Monday, 15 September 2014

Back Home


The past 5 weeks went by so fast.
Today we arrived back home, returning from a wonderful time we had in Russia, Kalingrad in the North-East of Europe.

The next days are going to be busy. You can imagine how many emails wait for an answer.

Let me start off with some impressions - comprehensive postings to come ... here!

Basic food

It works!

The Baltic Sea aka Ostsee

Kaliningrad discovers Kenigsberg


In the land of Amber

Saturday, 23 August 2014

From Russia ... in Europe


2 weeks ago I arrived in Russia.
Kaliningrad is located between Lithuania and Poland and the Baltic Sea, hundreds of km away from mainland-Russia.

I am having a wonderful time here and as soon as I am back in Vienna, ah ch will be in 3 weeks, I am going to publish photos and tell some stories.

Yesterday I actually had a conversation on the phone in Russian - which is more than I wished for in sich a short time.

At the moment all my photos are stuck in my camera, but I did take some pictures with the tablet cam inside the apartment, where I live at the moment.


Right now

History channel?


A red lipstick is a must. 

I am thrilled that I am actually reading Russian texts. Very simple, but still!!

Can you find the sink?
After the manicure

Apples everywhere, now thet the EC must not export fruits to Russia. Tje city of Kaliningrad crowded with appletrees.
Minimalism was yesterday. Golden flowers on the wall.

Kalinimgrad is an incredibly green city.
I am off to the Russian Disco.


Monday, 21 July 2014

whereabouts: Donauinsel at km 8.3

A few years ago, quite late actually, I started to discover the hidden qualities in/within/around and along the Neue Donau (= New Danube).We used to stay at the Alte Donau (Old Danube), were public beaches attract thousands of people. In the past I did not feel comfortable with the idea of no shower afterwards, the idea of leaving my stuff on the beach, with no locker available, while I am off for a swim. And then there was the strong concept the Neue Donau as the place for white trash, including ghettoblasters and lots of alcohol, whereas academics stayed at the Alte Donau, reading the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in the shade. Shade is a big issue: choosing the Alte Donau over the Neue Donau for the past decades was due to the absence of shade. In the early years, the trees planted on the Donauinsel were still small and did not provide enough shade.

I am quite certain you have similar demarcations in home town. Now I sit here and shrug my shoulders, because I have to admit, today, in 2014, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the Neue Donau. 
The un-organised quality is appealing. Apparently you find a very respectful atmosphere, people know how to behave. The media tells different stories, the ones my parents read which makes them worry (including alcohol, gangs and knives) every time I tell them I am/was enjoying myself at the Neue Donau. 

You can tell, I am biased, so I let the pictures tell the rest of the story:
 The stream is actually a basin, designed for flood protection.
The Donauinsel (=danube island) was built to enclosure the water and approx. 40 years after its construction the plants conquered the island, leaving us with plenty of space for a Sunday chill out.  
Some of you probably would not want to spend a Sunday afternoon within the sight of a railway bridge. All I can say is this bridge was my personal highlight of the spot where we rested. I enjoyed every single train that passed on the bridge. I also don't mind the concrete slipway. The youngesters gathered on the slipway, nice to watch.
More industrial structures: a photogenic chimney for example. 
 RU = rechtes Ufer (right riverbank), km 8.3

8.3km further down the island the island comes to an end. I have been there! :-) ... not today. 
These km-numbres are very handy. With the numbers you can easily arrange a rendez vous with a friend. Just send the text message with the km-number, and your friend knows where to find you. As long as you check your mobile phone for new incoming messages. (harhar) 
This view reminded me of Dunkeld-Birnam, Perthshire, Scotland. Seriously!

Those, who are afraid of plans, stay away:
 Not the first and not the last eye candy during our stay.
The small "arch" was the perfect aid for those (like me) who used the ladder to get into the water.
 The path is in a mint condition, inviting for inline skaters and bicyclists. 

I had planned to take more photos of the structures and less nature. The nature was so inviting and the afternoon so relaxed ... structures have to wait. Except for one, dating back to the late 1980s:
 The rowing centres looks outdated.
 This recent structure might be outdated in a few years, just like the rowing centre:
Above thousands of cars drive on one of the major highways in Vienna, actually THE major highway. Below we cycle, on our way home ... the weather has changed and no one wants to get wet, at least not outside the water.
Not much later and we are back in the city centre, right before the rain set in.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

whereabouts: from Vienna to Giesshuebl

Once more, we are on the move.

I never felt comfortable with the idea of going somewhere for a meeting, a conference or a birtyhday celebration, driving an hour straight to the parking lot and after the event you go back to the car, bus or train and drive all the way home. All you have seen is the courtyard of a mansion, a terrace, maybe a view.
But why go all the way  - 1 hour or longer, when you don't make the most of the trip?  When I go somewhere, I seek for the full experience. 

The slower you move, the more you understand. Ok, this probably is not the most spectacular insight. Still, it is our concept of understanding, our concept of experience, our concept of life. When I say "our", I am referring to Mr Paula and myself. Mr Paula is at least as curious as I am. We both are not looking for the obvious - lets say the most scenic touristic spot, but for the unknown, that waits behind the corner, the place tourists ususally don't have the time to see. The second, the closer look.

Of course you get to see less, speaking in terms of coverage. We once even managed to spend full 3 weeks in the Provence without getting to see Orange or Nimes, because our path was slow. Our radius is a small one, even when travelling by car.

Could be Warsaw, could be Düsseldorf, could be Kaliningrad. An anonymous place so to say. 

Whenever we have the chance to go somewhere by bike, we go there by bike. Destinations within the radius of 20km are a nice distance for a sightseeing trip on weekend. 10 years ago our radius measured approx. 1 hour by bike. Going somewhere by bike for 1 hour was always special. But over time our radius expanded in the same way our fitness level has increased. Distance does not really matter anymore. Now it's a question about setting the alarm in the morning on the right time: an early hour makes us get far.

Long story short ...  (well, it might get long, since we move on a slow path :-): This time the destination was a Heurigen in Lower Austria. Lower Austria, the province surrounding the city of Vienna). The venue is  not far away, the village is close to Vienna, a classic distance to go there by car, for others. We chose to go there by bike. We knew the route from last year. This year I included extra 20 minutes for photo-taking.

We are not very familiar with the South of Vienna. This is how it works: In the South of Vienna the city layout is very generous. The square metre was cheap compared to better locations, closer to the city centre. The area is designated to industry and trade. Some areas would be perfect for housing developments: it's green, nice views. Business changed ever since the layout of this area has been designed. Companies change, merge, move, as a consequence you find deserted lots like the one pictured above.

Transforming a former industrial area into a housing area is a challenge. It is almost impossible as long as there are still companies around which pollute the environment. The main pollution of today is not smoke nor fumes, but decibels. And follwing to the high standards in Austria, this area will probably reamain as it for the next decade

The following building might become part of a series: Transformer stations.
Please forgive the moiré. Blogspot is not a big friend of details.

Transformer stations are buildings you probably don't pay attention to. You find them all over the city. What fascinates me, is the variety: they are never bland. This building for a example was designed with a mosaic facade and a modest grid. Ok, I admit: I see beauty everywhere.
On we went, and not much later we had left the city, passed Perchtoldsdorf and went up the hills to Gießhübl. Hübl is an old word for elevetion, so we knew what to expect. In the disctane you can see the tower of the Perchtoldsdorf castle.
See the dark green hill to the right? There is a high rise, peering from behind (you see it pointing out left from the middle of the dark green hill to the right): this is Austria's highest building. This is not the best shot of the building but since it is there I thought I'd point it out. What else can we see? A few vineyards and inbetween former vineyards, which have been given up by the winemakers.

On we went and entered the village of Gießhübl where this former grocer's shop caught my eye:
On a Saturday at noon (as you can tell from the sunlight), it was closed. Maybe it is open Mon-Fri?

Cute, cute, cute.  

This is what the village looks like:
On our way back, downhill, I probably missed some details. Enough said! Have a nice weekend and enjoy the water.


early Paula