Our Schengen visa is in place. Our bags are packed …and we are finally on our flight to Vienna. We had been tracking the weather and temperature for the past couple of weeks and were so happy to see the Mercury touching 30 degrees Celsius. We would be in Europe in summers, in the month of July. I shopped a bit and picked up some lovely floral summer dresses. I set aside a few pairs of shorts and a pretty sun hat too …they would all make their way into my suitcase. I knew what I had to carry …it was summer!
Well, not really! Never trust the weather. A night before leaving, we checked the temperatures at the towns that we were planning to visit and saw that the mercury had dipped to about 15 degrees Celsius, with a forecast of thunderstorms for the next entire week. What a pity … I had a to pull half of my summer dresses and replace them with full pants. Obviously, packing for this trip has been quite a task.
Here is the list of stuff that has gone into our suitcases…
Trousers and jeans: After Indian summers, temperatures in the early twenties is cold for us. Ankur and I have packed some full length attire to tide over the weather, especially during the evenings in the Alps.
Ponchos: Considering that the forecast said ‘rain and thunderstorms’, we have packed our ponchos. We were caught in bad weather in Plitvice at Croatia (in the month of August). Having appropriate rain gear would have let us enjoy the place even more. So, in go the ponchos.
Footwear: We were planning to take smart leather footwear. With change in weather conditions, we have swapped one pair with casual footwear that is waterproof. Also, we intend to go for a hike and a picnic at Alpbach and need to carry comfortable walking shoes as well.
Winter wear: We intend to visit the ice caves at Hallstatt. Temperatures inside the caves are as low as 4 degrees Celsius.
Hence, we have packed one set of warm inner wear, a light down jacket, scarves and long socks. I am sure all this will come in handy during the chilly winter evenings at the ski town of Bad Gastein and Alpbach.
Formal evening wear: We are spending a day in Salzburg, the city that was home to the great Mozart. It is only fair that we attend a Mozart concert…and we are! The dress code is pretty strict…evening wear only. Ankur isn’t carrying a dinner jacket and intends to buy one from Austria itself. I am playing safe and carrying a little black dress… that really can’t go wrong!
Medical kit: I have recently recovered from a bad case of flu, courtesy the onset of monsoons in Mumbai and will be very careful with my health when I travel. I have stocked my medical kit with all that I think I could need …plasters to manage shoe bites, medication to fight the stomach bug, analgesic spray to tend to any muscles pulls and a few more pills.
Washing soap/ detergent: we are on a ten day long trip and are taking along limited casual clothing. Also, we are hiring a car with limited bootspace for the road trip. We will have to use the washing machine at the hostel once and carrying our own little pouch of detergent is always a good idea.
Toiletries: We are on a budget trip around Austria, with most nights being spent in hostels and B&Bs in smaller towns. We aren’t expecting a rack full of fancy shampoos or bath salts at any of these places and are carry out own toiletries. These items are much cheaper in India than in Austria….spending in INR at home is better than shelling out EUROs overseas.
Sun protection: Whether it’s Maldives, India or Europe, I stick to a SPF 50 sun screen lotion. I still get tanned, but do not get burnt. So, for this trip as well, I shall stick to my loyalties. Also, I have figured out that vitamin E oil does wonders for the skin in harsh weather condition, tropical heat or alpine cold. Pampering my skin with some enriched oil would be nice!
Food: We used to carry a lot of ready to eat food in the past. As our travels have increased, we have started enjoying local cuisines and have let go of the packaged. However, we still carry a couple of packs of ‘theplas’ along which can be consumed in the first few days of our trip. These simple, yet tasty flat breads helped me survive for a couple of nights while I was on the road in Myanmar and could not find a place that served hygienic vegetarian food. Another reason to carry food… sharing Indian food at the hostel kitchen always helps us make new friends!
We think we have packed all that we would need…passports, booking vouchers, currency, photography equipment, kindle, laptop and chargers. We are all set …time to hop into the cab and head to the airport. Hopefully, we have packed well…and in case we have missed some thing, it’s time to shop!
Au revoir…more from Austria!