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How to Survive a Long Flight! 22-hour journey from Nigeria to Austria

Nigeria to Austria. Photo by Blessing Kure edited on Canva

Servus! (meaning hello in German)

Being an avid traveller, I find airports interesting, and not just because all the cheesy romcoms have a dramatic airport scene where the love interest realises they should not have let their better half go, so they run and meet somewhere in the middle, stopping in time as the ruckus of the airport happens around them. But because there’s a cumulation of things and lives happening all at once, I like to think of it as a small world experiment; the fact that you’re all in the same place doesn’t mean you’re headed to the same destination… I could go on and on about this; maybe I will in another post.

Lufthansa was the flight of choice from Nigeria, and there was a 1-hour layover in Frankfurt, where we proceeded with Austrian Air. 

Documenting my 22-hour journey from Nigeria to Austria through Germany was no small feat, but judging by the feedback and thank you DMs I have received from first-time travellers who have yet to learn what to expect when transiting these destinations, it was worth it.

Before my flight date, I binged on common German phrases to learn before visiting Austria and even made notes in my book. You can imagine my shock upon realising that some words in German were said differently in Austrian. And guess what? All that investment I put into learning German did not pay off.

I was overjoyed when the FrankFurt Airport offered German and English language delivery. Everything in German was also spoken in English, and all the workers I met spoke English. Plus, there are clearly labelled signs in English and German. So, the language barrier wasn’t a problem until…… Well, you have to keep reading to find out.

People watching in between flights is great! Great for many reasons. First, you don’t tune out the world and not hear your flight boarding announcement, or worse, a gate change. Yes, my gate got changed at the last minute, and I nearly missed my flight to Vienna by the whiskers. While that didn’t happen, one thing I know for sure is that I had never trekked such distance in my life. 

I walked so much so that I gasped and begged for air. To top it all, I was the last to get on the plane, so I wasn’t joking when I said I nearly missed my flight. For what it is worth, make sure your carry-on bag (whether backpack in my case or hand luggage) is light enough to carry because an impromptu gate change and arduous walking may be part of your itinerary. Or better still, ensure it has wheels!

 I had the chance to catch my breath on the flight and munch on some bland plane food (you know what they say about those) while making a mental note to get something more filling once we landed. An hour and five minutes later, we said hello to the beautiful overcast skies of Vienna. I caught my flight at the nick of time (once again) to Innsbruck, no thanks to the delays at Frankfurt Airport and the late landing at Vienna. Thankfully, we arrived in Innsbruck early, and I got an email that my train was moved to 1:00 pm. At this point, I concluded that travelling never works according to schedule. Expect anything from sudden gate changes to delayed flights to train schedule changes!

With some time to spare, I decided to hunt for SIM cards before taking the train to Wörgl. But here’s something I found surprising: my AIRTEL sim was working as AT. While that was some pleasant surprise, I still needed to find a local sim to avoid “Had I known” moments.

 It turned out that this trip still had more surprises in store for me; MY LUGGAGE DID NOT ARRIVE. 

Panic gif by Giphy

After filling out the paperwork at the counter, I was handed an overnight kit containing a white tee, toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, and deodorant, and they promised to deliver my luggage to my accommodation later in the day (Hopefully).

Luckily, I did my homework and stuffed my backpack with extra clothes in anticipation of potentially missing luggage. On the downside, I was low on toiletries; on the upside, I didn’t have to lug my heavy luggage around.  Talk about a cloud with a silver lining!

The luggage dilemma was sorted, and it was time to cater to my gastronomic yearnings. I browsed through the food options, looking for something familiar or that I was willing to explore. Sweetened croissants and orange juice were as familiar as they come. Belly full, I got my bus ticket for £ 1.70 and settled for the ride from the airport to the Innsbruck train station.

Remember my excitement about people speaking lots of English? That faded as soon as I got to Innsbruck Hbf. Finding Platform 7, where I was to board a train, proved a hassle. No one spoke English; all the signs and information screamed German.  That didn’t weigh me down as I searched for SIM cards; the weirdest thing was that my Airtel SIM was still working.

I got a sim card at Post Office 6020 for £ 9.99, which is directly across the road from OBB with a yellow and black signboard to the left (I hope I am precise enough).  And who knew it was that easy to find a SIM? Next, I got something to eat and got my OBB coin for the train. Finally, I boarded the train, and of course, it was strictly German with no translations. Can you beat that?

Photo by Thiago  Matos

Photo by Thiago Matos

 I found a bus going to Brixlegg from Worgl and consulted my map for the succeeding destination. Yes, I had it all mapped out in ink and paper. According to my trusty Google Maps, I was to take a shuttle from Brixlegg railway station to Alpbach. While my map was as reliable as can be, I still called my contact person for further clarification. That said, I am happy to inform you that I reached my destination in one piece!

 My journey from Nigeria to Austria was unforgettable. I learned, I saw, I experienced, and I made discoveries that will last a lifetime. If you are considering Austria, go for it! Just remember, a little Austrian German might come in handy! Priat di!

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