the outer airport / check-in area. Since it's a public area all the rows of chairs have arm dividers between them. Now I'm sure that in part this is for people's comfort, but mostly I think it's to keep homeless people from sleeping there. As a matter of fact as soon as I did go through security this morning I noticed beautiful, plush (at least compared to where I had slept), leather covered benches that would've easily accommodated me!

Instead I started by sleeping sitting up and leaning to the side to rest my head on a bag. After a little more than an hour, I woke up (at 1.40am) and was too uncomfortable to go back to sleep so I went to a little secluded area behind some airport shops and went to sleep on the floor, again using my bag as a pillow. Again, after an hour I woke up, although this time it was because I was cold. The floors are made of stone and the airport is basically not at all heated! I put on another sweater (I am now wearing a long sleeve shirt, two sweaters, and my wool coat + long johns and jeans and wool socks) and spread my towel down on the floor, which didn't do much in terms of softness, but was incredibly effective at insulating me from the frigid floor! As a final touch I put some socks on my hands. I slept again for a little more than an hour and this time I was so cold I went back to the front of the airport, which was more lit, but significantly warmer. I fell asleep in a chair again, although this time instead of leaning to the side I just put my bags in my lap and leaned forward. I woke up for good at around 5.20am and walked to my terminal. I had stayed in 2F even though I knew my flight was from 2D because, based on my explorations, 2F seemed warmer and like a nicer place to stay.

The walk to the other terminal was freezing even though I never had to go outside. They forced me to check my Rick Steves bag (I think they've shrunk the allowance) so all I have is my backpack, which has everything valuable I brought. Security was a breeze. While waiting I ate some breakfast (a cheese sandwich) and soon we began boarding. As soon as they opened the jetway doors a blast of icy cold air came in to the already cold terminal. The whole terminal is basically single paned glass and rather than central heating they have piddley little radiators near the windows, which are totally ineffective. On the walk down the jetway I could literally see my breath! Fortunately, the plane was warmer and I was fast asleep well before take-off. I didn't really wake up until we touched down in Vienna, though I did wake up briefly to look out the window and see the beautiful snow covered mountains of Austria. It's supposed to be cold in Vienna, but fortunately they've heard of insulation so the airport is a comfortable temperature (though I'm still wearing all my layers...). Guess I'll just kind of wander around til my flight at 13.10 yipee! Typed all this on the iPhone (didn't bring my computer) phew!

3 comments:

Vivienne said...

Ah, cold, sleeping in an airport! Everybody should have the "pleasure" just once in their life... But it sounds like RG is pretty wise, and resourceful. I love hearing about these adventures!

Shelley said...

Ah, the advantages of travelling when one is young. European travel simply was not an option for me until I was older and I'm afraid I don't tolerate discomfort so well as I once did. Glad to hear he's enjoying his adventures.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Vivienne--He'll be so glad to hear. Thanks.

@Shelley--Same with me. I'm living vicariously...