Lost and found. The good, the bad & the stupid
Dinner at Glöckl Bräu
This place is stunning! We decided to kick our Austria experience off with dinner at a restaurant recommended to us. The same restaurant Arnold Schwarzenegger goes to every time he is here! The girls absolutely loved it and decided they wanted to eat there the second night too. That was before they even ate dinner!
Not long after we arrived I accidentally directed a lady into the men’s toilets. That’s what happens when you try and help someone without scoping out the place first. It wasn’t until Carolina needed to go to the bathroom that one of the men that work there informed her to stop immediately as that door is only for gentlemen. Needless to say Adriaan and I looked at each other and burst into laughter.
Dinner was beautiful from the pumpkin soup, cheese noodles (macaroni) and meat platter. I must say this is the most fast-paced place we have eaten at yet to date. They did not walk they almost ran/skipped/walked fast the whole time. In fact, the only time they stopped was to take your order and then they raced off again.
They carry huge trays on the tips of their fingers (I wished I had of got a photo) with approx 11 plates on it. Piled with everything the table ordered. The restaurant is split into three levels and these wait staff were up and down like nobody’s business. It was a beautiful night with great food and a wonderful night sleep followed!
The day everything went wrong…almost everything
Skip to the next morning we went to a local hotel for breakfast. On the way, we updated our parking. The machine swallowed our 6 euro and we’d already scraped all our coins together to pay for parking. So now we have to try and find more change.
Trying to avoid another 24 euro ticket. The day before we got a ticket for the meter running out and being 1 minute late, yes one blinking minute!
Then we headed home to get all our laundry because we were all running short on clothes. We had a 1km walk to the laundromat and that’s when the next chapter began.
First, while trying to figure out how to use the machines that are all in German. We accidentally selected a machine that was already in use so their timer started over again with a whole new 40-minute wash, oops!
Finally managing to get it all sorted. We decided to leave Adriaan there to pop off to the shops as the girls have fallen in love with H&M & Zara and of course Gratz has both. With his wallet safely in my pocket off we go, shopping girly day on!
We arrive in H&M and all go our separate ways and select all sorts of bits and pieces. The temperature has dropped a bit and we needed some warmer bits, try them on and make our final selections (with a bit of bargaining from the girls regarding how much money they had and what they wanted to purchase) so off to the checkouts, we go! My heart dropped, the wallet was GONE! I raced to the dressing room and spoke to the attendant and nobody had seen it. Do they have a lost and found? Has it been handed in?
My heart is jumping out of my chest at this stage. After the robbery, it is the only card we have and I had lost it. How am I going to tell Adriaan? I need to block the card. Backtrack. I need to ask every shop along the way if it had been handed in! All of these things racing through my head. The girls and I race out of the shop and head back along the beautiful cobbled street heading back to the laundromat.
By this time it had started to rain so the girls and I are marching the streets. Searching everywhere. In the rain wearing t-shirts. Wet and freezing! We walked and walked and walked. I called Adriaan, he was great about it. He started walking to meet us from the laundromat, in the rain!
It was nowhere to be found, we searched high and low! I dragged the kids who were almost running behind me to keep up. We headed to the police station & fire station. They were closed. We stood there feeling helpless and not sure what to do. I googled the police station and finally managed to speak to someone who spoke English. He informed me to go to Bundespolizeidirektion Station which was an 18-minute walk. Off we go!
We met Adriaan along the way and it rained and rained. We were cold and I was feeling pretty miserable at this stage but we trapesed along to this station. Which was up hills and along slippery roads. I tried to keep upbeat to not scare the kids. If they knew how upset I was inside they would crack and it wouldn’t be good. They were already asking questions along the lines of: “Will we have to go home to NZ? Can we buy food? Will we have to stay in Austria? How are we going to be able to stay here with no money?” Needless to say, it was heartbreaking.
We get to the station and it’s closed. My heart shatters at this point. I’m feeling pretty down about me losing it and 100% of the fault is on my shoulders. I call the station that I had called before and managed to speak to someone that kind of spoke English but it was tough. I was trying to explain to this officer in Vienna (after-hours call centre).
Then I hear this voice: “Can I help you?” A couple of young Austrian men could hear that I was struggling on the phone and in a bit of distress. I literally threw this guy my phone and asked him to explain where I was. They were so lovely and at that time was just what I needed. I think they knew I was at breaking point. They said that they will walk us to another station around the corner. It was also closed! They then offered to walk us to another station at “Schmiedgasse” 15 minutes walk away. A sort of lost and found for Graz. Bless them!
Walking in the rain
We took them up on their offer and we walked in the rain. They had an umbrella but weren’t using it. Us crazy kiwis were all in t-shirts and soaked! He then offered us the umbrella so we gave it to the girls so they could shelter from the rain. Honestly, these guys were amazing! We walked and talked and laughed. Trying to figure out what we could do if the cards were gone for good. Something about a digital credit card or something and to be honest I really have no idea what else was discussed.
Along the way, they waved down a police car and explained the situation. After they drove off told us the news wasn’t good as they don’t deal with lost & found at the station we were going to. They said that they will still take us there as its worth a try. The only thing that kept me going was their optimism. I was feeling that all was lost!
We finally arrived at the police station, in the pouring rain and the door buzzed open and in we walked. They explained the situation for us as the officer did not speak English. They did have a “lost and found”, but the wallet wasn’t there. We were directed to a nearby building where a man was. I think he is the information man but I’m not really sure. It looked closed but one of the “angel” guys found a buzzer, they rang it and someone answered over a small intercom. I was called over. The person on the other side wanted to know our names. I told him our names and he said “Ja, come in”. We had a glimmer of hope but didn’t want to set ourselves up for disappointment.
Lost and found – the relief
We weren’t sure if he said yes because we were in the right place or if he had the wallet. We go in these huge big wooden doors and he has a large yellow envelope. He is tapping on the computer and I see our names on the screen. Relief washes over me and I can’t contain my emotions any longer! I yell out to Adriaan “It’s you, I saw your name!!”
He then opened up the envelope and there it was, the little brown wallet with our ID and cards inside. We all hugged and I thanked them all over and over and over. Then sighed a big sigh of relief. We were dumbstruck, but grateful. Where does this even happen? We didn’t think it would be possible for a wallet to be lost and found and handed in, in a big city.
The good samaritans then headed off on their way so relieved they had helped us. It was after they left I realised I did not even ask them their names. I feel quite rude for not even asking as it’s usually the first thing I would do. But stress levels at the time was through the roof.
So off we headed in the rain but this time with a wee bounce in our step. After a brief stop to H&M, we found a lovely warm place to eat and changed into warm dry clothes in the bathroom.
So that’s how you do 16,044 steps in a couple of hours while marching around the streets of Graz, Austria with your children in the pouring rain!