Pribina Cup 2016

23.3.-3.4.2016 Nitra, Slovakia

After having “somewhat” difficult winter, I felt like I needed a holiday. Also I felt like I needed some kind of proof that life will continue. I was wondering what to do and where to go, since I would have a holiday alone. The answer was very easy after all, having a holiday at Pribina Cup. At Nitra I wouldn’t be alone as I will meet friends who I haven’t seen for a while, weather is warmer than in Finland and everything is pretty cheap.

And as someone from Australia asked if I will write my stories from this trip, here we go:

Wednesday 23rd March – travelling

I woke up at 5:30, the flight was going to leave at 8:15. I was going to travel with Lasse (Virtanen) first to Vienna, and continue by bus to Bratislava and from there to Nitra. Surprisingly it went just like that, smooth and easy. Lasse was surprised how cheap the bus tickets were, even I told him that the prices won’t be too high. The bus from Vienna to Bratislava cost 5 euro/person and from Bratislava to Nitra tickets were only 3 euros. Well, you might think that with that price the bus must be some old wreck, but it wasn’t, just the opposite. It was very modern, the seats had “in flight entertainment system” – yes, it is a bus but still I like to call those tiny TV’s as “in flight entertainment system”. Also there was “cabin crew”, hot drinks were included on the price, and you could order snacks and drinks using the entertainment system. You know, a bus ticket in Helsinki area costs about 3 euros, and the buses are far from this luxurious version.

After checking in at Penzion Lux – the same hotel where Finns are staying every year, we needed some lunch. The hotel in the next door is U’Krba – the same place where we have been eating almost every evening when Finns are here and will eat on coming days. We had a quick lunch there and headed to the airfield. I introduced the Nitra bus service to Lasse, bus no 19 goes from here to the airfield, the bus leaves from our bus stop 02 and 32 past the hour, and one journey costs 70 cents.

It wasn’t a surprise to me that the airfield was quiet, only few gliders were there. We went to the airfield bar, but it was a really big surprise how they’ve had re-decorated the place and changed the furniture. It looked absolutely great. We had some coffee (=wine) and talked about life for a while. Then we took the bus, Lasse went back to the hotel and I went shopping to Centro Nitra. I noticed that if you need to do some shopping, clothes seems to be lot more interesting when you are little bit “tipsy”. But I played it safe, and thought that I will come back and see those things after some days, and see if those are still interesting things.

We decided to eat at the city, since I know that we will end up eating at U’Krba on coming days, and there aren’t that many possibilities to try new places. After some browsing on internet, I found restaurant Paladium. If the taxi driver hadn’t shown where the entrance is and told us to climb up the stairs, we wouldn’t have found the place. So that restaurant is well hidden from the people who don’t know that it’s there.

Hmm… I have to say that it was one of the best steaks I’ve ever – or for a while at least - had. Wine was excellent as well. Then we heard some news from the rest of the Finnish team, Tapio (Tourula) and his son had arrived and they were eating, surprise surprise, at U’Krba. We headed there and heard that Wille will arrive around 23. He had had a “factory tour” at Germany with the Arcus E, the glider he is going to fly with Lasse at Pribina Cup. We thought that he might come tomorrow, as the distance is pretty long. But perhaps he was just missing us and wanted to come here as soon as possible ;-) Unlucky for him, U’Krba was just closed when he arrived. We had some drinks at Lux’s lobby, but since the day had been quite long, I went to bed quite soon.

Thursday 24th March - First flight

There isn’t much to tell about today. The day started with beautiful cumulus clouds on the sky. After breakfast we went to the airfield, as we needed to rig the Arcus. That was a first time for me, and it was quite easy with the little blue helper. The day was really cold with strong northern wind. The airfield was much livelier than yesterday, and it was great to see friends. For example Pascal (Brunner) and Enrique (Levin) and many others from all around the Europe.

After rigging the plane, we thought of having cup of coffee in the airfield bistro (cafeteria), but surprisingly it wasn’t open. I did some quick math in my head and figured out that if guys are going to go flying and the cafeteria isn’t open, the waiting time is going to be really boring. I noticed that I had just enough time to catch the next bus, which leaves twice in an hour. After having a Big Mac meal as a lunch, I walked around shopping centre Mlyny and found some nice things to fill my wardrobe :-)

Lasse and Wille flew about two hours, when I came back from shopping, I actually got the bus which would go to the airport. But since I didn’t hear anything from them, I thought they were still flying, so I decided to take my bags to the hotel and perhaps have a nap. Just when I had closed my eyes, Wille called and told that they are actually having a beer in the airfield bistro. But he continued that as they didn’t have anything to eat after breakfast, they decided to come to the hotel and we went quite early (at 18:00) to eat, of course to U Krba. I had some chicken penne, with lots of extra parmesan and it was good.

Gerlinde sat with me for a while after all Finns had gone to bed. We tried to teach her daughter some English (and Spanish, you know how I get sometimes).

Friday 25th March – Good Friday

Something weird happened today, every time we saw each other with Gerlinde, she was repeating words “hot potato” with a laugh, but I really didn’t understand what the he*l she was talking about. Yes, I think we talked something about languages last night. And there is a saying in Finland that some languages are spoken with “hot potato” in the mouth. For example Danish is Swedish (or Norwegian) but spoken with a hot potato in the mouth. But I have to say that during the day I was just totally out of this “hot potato” conversation.

About the weather and the flying day: The wind wasn’t that strong anymore, but still the weather felt really cold. Except when sun was shining, my winter jacket, hat and mittens were too warm. So I changed to jeans jacket and went to the briefing. Won’t do that mistake anymore, I mean go to freezing hangar without winter clothes. The first briefing was longer than usually, but still really good, I think briefings are getting better year by year here, especially Ivan’s weather forecasts.

There was some hot tea available, but somehow it looked like it was available only for certain teams, so I didn’t feel brave enough to go there and collect my cup of warmth. Ok, it looked like it was only for the German team, as there was some 12 glass cups with the huge tea pot. I am too shy somtimes, definitely.

The task was only 182 km (or so) for the 20m multi seat class. I figured out that they would arrive back around 15:00, as they left around 13:00. Here they don’t give start times on frequency and there isn’t separate frequency for teams to talk during the flight, so I didn’t know when my team had started or when they are heading back here. Only information I have is the airfield frequency, if you’ve been in a gliding competition, you would know that you can get only “RA 10 km” announcements from there.

But it turned out that I had thought the same way as they did, and that was starting as soon as possible. The weather during their landing didn’t look that appealing at all, quite low overcast, but I mean it wasn’t high clouds, but much lower instead. But obviously it was flyable weather since most of them – and I mean from all four classes – arrived to Nitra. After their arrival the day continued as normal gliding day does:  wash the bugs from the wings, park the glider, and head for the beer.

In the evening we had a dinner at U Krba, I arranged a table for 8, as Sorin (Lingureanu) and his brother were going to join us.

Later Gerlinde joined us, and continued talking about the hot potato. I had heard quite much of that already, and didn't understand her stories any better. But then one German guy came in the restaurant and she said that I had spoken with him on previous night about the hot potato-stuff. I have to say that it might have been my evil twin sister, as I don't remember ANYTHING. Still when I am writing this, I have no recollection what soever.

Yes, I had some wine with the dinner, but not that much that I wouldn't remember anything. Or perhaps I did have too much, as I don't remember anything... Perhaps I need a cat scan or something....

Saturday 26th March - cancelled day

The weather forecast didn't look good for today. But since they are very optimistic here, the grid was announced on RWY 33. And then the day continued how we expected; postponing the towings.

You know how it is: the day with waiting and waiting, nothing to do but wait. We were by the glider, at the bistro, walking around and just trying to kill the time. At one point I spoke with Pascal and he was a bit cynical and saying that he assumes that they will tow their class (15 m class) just to get money from 12 tows. I said that hopefully they won't do that. Wille actually confirmed that it's not that uncommon here, and many people think that way.

But fortunately they didn't tow anybody and the day was cancelled, we didn’t even have to wait until 14:00. We changed RA's parking spot to a bit different location, as it was always blocked by the gliders which came to use the hoses to fill their water tanks just behind the old parking place.

Then we thought it would be time for a beer, but Wille said that it's no beer-time for him, as he is planning to go for a run. I figured out that if Wille isn't having a beer, it doesn't mean that I can't have one and tried to say to Lasse the same, because Lasse looked a bit "lost". We had some sausages as a snack, and I decided to have a small beer - just not to look bad if guys are having coffee etc.  Nah, they came to the table with big beers. I've been told that women are saying something and meaning just the opposite. I think that doesn't happen with women only, the other gender can be the same, depending on the situation.

We had plenty of time before the dinner time, and I had a nap and a walk before that. We ate at Hofferka, which is a restaurant in a cellar at the city. The food is good and the portions are huge in there. We were glad that we didn't have any starters.

After dinner we went to U Krba, where Tapio, Matias and Risto still were, and had one Metaxa's. Then it was time to go to bed, but I stayed up and was skyping too long. It was too long, because we changed to summer time at that night, so it was going to be one hour less sleep for us. Somehow my body works the opposite, as I woke up two hours earlier than usually.

Sunday 27th March – perhaps the best flying weather during this Pribina Cup

After I had some few hours of sleep, I found myself from the breakfast table at 7:20, rest of the Finns started crawling from their caves at 8:00. At that point I told them to finish my orange juice which I had bought yesterday morning and went back to bed. I had bought the orange juice because at the hotel breakfast there is only some water which is coloured yellow and is coming from a concentrate, the taste is far from orange juice, but since you can see the colour, you can guess how it should taste like.

Anyway, I went back to bed and told that I will come to the briefing at 10:00 by bus. I didn’t think enough, but luck was on my side: I arrived to the bus stop 9:28, on normal day the bus would have arrived at 9:32, but since this was a holiday – Easter Sunday, the bus came 9:45. Not too much waiting, that’s why I felt lucky.

The briefing was postponed from 10:00 to 11:00, because Vladimir had been in north of Slovakia with a plane and there had been so thick fog that he couldn’t start earlier. But since there weren’t anything special from yesterday, we all felt like Ivan would have been able to run the whole show, as the briefing was mostly about the weather anyway.

The task for 20 m multi-seat class was about 350 km. One specialty of the task was that one of the first turnpoints is located at altitude of 1400 m. Boys told that it had been quite exciting turning there, since the turnpoint area on normal task is only 500 m. Couple of competitors got only kilometre points, since they didn’t visit in that turnpoint area. I had asked how long it takes to fly it, and the estimate was 3-3,5 hours. Not even close. NIT ended having HC time (more than 5 hours) and RA flew 4,5 hours.

The feelings from the task were a bit mixed, since the first leg had been a struggle, but last glide amazing. Quickly we parked the glider and had "daily mandatory beer" before going to U Krba and dinner. My Easter dinner was burger with fries

At dinner, guys were planning how to "throw hooks" on Janowitsch glider, that means following him, as he is doing really well. We all were pretty sure that Monday won't be good, but decided NOT to have too many drinks and go to bed early, so we would be ready in case tomorrow is good. What a good decision that was.

It’s a pity that the settings on my camera were a bit wrong ones when ARC arrived back to the airfield, as it made really low finish. But I saved the two pictures for you, even the quality isn’t that good, so you can have an idea how it looked like.

Monday 28th March - would have not believed this

I woke up again around 5 o'clock, stayed up for a while and decided to skip breakfast and try to sleep more. Under low clouds we drove to the airfield for the briefing, which was starting at 10:00.

This could be repetition from previous years, as the weather always looks s*itty here in the morning, but always Ivan the metman is seeing possibility for a weather window. So the grid was open. Those windows haven't been that good, and it almost has to be 200 m cloud base and raining, to make them not set a task for the day.

But we would not have believed how this day will end. In a good way I mean. Towings were supposed to start at noon, but were postponed and it didn't look like we would be able to start at 13:00. Tasks were changed to B task, which was 2 hour AAT. At 13:00 only few cumulus had popped on sky and there was some light high cloud above those. But surprisingly there were no relights and everything went as on a good flying day.

Guys were back after couple of hours, since the task time was two hours :-D While I was following the landings, I saw first NIT to land, and suddenly Matias was just behind me walking the wing and saying "Katja, now it was really smooth flight" and then he continued that RA is just coming. It didn't take long before I saw them. First words from Lasse's mouth was "best flight ever" and continued "never had so long glides".

As I am writing this in the Aero Bistro, RA is on top of the results with 120 km/h speed and TWO (Janowitsch) second with 119 km/h. Wille said that if they will win the day, he will steal the microphone from Vladimir tomorrow and tell how the flight really went. As those last evening plans for "throw hooks" on Janowitsch plane had obviously worked. Hmmm... it's great to be with happy team.

At dinner at U Krba we saw that one German guy won the day, so Wille doesn’t have to steal the mic from Vladimir.

Tuesday 29th March – looks good, but is it?

Since past few days have looked bad in the morning and have been good flying days after all, today was just the opposite: it looked good, but weather forecasts were saying that it’s not a flying day.

After the briefing I took a bus and went shopping. Guys were sitting and waiting at the airfield. At one point when I came out from one shopping centre, sky was grey and raining. I continued my tour, and when I came back to the airfield just before 14:00, they still were postponing the launches to 14:15 and to 14:30, at that point the day was finally cancelled.

I took couple of photos with my iPhone, the airfield was under raining clouds, but Nitra city was under nice cumulus weather. NIT went to fly and they had a good 3 hour flight. But perhaps the weather wasn’t good enough for put the competitors on the sky.

We had dinner in U Krba again, where else :-) It seems that everybody is a bit tired, as everybody kind of knows that tomorrow’s weather isn’t going to be that good, but nobody still doesn’t feel like “partying” too much. Perhaps the weather has been so unpredictable so far, that pilots want to play it safe.

Wednesday 30th March – week away from home

I wrote this in the morning, before going to the airfield:

Morning looks good, but the satellite doesn’t. Or it depends on who is looking the satellite image, but I say that Ivan will see the weather window again, but the day is going to be like yesterday.

Anyway it seems like the weather is going to be good enough for local flights, if not good enough for competition. It means that guys are flying and I have to think how I want to spend my day.

It was exactly like that. In briefing Ivan showed the satellite image and told that there should be a weather window. Task was a bit more than 120 km. Yes, 120 km. Problem was that in Ivan’s calculations the maximum temperature was going to be 15 C, but the trigger temperature for cumulus clouds was 16 C. That temperature never came.

So it was almost repetition of yesterday: after briefing I took a bus and went shopping (ticket for 25 h cost 2 euros), came back around 13:00. And towings were postponed until 14:00 when the day was finally cancelled.

Today the sky looked similar everywhere: grey high cloud, but not raining. RA had a local flight, a bit more than an hour. Which is pretty good if there aren’t any thermals. :-P

Thursday 31st March – summer is here

Warm weather was going to come today, and it did. Föhn wind was affecting on the weather and it wasn’t that certain that weather would be good for flying. Finally at 13:30 towings were started and guys were ready for today’s task, which wasn’t that long, a bit more than 220 km. But we knew it wouldn’t be fast day.

So I removed some of my winter clothes, took my camera and had a walk. I walked to the other end of the airfield, from there to the edge of the Janikovce village, and walked through the village back to the airfield. It took just an hour. I had some nice photos of flowers and plants. I mean photos are good as it wasn’t necessary to edit those - almost at all. The day was really warm, so I enjoyed it by myself, had a small beer at the terrace, slept in the warm car until I heard the electric engine’s sound when Wille and Lasse were taxiing back to the glider parking place.

The day had been tricky, and in the evening at U Krba boys were going through their IGC-files and comparing how thermals were in which point of the route since they hadn’t left at the same time. I try always to remember what they are talking about, but it seems that my memory is bad, especially if I haven’t been involved with the story myself.

Anyway they all were quite happy, and it’s nicer to be with positive minded people, than with those who always find something wrong from their lives.

Friday 1st April – April Fools’ Day, farewell party, but could it be done better?

This morning, while having breakfast, we got an great idea and decided to publish an April Fools joke at facebook-page, it was about that Finnish team has decided to buy a Turbo Cmelak and the electric Arcus will be towed together with its trailer to Räyskälä on Sunday. :-D We had great fun writing that.

We weren’t in a hurry to get to the airfield, the föhn effect had done its job obviously and they sky was covered with a high cloud which was thicker than usually. It looked like it won’t move anywhere. Also the air was quite warm and nothing was moving, I mean it was as smooth as a millpond (new English expression to me!).

In the briefing at 10 Ivan told that the calmness of the weather will change during the day, and we all should secure the gliders as there would be some gusts blowing in the afternoon.

New briefing was arranged at 12, and there was a task. It wasn’t a April Fool, but alternative task to all who wanted to go and test what ridge gliding can be. Team NIT ended up having two flights, altogether 5 hours.

Team RA ended up in Vinoteka, the idea was to buy some cheap wines. I was a bit disappointed, as their wines were more expensive than in Finland. So that was “no deal” for me. Then we ended up by the cashiers desk, which looked almost like a bar counter, we were honestly just looking around. Just when we saw the long line of taps on the wall, suddenly other of the men had opened a box of Riedel glasses, poured some white wine from a tap (3,80 e/l) and gave it to me. The portion was more like a decilitre than a sample. That one was too sweet to me, the second one was too sparkly and berry-like, but the third one was really good Chardonnay. Lasse bought a litre of that first one for Pirjo, Wille bought a litre of the third one and I had a taste of Cabernet Sauvignon and bought a litre of that. At that point I was glad that he wasn’t anymore pouring samples to Riedel glasses, and that he used small white plastic cups instead, with just a small amount of wine. I am also really proud that we were able to leave those samples behind us and didn’t drink them just because those were free. The reason might be that we all were hungry and those small sips of wine went just right up in our heads, or at least that happened to me.

So the concept of that Vinoteka was to taste some of the wines – if you don’t know what you would like to have, then he takes one of the plastic bottles and fills that from a tap. The price for my wine was 1,80 e, per litre I mean. The bottle was closed with a normal plastic cap, but I’ve never seen that you can fill a bottle, close it with the plastic cap which seal is unbreakable. So I guess and hope that the wine in the bottle will stay good until I get home.

Then we had lunch at U Krba, and saw that there was a big table set for a wedding. Also it looked like there would be another private occasion in the evening as they were arranging tables as one big one on the other part of the restaurant. I had, or actually we all had, tagliatelle in cheese sauce. Also tomato soup was included on the lunch deal. So three time tomato soups, tagliatelles, and one bottle of red wine, altogether 29 euros. Not bad. I will miss this country.

Then it was time for a nap, 2+ hours did good for me. Then we went for a visit to hardware stores, but didn’t find the tyre for glider’s tail wheel. Wille found toilet brushes and bought two. We laughed with Lasse that when he goes home and Kati asks him what souvenirs he had brought, he will proudly hand over two toilet brushes. Those were pretty ones, and who wouldn’t need beautiful toilet brushes, so I think Wille will be safe.

Farewell party

Soon it was time to head to the airfield. I could write about the party in sarcastic way, which I actually started. But let’s try another way: there is a problem that if the farewell party is on the last day (Saturday), half of the people are not there because people are heading home. Well, if the farewell party is night before the last day, half of the people are not there because people are getting ready for the coming contest day. So neither one isn’t perfect.

Also there is a problem, at Finnish team would like to talk to other participants during the party, but that is impossible as the band is playing too loud. (ok, ok, I know the expression: if it’s too loud, you’re too old) Also the band is getting all the attention.

So instead we (Finns) would like to have few beers, nice goulash and talk to other people, we end up eating the soup rapidly and then escaping out as the music is too loud. If one of us is brave enough to get back in the hangar, everybody is just watching this great band and eating, but unable to talk to each other. Also they are stuck with their own teams, as the food and program keeps them sitting on their own tables. How can that be changed? I mean if Vladimir or any of you guys from Nitra are reading this, try to understand what I really mean:

The party is nice as you arrange it, but it could be so much more different, in better way I mean. Just try to think new way.

My idea is based on idea having really a relaxed party. Most of you have seen how the international evenings are in the EGC’s or WGC’s, haven’t you. That is the atmosphere I am looking for. Relaxed atmosphere, food, and drinks and talking to each other, not only with your own team. Some laid back music on the background, but that’s enough. Notice, this doesn’t mean that there couldn’t be any live music, but I think that the time for a band isn’t during the food, but after people have eaten and talked for a while.

For example in these kind of parties what we saw today, sad thing is that there is a dance floor, but nobody is dancing. I say a reason for that is that the band is playing when people are a) eating b) not drunk enough. And b) won’t ever change if the party is before a flying day. So I would say: ditch the idea of the band and use the money on something else, such like food and wine ;-)

We left quite early from the airport and went to U Krba, but it was reserved by those private parties. We had some left over wines at the lobby, but the internet connection wasn’t working and I got tired of it and came to my room.

Saturday 2nd April - last day and an incident

Everybody was sure that today's weather would be good for flying. But when looking on the sky at the time of the briefing, we didn't believe our eyes when we saw task distances, more than 360 km for the 20 m class. The weather certainly didn't look that good, as the sun was hiding behind the high clouds at south and the air didn't move anywhere.

We waited at the grid for an hour or so, and finally the clouds were moving or disappearing and revealing the sun. Towings started at 12:30, with about 80 km shorter tasks.

The blue tow plane came in front of NIT, and I asked Risto what is coming behind its wing. It looked like water, but it was fuel! The plane was quickly pushed to the side.

I had said in the grid that I have my own idea how this day will develop, and added in my mind that it will be cancelled. That happened quite soon, but not because of the weather, but because of a sad story. When I drove the car back to parking and switched on the radio, I heard conversation on the frequency that there had been a mid-air collision and that the other plane is landing back and other has landed out, and emergency group is sent to him. The other one was open class glider and other from a club class. Soon the openings for start lines were postponed. Then Vladimir confirmed that there has been a collision of two gliders, told their competition id's (A and AV) and said that both pilots are ok. Still they postponed the openings of the start lines and finally cancelled the day.

I saw the glider A landing close to me as I was taking photos, and saw some damage on its fuselage, soon local organization members came and took photos of it. When I went to the other side of the glider, there was a bad damage on the wing.

I talked with Vladimir for a minute, I thanked him for being open and announcing the glider id’s. He told that the other pilot has jumped out and he has some damage on his nose, I don't know if it's broken or what.. Anyway the glider is on the root of Zobor on top of a building.

Then I went to the car and suddenly I heard RA calling me on radio. Finally when they heard my answer, Wille asked if I wanted to fly. Of course I said “jooooo” (= yeeeeesssss :-) They landed and I climbed on the back seat with my camera. We found AV, on its back on top of a house. Our flight was nice, just short ~30 min flight, just to get me in the air and have a relaxed “therapy flight” after the incident.

Then we derigged RA and went for a beer as the prize giving ceremony was about to start at 18:00. Unfortunately we had to wait quite long, as Dominic wasn’t at the airfield, I understood that he was with the fallen glider. Before the prize giving ceremony Vladimir sat on the podium and talked us all through the day’s task and the accident. He told that the weather hadn’t been that good as they had predicted and admitted that the tasks would had been struggle after all. About the accident he told about glider A damages and AV pilot’s damages (broken nose as he hit a tree when landing with parachute). Nobody yet knows what had happened in the air, and that will be found out later by the investigation team. Vladimir continued with the prize giving, our team RA was on second place!! I am happy for them!! Then Vladimir said big thank you’s to his organization and thanked all pilots, we gave him a standing applause. The whole thing, from the story of the accident, the prize giving and the big thanks and applause felt really intimate moment. Then it was time for some hugs and go for dinner, to U Krba of course. But the whole Finnish team was really tired, and we didn’t have a big party, just dinner with desserts and then we went to sleep. I packed my bags and as usual had nightmares that I will forget something somewhere. Ah, the AV pilot was sitting on a table behind us, and he had big red nose and some tape on it, but otherwise he looked…well, happy, if someone can be happy after what he had experienced today.

I had some photos of the damaged gliders, and I am publishing those here as similar pictures has been on the news already (we saw the news with Lasse at the reception when we were paying our rooms).

Sunday 3rd April - time to go home

I woke up at 7:20 and pretty much rushed downstairs to say goodbye to Lasse and Wille as they we’re about to leave at 7:30; Lasse by taxi to Wien and Wille by car towards Helsinki. I managed to see them just before they left. I had a light breakfast because I felt I’ve eaten way too much during this vacation, so I had (my first ever!) yoghurt with honey. I was alone on the table with Alexander Müller (from Germany), we talked shortly about his trip to Linz (if I remember the name right) as he was going there next. Also he told that some of his friends were staying in Villa Aria at Nitra during Pribina Cup. Hmm, nice trick Alexander; you made me remember the name Aria (showing the throat and chin and saying “like singing, aria”). Mostly he compared the breakfasts at Penzion Lux and Penzion Villa Aria. Well, I must say that Lux could do some things better. I know Maria from Lux, I could tell her some of our wishes and hopes, but I don’t want to upset her or be impolite, as Lux location is perfect and staff is really nice.

Afterwards I had a bit more of sleep, just to get ready for the travelling day. Around noon “team NIT” called, as I was going to travel to Wien with them. First we went to Nitra city centre to have lunch before the departure. I did my best to convince them to try any place new, where we’ve never been. We ended up in the Hoffer, but we weren’t very happy of the place until food started coming. With 6,50 eur we got: half of small baked potato with melted goat cheese and bacon as a starter, chicken soup (a big bowl of it for four of us), then huge salads for each of us and some walnut strudel as a dessert. So the lunch with a mineral water cost 8 €/person, of course I had a small glass of wine as well, so my lunch was 8,60 € altogether. I am writing about the menu and the prices because of the following…

Tapio drove us to Wien, we stopped on one “raststation” in Austria on our way. Guys bought coffees, which cost 3,39 e each. After having lunch of 6,50 e, the price of one coffee felt ridiculous. But then we remembered that average salaries are quite different in Austria and Slovakia. So we ended having a short conversation “which one was first: huge salaries or high price level => which one was first, egg or chicken”

The procedures at Wien airport are really smooth, but don’t go to the airport earlier than 2,5 h prior the departure. As the check-in desk won’t open earlier and there aren’t self-service baggage drop-points. We checked ourselves in, I was flying with Finnair and guys with Air Baltic, both of them we’re about to leave almost at the same time, within a half an hour. Guys felt like waiting at the gate, reading some interesting stuff, but I took myself to a cafeteria, enjoyed the view to the airport and a glass of wine and potato chips (same price as my lunch at Nitra).

My flight home was fast and smooth, and at home I realized it was time to get back to reality. What a pity.

Anyway, it was a really nice trip, more local tourism-stuff would have been great, but being every day at airport didn’t give me a chance to do any of my “normal work” etc., so this was really a vacation.

The end

PS. In case you were wondering in the beginning of this story why my winter had been “somewhat” difficult. I’ve been together with Mark past 19+ years. Something happened between us last winter – and it wasn’t something I did, anyway that’s why we are not living together and I don't have ring in my finger anymore. We are still friends.