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the Degree Confluence Project
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Austria

2.2 km (1.4 miles) SE of Gattendorf, Burgenland, Austria
Approx. altitude: 134 m (439 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap world confnav)
Antipode: 48°S 163°W

Accuracy: 5 m (16 ft)
Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: Confluence point from the road #3: Powerline as seen from the confluence #4: Rabbit tracks #5: GPS #6: Map with track log from A4 to the confluence point #7: Michaelerplatz outside Hofburg #8: Starting the ball: 42 young couples lining up

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  48°N 17°E (visit #8)  

#1: 360 Panorama

(visited by Terje Mathisen and Tone Norløff)

29-Jan-2005 -- Our first Austrian confluence!

The confluence visit itself went off without a hitch, but before that we had quite a trip:

Planning

Last winter we read about one of the formal Balls held in Vienna (Wien) every winter, the one organized by the Techniche Universität im Wien (TU-Wien). Since my wife and I attended the Norwegian equivalent to this institution, and we enjoy ballroom dancing, we wrote an email to one of the organizers (Herwig Bangert) and asked if we could get tickets for the Ball. We got a prompt reply saying we'd be very welcome, so we started by booking air tickets and a hotel room.

At the same time as my wife was looking forward to all this, I started looking at the confluences nearest to Wien, and quickly decided that this one would be the easiest to get to: A good road leads to within 200-300 m, and the point itself is located in a field that would most probably be frozen in January.

Travel to Wien

We left Oslo on Wednesday, jan 26, and ran into immediate trouble: The Norwegian air traffic controllers have been in a low-intensity conflict with the authorities for a long time, leading to mass simultaneous sick leaves, 'work slow' periods and similar actions. One of these were taking place now, so our flight to København (Copenhagen) was delayed by more than an hour, and we originally had just one hour to catch our connection to Wien. Fortunately enough, the Austrian Air flight to Wien had been delayed coming in, so it was still lined up at the neighboring gate when we landed, and we ran aboard.

Lost luggage

As we arrived at the Wien airport, everything was total chaos: The worst snowstorm in meteorological history (i.e. 30 years) had hit the area, and the airport was stuffed with stranded passengers, as well as misplaced luggage. After waiting almost an hour, it became clear that our two suitcases with my tailcoat and my wife's formal Ball gown were among those that didn't make it, so we had to queue up, report them missing, and grab a midnight taxi to our hotel, after receiving assurances that our suitcases had been located in København, and would arrive early the next morning, in good time for our Ball that night.

On Thursday we waited until noon, no suitcases: We called the airport again, and they just told us that the chaos was still complete, they had no idea if our bags had arrived or not, and couldn't promise when or if they would be delivered. :-(

Finding replacement formal wear

At this point we had to go out and try to rescue our Ball, we first traveled by subway to a costume/formal wear rental company recommended by our hotel. They easily located a nice-fitting tuxedo for me, but had only costume gowns for Tone, so we had to go back downtown and start looking at buying a new dress for her, as well as shoes for both of us. Wien in the Ball Season has a _lot_ of formal Ball gowns available, but our time was running out: Tone's dress would need some alterations to fit properly, and these had to be done within three hours so we could pick it up at 1800.

By the time I had finally found a pair of dancing shoes, and only Tone's shoes remained, our hotel finally called: "Your suitcases has arrived!"

We ran back to our room, verified that everything was in order, and called the rental company: "Yes, they would accept a return of my unused tux, with just a small deductible for the fitting!". So, after another trip by subway, and then back to the formal gown store to pick up Tone's new dress, we were finally ready to go to the Ball in the amazing Hofburg palace. Hofburg is probably most famous outside Austria for being the home of the Lipizzan stallions in the Spanish Riding School.

The Ball was great, particularly the dancing: Two big orchestras alternated playing in the main ballroom, so that even when one orchestra needed a break, the other would go on playing. I.e. continuous ballroom music!

If this wasn't enough, there were also two smaller ballrooms, with one orchestra in each, and finally a regular Disco in the basement.

We kept dancing until about 3:15 Friday morning, slept late, and then arranged a rental car for early Saturday morning:

48°N 17°E was waiting!

Getting to this confluence was just as easy as the previous visitor's narratives described: We simply followed the Garmin maps west along Autobahn A4, took the Parndorf exit onto B10, and followed this road all the way to the point, past Parndorf, Neudorf (lit: 'New Village'), Gattendorf and almost to Zurndorf, i.e. until we could park along the road, just 220 m away.

Due to the winter storms two days ago, everything was frozen solid, making it easy to walk down to the confluence, and the wide open field gave great GPS reception, making the traditional zero dance almost superfluous. I took photos for a full 360 degree panorama, as well as the car parked alongside the highway, the only other nearby feature; a power line pylon, and finally the traces of a lot of local activity: Rabbit tracks! Tone counted ten different rabbits around us while I took the photos!

After bagging our first point in Austria, we drove a few more kilometers east, and then north, before we returned to Wien. This allowed us to visit the Hungarian town of Mosonmagyaróvár, as well as Bratislava, the capitol of Slovakia. This made it three new countries and one more confluence in a single trip.

On the way back to Norway everything went fine, except that baggage handling in Oslo on Sunday afternoon was so slow that we feared our suitcases had gotten lost again, but after nearly an hour they finally arrived on the conveyor belt.

Finally, a big Thank You! to Herwig and his wife Ingrid who made our trip possible!


 All pictures
#1: 360 Panorama
#2: Confluence point from the road
#3: Powerline as seen from the confluence
#4: Rabbit tracks
#5: GPS
#6: Map with track log from A4 to the confluence point
#7: Michaelerplatz outside Hofburg
#8: Starting the ball: 42 young couples lining up
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)
  Pending visits
Submitted  Visit date  Name  Success?  Status? 
27-Oct-14  25-Oct-14  Rainer Mautz  yes  pending 
26-Sep-14  12-Sep-14  Hansen Ohnesorge  yes  pending