What a shock to the system! After ten days in sunny Fuerteventura, we flew right back into winter. Serious winter. Plus we managed to make a spectacular travel mistake… you’d think we’d have got better at this after seven years on the road, but apparently not!
Monday 25/2: Although we weren’t the biggest fans of the tourist complex where we were staying in Puerto Caleta in the Canary Islands, it was cheap and wifi was available in the reception — just a few metres from our room. We spent the morning working, then had a stirfry lunch and went for a walk along the beach before getting back into work.
Tuesday 26/2: Check out was at 12, so we got up early and got a fair bit of work done before we had to leave. We’d noticed an ad for a cheap English breakfast in one of the restaurants on the way to the bus stop, so we broke our week of vegetarianism with bacon, sausage and morcilla.
We spent our time at the airport getting even more work done, and our flight was long but painless. We arrived half an hour ahead of schedule and would have been able to catch an early bus to the centre of Bergamo if the shuttle buses had been ready to ferry us to the terminal. As it was, we had to wait an hour for the next one.
We’d booked a room in a B&B whose reception closes before we were due to arrive, and I hadn’t received a response to my query email. When we arrived, another couple let us in and went to bed, and after confirming that no one was around to check us in (and calling the contact number several times) we decided to leave and find somewhere else to stay. But we couldn’t — we were locked in. The wrought iron gate at the bottom of the stairs was locked tight and we couldn’t see any way of opening it. We had almost decided to sleep on the floor in the breakfast room when someone emerged from one of the rooms and looked at us blankly before going back to bed. Long story short, he let us out (turns out there was a button halfway up the stairs to press), and we made our way to Hostel Central, where we arrived five minutes before their reception closed at 1am. The extremely friendly receptionist found us a room and we fell gratefully asleep soon afterwards.
Wednesday 27/2: We dragged ourselves out of bed and down the stairs, where a very good breakfast by Italian standards was waiting for us: cornflakes, yogurt, juice and coffee. We’d hoped to see a bit of Bergamo before hopping on our first train of the day, but the late night on Tuesday made that impossible. Instead, we headed straight to the station, bought tickets to the border with Austria, and set off.
It was a long day and we had to make several changes, but we eventually arrived in Linz and met up with Sabine at the station. It was so good to see her again! She’d prepared us a tasty meal and we sat up talking for a while before heading to bed.
Thursday 28/2: Sabine had already gone to work by the time we got up, so we worked for a bit then went for a walk around Linz before lunch. Later on, we walked down to meet Sabine at the university library where she works, and she showed us around both the library and the university.
In the evening, Sabine took us out for dinner — the food was delicious and we all ate far too much. Back at home, we played a couple of board games then decided to watch an episode of Downton Abbey — and we were hooked. I didn’t think I’d enjoy it so much, but it’s really very good.
Friday 1/3: Sabine only had to work until 2pm, so we worked too then met her at the library — where she signed me up as a member and gave me another library card for my collection! Somehow we managed to faff around so much when preparing lunch that it wasn’t ready until 4pm — but it was delicious! Sabine made bean fritters and I contributed some guacamole. We spent the rest of the day inside, watching Downton Abbey and playing Monopoly Deal.
Saturday 2/3: After a bit of a sleep-in, Sabine’s mum picked us up and took us out for lunch at a nice restaurant beside a lake. It was quite warm in the sun, so we sat outside, which was great! Afterwards we went for a walk around the lake and had a coffee and strudel before heading back to Linz. In the evening we watched four more episodes of Downton Abbey, with a break for dinner and Monopoly Deal.
Sunday 3/3: Since we’d stayed up so late watching TV the night before, getting up was a little more difficult than we’d have liked. But we managed, and even got packed up, out the door, and to the station in plenty of time for our 10.30 train.
The trip across the country was as pleasant as ever, and we arrived in Mödling in the early afternoon. Luckily the guesthouse owner was around when we arrived, so we checked in then set out to explore the town and have a tasty lunch. In the evening, we tried out another restaurant and watched a bit of TV before bed.