March 10-11 Saturday-Sunday: Bloomington to Vienna

GrŁss Gott aus Wien! Greetings from Vienna!

Not the smoothest trip in history, but Iíve safely arrived. My first two flights were delayed, 30 minutes late leaving Bloomington, 2 hours late leaving Chicago, so that I missed my connection at Heathrow. By the way, never, never, NEVER go through Heathrow if you have any other option!!! It used to be fine, but these days itís truly a nightmare, and the people who work there are pretty unpleasant too. I wonít go through all the gory details, but I will mention that it took me over 2 hours to get from my arriving flight to my revised departing flight. And when I got to Vienna . . . you guessed it, my luggage didnít! This must be some sort of record, donít you think? This time I think it was Heathrowís fault. The only good thing is, since I wasnít on American Airlines, they actually were able to trace my bags immediately; my bags didnít make it out of Heathrow on my flight, but should arrive at my hotel tomorrow morning.

Weather was clear and mild all the way. I looked for Northern lights during the night flight, but didnít see any. It may be too late in the year to expect them, I donít recall. Very full flight Chicago-London, primarily high school and college kids going on spring break tours to England and Scotland. A bit on the noisy side, but harmless enough overall.

Arrived in Vienna in the late afternoon. My friend Michelle and her friend Susie, who both came to Vienna a day earlier, met me at the airport. Despite the best efforts of Dad and our Vienna friend, composer Nancy Van de Vate, Michelle didnít get the message that I was on a later flight until they were already at the airport wondering where I was, so they ended up spending several hours there awaiting my arrival. It turned out, we found later, that though their apartment has a phone number, there wasnít a phone installed (!), so Nancy and the hotelís efforts to call them with the message were in vain. But they had some fun while they waited Ė among other things, they happened to see a bunch of people crowding around someone who turned out to be famous jazz saxophonist Branford Marsalis, arriving to play a concert this evening with his quartet. Michelle spoke to him as if they were friends from long ago (what an actress!), and he ended up providing 3 free tickets to the performance!

By the time we all got back into the city and checked me in to my pension, we had just a short time before the concert (7:30 start, seems to be standard for this hall at least), so we found a Cafť between the hotel and the Wiener Konzerthaus for a quick supper, then walked on over for the concert. (My pension is just a few blocks off the Ringstrasse, very central location, easy to walk to most sights of interest, and close to an underground stop as well.)

There are so many beautiful buildings here! Itís going to be a joy to explore this city over the next 3 weeks. The concert was excellent contemporary jazz, and the hall itself was gorgeous, wonderful ornate white and gold baroque architectural decorations covering walls, ceiling, columns. I must admit, the setting seemed a bit odd for modern jazz, but once the lights went down it was easier to accept. There was a full house, and they seemed to understand their jazz Ė at least, they knew they could applaud after individual solos. Pretty quiet the rest of the time. It did seem a bit odd to come to Vienna to listen to American jazz, but that was just the way it worked out. After the concert Michelle and Susie walked back to my pension with me, then they went on to their apartment a few blocks away. (Iím switching to an apartment in a couple of days; there wasnít one available for me right away.)

Funny how different places have such varied ideas about concert times. Iím used to 8 PM; in Malaysia I had to wait until 8:45 so the Muslims could finish evening prayers first; in Italy concerts started at 9 PM or even later; Bangkok they tended to be 6:30 start, so people could just stay in the city after work to attend; etc. I wonder if there will ever be more of a world standard! Probably not.

So thatís my first day. Hopefully I will see my luggage in the morning Ė that would be a welcome start to the day! Our first performance is in the afternoon; I did bring something in my carry-on that I can use to perform if necessary, but itís not my real performance clothes. We shall see how it goes!

I have wireless internet in the pension; don't know what I'll have in the apartment, but hopefully the same. So I should be able to keep up with email.

Love to all,


Last updated 12/07. Copyright 2007 by Richard C. Morenus. Questions? Send email to