Travel Schlepp's First Adventure 

Well, I wasn’t at the new house for two days before Karl told me we were going on a trip.  He said we were going to another country across the ocean and that I would need a thing called a passport.  He took my picture and before you knew it, I had my very own passport. 
     Big Schlepp took me aside and said that Caro had gotten me just for this very important trip and that I was going to have an important part to play.  He couldn’t say more because it was a Special Secret. 
     Karl packed me into his shoulder bag and told me that my first job was to protect the camera and the computer.  With my fluffy fur and soft stuffing, I knew that I could handle any jolts that would come our way. 
     At the airport I met Debbie, Karl’s coworker.  She was traveling with us and was going to help Karl.  I was surprised how long the trip was.  Just getting to the airport and then flying to Atlanta was farther than I’d ever gone before.  Oregon to New Mexico is a long, long way but this was further.  And then Debbie told me that this was just the short part of the trip. 
     We got on another, bigger plane and settled in.  The people said everything in two languages.  I could understand the 
English but Karl remarked that the other language was German.  We were going to Austria and they spoke German there.  I worried if they had honey in Austria and Debbie assured me that they did.  Karl said that they called it hönig in German. 
     At least the shoulder bag was more comfortable than the box they sent me in from Oregon.  Now and then Karl would reach inside for a book or a pen and he would chat a bit.  I could always stick my nose out for fresh air. 
     It seemed like we flew forever.  There was a long 
dinner (and a very good one even without honey) and 
then we slept for awhile and then there was breakfast. 

And finally we landed at an airport I’d never heard 
of–Schwechat.  Of course, I only have heard of four 
airports in my entire life, so that’s not unusual.  It’s the 
name of the airport near Vienna in Austria.  We went 
through Passport Control and I got my first stamp in 
my very own passport.  I felt very important. 
     Next we picked up our luggage.  Humans don’t have fur like me so they had to have a lot of  coats for Vienna in the winter.  So loaded down with coats, camera, and computer, we went outside to find a taxi. 
     Karl spoke something in German to the driver and we drove off into the city.  It was my first taxi ride and the countryside was very different than Oregon or New Mexico.  Pretty soon we arrived at the center of town and unloaded everything at the hotel.  I had never stayed at a hotel but the tourists at the Cookie Den talked a lot about them. 
     This was Hotel am Stephansplatz and it was very lovely.  The people knew Karl and Debbie and helped carry all the bags up to their rooms.  In no time at all I was sitting on the bedside table while Karl unpacked. 

Hotel am Stephansplatz is very nice.  I’d never seen anything like it in Oregon, because Seal Rock is a very tiny village.  Vienna has tall buildings with narrow streets.  There’s a cathedral that’s even higher than most buildings, right across the square (they call it a platz in German) from the hotel.  From the 7th floor where we stayed, you could look out at the cathedral as it towered above everything. 

Later that evening Karl took me down to the Hofburg, the Viennese Imperial Palace.  He showed me the beautiful domes and the ornate buildings.  I got to look at the sculptures up close.  I was glad I was so furry because Vienna in January is very cold. 
     The next day was Sunday and everyone was tired.  Debbie said it was jet-lag and that it went away in a few days.  Karl told me that we had flow one third of the way around the world in 16 hours.  It would take awhile for me to adjust to the eight hour time difference. 
      Monday came so Debbie and Karl had to go to work.  They work at a place called the Vienna International Centre where the United Nations has a headquarters.  They go all the way up to the 29th floor to meet with UN people. 
     Debbie and Karl build computer programs that help the UN keep track of bad people in the world.  The group that Debbie and Karl work with keeps Saddam from building big, bad bombs

During our stay in Vienna, we often have a weekend free.  Once we went to Venice.  Another time we went to Budapest
After leaving Vienna, sometimes we have stopped in the Netherlands to work with the OPCW.