Friday, 26 August 2011

A Bare Adventure or: My Larry David Moment

My dears, I am exhausted and I do not feel silly at all. What happened? Tonight, after work, I cycled to another lido in Vienna, a big lido, not at the Alte Donau but at the Neue Donau. I went there a few times, it is open 24/7. When I arrived there, I asked a few guys if they would be so kind and look after my clothes (the lido is an open space, no lockers, no keys around).

The moment I wanted to pull the bathing suit out of my bag I realized, I did not bring it with me.

There are some areas known as nude-bathing-areas but the one where I landed was definitely not a nude bathing zone. So I decided to walk away from the guys, elegantly – as if I had not asked them 5 seconds before to look after my stuff – and left my clothes as close to the water as I could, covering myself with my huge towel and diving into the water, throwing the towel back to the shore the moment before I dived into the water. The water is so opaque and it was already getting dark, I did not fear that I could offend anyone with my nude appearance in the water.
The bathing suit that was supposed to come with me and might have saved me from some trouble, if only I had not forgotten it on the office where it hang to dry from the swim the day before. (here it hangs in the bathroom, still not dry)

I swam and swam and checked my keys around my waist - I had planned to tuck them into the cleavage of my bathing suit, the safest place to keep keys on a belt during a swim. Not today. Since they were not secured in my cleavage but dangling, I had to check every few seconds if they were still there.
My "bathing suit" of tonight.

And I swam and I swam, one way. The water is a dammed up stream. Tonight was the last really warm night, with a strong breeze blowing from the south. I was surprised how well I had improved on my speed since I've started swimming on a regulary basis a few weeks ago, I got so far in no time! ... yes, I made it far but I did NOT improve on my swimming speed. I already feared it might have been the drift and not my muscle strength that got me so far in no time.
The moment I turned around and my fears where affirmed: It was the wind, blowing from the south, which had created a streaming that got me way further than I had planned to go and the waves I had not noticed before, because I had been swimming in their direction, now were slapping against my face. (This is where the tragic Larry David moment sets in, the happy tune changes to the dramatic tune).

I could see the people, promenading - the swim had brought me up north to the more populated area at the lido while I was fighting to get back.
Leaving the water and walking back, naked along the promenade with my barb-wire-key-belt around my waist was definitely NO option.

The place where my clothes and my towel waited for me seemed to be out of reach. It was getting darker and darker, already 30 mins past sunset. And 1 km left to swim against the drift. I decided to swim closer to the shore, so I would feel safer and might change to walking in the water. This thought did not include the algea, growing up to the top of the water. Now I was not only swiming against the drift but also struggling with my feet to get rid of the algeas that wrapped around my feet and legs, not to forget the regular key-check, if they where still there. The area is known for thefts, I imagined how I would wander around in the dark, naked with the keybelt, asking people to give me their clothes because I would not even have a bathing suit to get back home (people sometimes need to get home in their bathing suits due to thefts). On my way to the lido I had passed a restaurant and a waitress was wearing a company-T-shirt. I imagined they might have one extra T-shirt for me, so I could tie a borrowed towel around my hip and wear the T-shirt. You can tell I had plenty of time for every kind of thougts.

This meant to be a fun-trip after work! Well, it seemed as if everyone at the lido was having a good time, except for me. I just said to myself "stupid stupid stupid". Finally, I arrived at the starting point, my towel was still there, my clothes where were I had left them before. I covered myself with the towel, left the water, sat down on the grass and stared at the peach-pink-violet-brown shades this tropic sky over the city provided tonight. Inside I was trembling.

I don't know if you can relate to Larry David, I for myself know it helped me make it through the situation. During the worse parts I felt like Lisa who once fell ill in India and believed she was going to die. Lisa combated the anxieties of youth and solo travel. No one knew where I was at that moment, the water is opaque, no chance to get saved. All they would find two days later would be my bicycle, chained to the light pole at the promenade.

During the better parts I felt like Kristin, who once believed she had a jailbraker in the back of her car and lost her cool. Either way, I was not alone, with my keybelt in the opaque drift at nightfall, some of your stories were with me. Now I added mine, still a bit short of breath.

I am so glad the heat wave will finally break tomorrow night, we had 98°F for 5 days in a row. Did I already tell you, I prefer cool climates?

Thursday, 25 August 2011


Much to my surprise the red stool turned out to become the favourite item from my last apartment-tour. I fear you've gotten the impression that the place where own is a 100% streamline-designed place, living the perfection. Well, it is not. The stool is in very good company with the ladder:
Some of you living in the US might recognize the design, the ladder is really heavy, it is probably made of iron and dates back from the time before aluminium-ladders hit the market. This ladder has heavy srews and nuts and wooden steps.

When I moved out, my mother happily handed the ladder over and got herself a new, light aluminium ladder with additional steps. This ladder is actually quite small. Our cleaning lady who is small, too, does not reach the tops of our wardrobe. Which is not a bad idea at all, since it leaves me with a safe place where I could store some goods I would not want the cleaning lady to get in her hands. She already told me she needs a higher ladder, which I tend to "forget".
Yes, paranoia at large. Or maybe I don't want to replace this one with a new one.

The ladder moved in with me when I moved out from my parent's place. Ever since I was at kindergarden-age I had enjoyed climbing up those wooden steps so much. One of the first projects in the appartment after moving in was the re-painting of the walls. A lot of paint dripped on the steps and on the handle over the past 16 years. I would never clean the ladder from all the stains, because the stains tell the story that's past:
A close up of past colours:
Bright Yellow was the entrance hall, because the entrance hall gets little daylight.
Dark Red was chosen for one wall in the bed room, the love-wall of a single-woman
(I placed a candle in front of the wall and created a very special atmosphere).
And all shades of white and cream have followed ever since.

The photo was taken in my kitchen, where I "store" the ladder against the wall. You see what I like about my kitchen: it gets bright daylight!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

In The Right Place

When I moved back in into our apartment after the staycation at my parent's place, I found a companion in my bed, awaiting me with a smile.
I don't know how put him there: our cleaning lady or Mr Paula? I like both imaginings, someone I know tucks the rabbit under the blanket. Whoever it was, he/she knows how to brighten up my mood. It are the moments like this one, when I fold back the cover and finde the rabbit waiting for me when I know that I am in the right place, surrounded by the people who read me.

Apropos reading: we still did not put a "Keine Werbung" (=No promotional brochures/folders) at our door so we collect all kinds of promotions hanging at our door handle every day. One day always used to be a special day: the day the IKEA catalogue arrived.
IKEA did change over the years and unfortunately it did not hop on the bandwagon of de-cluttering or be it simple simplifying. Instead it provides tons of ideas how to stuff more stuff in your limited space.

In my eyes all these pages give me mere horror.
All those photos show ideal living rooms. OMG! Get me out of of there!
The manager's words don't save the damage IKEA has done, no, it makes it even worse by promising that with IKEA's help, you will be able to fill every niche and corner, however small, with a storage-solution.

Next to the new IKEA concept (well, new - it has been around for a few years) comes to whole Selfstorage-hype. Both leave me with unease.

I will post a few photos I've taken around my apartment to give you an idea what I fancy:
There used to be a time, when IKEA's designers came up with series like the IKEA PS and 365+ which never let you down. Why didn't they evolve a whole philosophy around the series?
Where there's room, there remains room
Where there are walls, you won't find shelves
My MIL said it is waste of space when we spread out the HIFI on the top of a chest of drawers, 220cm wide. Maybe it is waste to others but not to us, since there is no need to keep the space for anything else - there is nothing around that would need the space the HIFI takes up.

Where there are groceries, you won't find them in a mess of piles and heaps but in order:
Where there are groceries, you will find them in orderYou will never find a rack in my shower. A neat box suffices. Please excuse the state of the chair, it was the first thing I did on my own, painting the chair red.
I plan on repainting it, white maybe. Eddie Ross provides the best inspirations for this project.
One drawer is enough for all place mats and dish towels.
Since we don't need the room for stuff, we have room for silly stuff like waste paper

Before I moved in, I always lived in places where I could not find a single wall that would be free from the ceiling down to the floor where I could lean against to strech my calves after a workout.It are walls like this that I value as a huge achievement.

I have been living in the same apartment for more than 15 years. I guesss I am a bit proud of the fact that you still find walls going down to the floor and that I did not give in to consumerism and did not search for every possible ways how to clutter up every corner of this apartment with the perfect storage item IKEA provides (three-dimensional of course, floors, walls, ceilings). Instead I constantly kept reducing everything to the max. Mr Paula earns a big credit here, since he is the other half who supports this reduced lifestyle on mere 613 sqft.

K2 today

Today an Austrian woman did something no other woman on Earth did before her: Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner completed her collection of 8000m mountain tops without supplementary oxygen. It was her 7th attempt at the K2 and today she finally made it up to the top. I am very impressed and feel really happy for her. Reinhold Messner from South Tyrol was the first men to do it - reaching every top above 8000m without supplementary oxygen.

Bravo Gerlinde!

Btw: if you never heard of Gerlinde before you must not be surprised, because not exactly the celebrity-type of woman.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

165 of 390 nights

Much to our surprise summer decided to pay us a visit, at last!

And a new follower made its way to this blog, welcome intownsville. Hope the blankets keep you warm during the winter months!

30°C accompany the water melon, a perfect match.

Yesterday, after work, I paid my appartment a visit, emtpied the mailbox, checked if everything was safe. And of course I was curious to see how the construction site was getting along ...
I can only imagine the noise when they cut the walls to enlarge the window fronts.
While I took the photos a rather slimey neighbour approached me and asked if I take the photos for a complaint. I don't know how you feel about those people but I try to stay away from those who have only negative motifs. The truth is, I love to log processes with my camera. The flowers in the window boxes, the cake before and after the hour in the oven ... and construction sites.
Somehow the site turned in a not so friendly state of construction til I left.
Tons of concrete to come, delivered by trucks, running motors, wrrmmmmm wrmmmmmm.
Before I'd left for the summer, this used to be just 1 container
I can only imagine how tired the men working at the site must feel every evening.

I should add: the title of the posting refers to this posting, back from March 2011:
390 nights, 390 mornings

165/390 means we are not even half way through. But the worst part will be over soon. The worst part to me is the dust, when they tear down the walls. The men working there might enjoy seeing me again, waving at them every now and then. Until then I enjoy my last days of my staycation, where trees and nothing but trees meet my eyes. In case you wonder why Mr Paula does not meet my eyes - he is on his vacation in France and returns end of August. Until then I take advantage of my short single-life. hehe.

Sunday, 14 August 2011


Ferragosto is the time, when summer reaches it's peak. Around August 15th everyone is on vacation. In Italy most of the shops are closed during August. Also in the neighbourhood where I am staying right now more and more shops are also closed ... at least until August 22. I actually like the fact that people celebrate their vacation. Imagine everyone would celebrate a staycation like I do!

It is never too early to get ready for the next winter. While Harrods in London is selling Christmas souvenirs, the newly opened Moncler Shop on Kohlmarkt offers cool-climate-chambers:
Interesting: the exterior if the shop looks like an interior decoration.

I thought "Why not show you some of our visitors?" Here they come:
A woman wearing a maxi shirt and a maxi golden purse, a delightful view!
Mountain spring water at every other corner
I keep on wondering: What is it, that says "I am not from here"? Is it just the shorts?

Not all the tourists wear shorts. During a lunch break I studied the thoroughly and came to the conclusion the genes are different. The faces are different, the hair ... Especially Caucasians from overseas (US, UK, AUS) are so different, they never seem to blend in. It fascinates me! How a culture shapes you from the inside and not just the clothes you wear. I will continue observating tourists, trying to nail it down, what it is!

Yesterday was a sunny day:
View from the balcony
View from the bedroom window
I was so right, missing this over the last weeks. Yesterday I sang all the way to the DIY market, where I was going to buy a box. What a task! A plastic box for 5 EUR. Photos will follow. I was wearing my hot pants and listening to Wes Anderson soundtracks, a perfect summer afternoon.

Even better when still on a runner's high after the Week10Day3 run. This would be a typical post workout/run meal:
Kaiserschmarrn with apple compote and plum compote and a glass of fresh skimmed milk,
not to forget the glass of water to rehydrate
During my evening runs in Schönbrunn I miss the fountain's water-plays, they shut down the fountain at 4pm! The fountain must be very delicate, it had been shut down for decades, its renovation took almost a decade.
In my youth we were allowed to take the old stairway,
it had been fenced after the renovation of the fountain.

Today (yes! Another sunny day) I went swimming in Schönbrunn. No, not inside the fountain bassin, but at the place where the pool party took place a few weeks ago.
If those tourist, seeking refreshment in the shade of trees, only knew ....
there is a public pool behind the fountain! ... they might forget about the sightseeing.

The footwalk reminds me of a scenery Gustav Klimt painted at Lake Attersee. I could look at trees forever:
Trees at 1pm and later ...
... in the evening at 7.30pm
Inbetween those hours I swam and rested on a sunbed. The last time I went to the pool it was so cool, I had to leave right after I got out of the water, shivering from the cold, but not today! Today I rested on the sunbed for hours and even got dizzy!!!! I can't remember when I have been lying on a sunbed, dizzy, closing my eyes .... and feeling perfectly bored.
I was looking at the trees and looking out for airplanes heading towards VIA

Since temperatures were above 25°C, I even enjoyed staying in the shade and took lots of photos of the lockers. They come with a rustic charm:
The mirror is so large! It is larger than any mirror in my place or my parent's place or my sister's place. Is it fair, mirroring the bikini-image of oneself? It is very hard not to look.I've checked in for exactly the same locker for 3 times in a row. 211 suits me.This is what a busy afternoon looks like? The sunday afternoon you have been always afraid of going to the public pools because they where overly crowded?

The Viennese don't go to public pools as long as the temperature is below 30°C. At least not in en masse. Imagine taking photos in the locker room sunday afternoon in August and no one is around.
A plane!
... and another one!
I brought my de-caf in a thermos and earned it after my second swim.
Oh yes, and I took extra care NOT to spill the coffee over my wonderful post-pool-party bikini.

Leaving the pool only because your empty stomach tells you so is no fun. I acted "pro' " and brought a cooling-bag with lots of plastic dishes with me. The retired ladies, sitting in front of their cabins could not to better.

Today's pool menue included:
Apple pie (home-made)
Cous-cous salad (home-made)
Quarter of a Water Melon
De-caf Café latte (home-made)

People, reading - this view almost wettens my eyes. I don't know why, but it warms my heart, just knowing people still enjoy reading when given the chance and time and place to read.
I am not very good at throwing beach bags over fences before climbing over them, so I leave the park before the gates close. This is the gatekeeper's kiosk.
Today I've watched runners and joggers passing by (one is pictured to the far right), while I was carrying my beach bag and my cooling-bag. Tomorrow I will be one of them, running once again.

Please excuse if my staycation reports bore you to death. They are as close to a vacation as a staycation can get. You can trust me - I had the pleasure to look at my sister's 240 photos which she had taken during her family vacation: at the beach, at the pool, at the lodge, at dinner, at the pool ... today's posting should get pretty close to the boredom real vacation photos can trigger.

One week from today things be back to normal, no more boring sceneries but back to life. I will move back to the inner city district. Until then I need to recharge my mum's car battery. I was stupid and did not close one door properly, leaving the light inside the car on ... until the battery was empty. Not good! Tomorrow I will get equipped and start with the red endings and then the black endings and as soon as the motor runs, turn on the lights or the aircondition ...
I feel stupid because I did the same mistake, exactly the same mistake 2 years ago. Same car, same garage, same door!
It is jinxed: the car parks in a garage. At home we don't have a garage and in the streets you always see if the light inside the car is still on when you get out of the car (when returning home at night). In the garage it is light as day, thanks to the lights that go automatically when you drive in the garage. My brother-in-law locks himself out amd I don't close doors properly. Jinxed, jinxed!