Monday, 30 April 2012

Why not Blairgowrie?

Photo: markkil
 As long as I can remember, I have always longed for a trip to Scotland. 

"Greece or Scotland for a holiday?" was one of the entry question any boy who 'd wanted to win my heart had to answer.

Yes, there will be grey skies and it is very likely to rain. But guess what: Who is the woman that stays indoors all day long, as soon as the temperatures rise above 25°C and leaves the house after sunset? Yes, it's me. Cool temperatures don't scare me. Warm/hot temperatures do.

These photos were taken at the Blairgowrie Highland Games 2010. I could as well go to the famous Highland Games a few miles up north, you know, the one the Royal familiy attends but somehow I feel far more attracted to the impro-style on the field of Blairgowrie, let alone the elderly people resting on the field as pictured in the above photo, perfect!

This Country House is not far from the field, this one neither:

I love the idea of visiting Mongolia without having to study Chinese in word and letters. When I saw this photos, I knew I had found my Mongolia within Europe at Corrour station, 3hrs from Glasgow:

Photo by steflas

A place so remote, only train pass by, since there is no street around the station. :-D

xo Paula

PS: Ta-dah, the first posting labelled "Scotland". More to come!

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Sunday Morning

... feels just right, when I listen to Helene Grimaud in the radio
... while watching the trees moving on the roof.
I guess the sofa is a nice alternative to sitting in the concert hall. Those seats where designed decades ago, when people where shorter compared to today's standards. And the women, browsing through the programme. Shhhhk. Shhhhk. Shhhhhk. And their patent leather bags scrunching. And the patent leather boots scrunching when they move their feet which they do all the time. Not to forget the caughing. And the ushers who sell the programmes counting the coins right in front of the doors. ding kling ding. I guess here you have it, the reason, while I prefer a season-ticket for the theatre and listend to concerts at home.
Even though the broadcasting of the concert is a recording of last week, they also broadcast the "break", because often the broadcasting is live so they developped a format for the 20-30 min. break. I always love the break, because that's when you have the chance to listen to directors of recent theatre productions before the premier. Today they talk about the play "Wastwater", we will be seing it next sunday. I feel priviledged to live in a country not only where we can visit excellent concerts and various theatre productions but also enjoy those events while sitting on our sofa.

This is called "Bildungsauftrag", educational mandate of the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation and those rare moments, when the ORF is not too busy spending all its money on developping new entertainment formats and and broadcasting sports events, they do fulfull this mandate really well.

Not exactly, there is this single radio channel, oe1, where you can listen to concerts and artists-talks almost 24/7 and also listen to it up to 7 days later.

Speaking of 7 days later: this has been waiting for me for quite a while, maybe today is the day to get it done:
Sunday morning is also the perfect time for checking the blog statistics. Chopped hair on the floor and chopped hair on a cape knocked the IKEA dressing table off the top. By far!

Friday, 27 April 2012


A few nights ago I spent some time in the kitchen after a long absence from my favourite place in the apartment: the kitchen. While the carotte-courgette-loafs where frizzling in the pan, I was cooling down, leaving some busy weeks of work behind me. And admiring my re-grown nails.
I am not exaggerating: In my opinion these nails do look like fake/gel/whatever-you-can-buy-nails: perfect!

The secret to healthy nails is: you have to be very busy, so there is no time left for activities such as cooking or backing. Being notably absent in the kitchen is the secret. Over the Christmas Season my nails were literally gone - all the sugar, butter and dishwashing-detergent during the Christmas Season had killed them. The nails where brittling, soft, peeling, every nail-horror you could imagine was ending at my fingertips. I even had thoughts about changing my profile-thumbnail (Haha, thumbNAIL), since it no longer related to me. Finally, they are back, just in time for some summery polishes.

This photo was taken around 10.30 pm, usually not my dinner time. But I felt as if I needed something to cool down.The loafs where still sizzling when I met this tiny guy:

Soon it will make sense again to clean the windows. The site vis a vis is coming to an end. The black winter sky makes a nice background.
For the last 4 months (since New Year's Eve), these two horseshoes have been resting on our sideboard:
They do magic work, look how lucky I am:

No, I am not talking about the joy of queuing up.
 ... living in a city, where artisanal bread is finally available, after decades (yes, DECADES!) of a more than depressing state of "breadloaf-like-shaped-substances", that had nothing in common with actual bread.
 ... a job which gives variety on a regular basis.

 ... meeting new people in this city, who lead me to perfect after-work-chill-out-places. The "Adria Wien" has been around for a few years but I never made it there. Sooo relaxé!
 ... knowing where the best ice-cream is sold and treasuring the memory of those two 12yr-old girls, who loved to visit this ice-cream parlour the very first day it reopened after the winter-break. And 27 years later I still feel the excitement when the "kleines Gemischtes" is being served. 
... being close friends who not only understand our (mine and Mr Paula's) childish attitude but also support it by adding this lovely danish pilot to our home.

I think I finally cooled down. Right in time for a hot weekend, temperatures are said to go up to 30°C. Which is 30° more compared to the temperatures last night.
Have a wonderful weekend!

xo Paula

PS: in case you can't find the facettes in this posting, take a 2nd look at the tiny green guy.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012


This was the tulips-bed, two weeks ago:
And this is today:
It seems only children take their time and stop to admire the beauty-en-passent. T. says I managed to stay in contact with the child within me. Only do I have to bend my knees to be eye-to-eye with those blossoms. Outch, my back! ;-)

Saturday, 21 April 2012

The Hangover

Thank you, B!
B is 40 and I woke up at 2 pm, after a long night partying. When did we party the last time ... ?

Today, around 4 pm - lets say right after breakfast - Mr Paula and I circled the City centre. I had to stick my nose into those lilacs/syringa bushes at Heldenplatz and Volksgarten.
Their scent is divine.
Japanese people passionately watch cherry-blossoms. Hanami.
 I name my passion rirami. rira is japanese for syringa. (pronounced lee-la). I highly recommend this passion.

 Not far from the rirami-scenery you will find the Theseus-temple

I was suprised how different my perception of what I saw today was compared to the time before my journey to Sicily. I obviously learned a lot about the shape and construction of antique temples during that trip. Amazing, how learning changes your perspective.
  For the first time after years (decades?), it is white and open to public.
one piece of modern art is on display.

There have been discussions concerning the protection of the impeccable white appearance. Good to see, the people are allowed to sit on the stairs.

  Next to the temple you find groups of tulips and likewise groups of tourists.

The upper middle class also fancies a stroll. 
 Around 5 pm I felt incredible hung over and hungry. We paid our favourite Japanese kiosk a visit and it did not take long and I melted away. The food, ... the soup, oishiiii desu! We met a couple we know from work. They both are as devoted to Japan as Mr Paula and I are. We chatted about the fun we have, talking in Japanese, those few phrases we know by heart ...

Laying your head on the counter (the dishes are served on the counter) somehow still feels appropriate, since Japanese people take any chance they find for a short nap. Hmmm. This was nice, closing my eyes, my head resting on the counter, waiting for korokke and agebi at 5 pm, hearing the sounds from the kitchen behind me and the chatter of the family (it is a family run business). Though I am not so sure, if the kiosk was the appropriate place for a short head-rest.

And then it all added up. All it takes is a hangover, incredible delicious korokke and agebi with dashi and the fear of 2 weeks rain in Scotland* to get us to checking flights and shinkansen-connections to Kyuushu. Kyuushu is a southern Japanese island, far away from Fukushima and a mild, dry climate around October/November.

Have a wonderful rirami-season!

PS: the new blogspot-workflow is a pest. takes forever to put everything in the right place, all those invisible line-breaks that would not show up during editing a posting ...

* On our way to B's party yesterday evening it was raining heavily. I looked at Mr Paula and said "This is what our trip to Scotland could be like - and probably will be like: rain and 11°C. A  vacation, that is meant to be a hiking-trip.

Sunday, 15 April 2012


On my way to work this LEGO consruction caught my eye. 

The basic rectangular LEGO pieces are the best, says Gary Chang, a Hong Kong-based architect, head of the Edge Design Institut, Hong Kong, and I totally agree.

Have a nice Sunday! I am off to work, editing the mountain rescue-team recordings. I hope I make it to work before the rain sets in. Grey skies in Vienna today.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Soft Compositions Striking a Cord

Tulips in Vienna, 2011

Oops! I just realised I've missed last years tulips! Probably because those yellow/white-flower beds were boring, compared to the glamour, that caused a stir back in 2010:
It were those flower beds in 2010 that made me curious. I wanted to know more about the project tulip in Vienna and ended up paying the municipal gardeners a visit. Recording device included. You do know they start very early in the morning, the gardeners ... 

So ever since then, Mr Paula and I look forward to the new tulips, until they show their colours. 

This year their appearance is lets say, less dramatic, compared to 2010, one could say "more subtle", but way more exciting compared to 2010. It seems they did a wonderful job, those gardeners, who ordered the 1,1 mio tulip bulbs. Take a look:

 The gardeners anticipated the new trend, colour blocking, quite well

So what have we got: 3 shades of fuchsia/pink:

The bright fuchsia to be found in the monochromatic colour-blocking beds as seen above. But attention, did you notice those  tulips inbetween, the ones which are not in bloom yet. Who knows what colour is still to come!

Two colours, "berry-violett" +  pale pink
(as seen below)
I would call the pale pink colour soft and delicate, compared to the mayimum-hue berry-tone. At the same time, those pale pink tulips are taller than the berry-coloured ones, which puts the whole composition into a unique setting. 

(Consider yourself lucky that I was not your art-teacher. I porbably would have forced you to write pages on stuff like that, flower beds and the meaning of colours. Thoughts on colours in flower beds ... Thinking back, I might have been tortured to write pages on no-sense topics like flower beds in the past.)

For this photo I nearly risced my life - i kneeled down in the middle of the Landesgerichtsstraße, a 3-lane-road in the rare moment while no car was heading my way.

Vix, our tulips can be admired under very different circumstances compared to your tulip-experience. The gardeners probably planted those tulips for the pleasure of the drivers stuck in stop&go-traffic during rush-hour?

Mr Paula is still away, I updated him a few days ago and told him the gardeners once more have done an excellent job. I really like the softness of the composition, they do strike a cord in me.

Just in time Vix posted a highly impressive tulip acre in Oregon! I guess that would make this posting a cross-posting? 
Any tulip lovers around to join the passion for the tulips? Show us your beloved tulip flower beds!
Vix, one more year and I promise I will add the label "Tulips", to simplify the search in this blog!

The tulip-documentary has turned into a veritable chronology. So I like to finish with a guess for 2013: orange tulips ( maybe together with white tulips?) 

And my apologies for letting out 2011. Now that I remember, I really had other things on my mind around that time of the year, including an ICU. Isn't it wonderful, how "past" the past can become over time?

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

With a Silver Spoon

I might have to revise some of my beliefs. To begin with I might acknowledge I actually did grow up with a silver spoon in my mouth. Really? Me?

Not any silver spoon but Hansel and Gretel. 

Yesterday I brought the tinged spoon to my parent's place, knowing I would find silver-polish in their household. While I happily polished the tinged spoon, I kept on repeating those lyrics in my mind, the one where the woman did grow up with no silver spoon in her mouth. It was a ballade on a rap/funk/soul-album*  Oh yes, the story of a female upper middle class student, growing up in the cottage, listening to ghetto-rap in the early 90's. That's another story. Probably not worth being told.

*I  browsed through my music collection - I was sure it was Lauryn Hill, but I could not find the song. Any idea?

Poor Mr Paula?

I notice this mechanism that works every single time.

Send Mr Paula away, on a vacation (ok, I never send him away, he asks and I allow him to leave). A few weeks later (2 are fine, 3 work even better) he comes back and I confront him with a new fait accompli.

I remember him returning back home after a 3 week vacation*, which was quite pricey and I greeted him like this "I have a brilliant idea: Lets travel to Japan! I've checked the flights, Austrian flies non-stop to Tokyo!"

I remember his "not so happy" reaction back then, having just spent a huge part of his all-year-vacation-time and a lot of money. So I learned from the past and already sent him an email in order to get attunded. The mail reads like this:

"Hi! Sicily was great. Already busy making plans for our next trip. btw, learning a new language might come in handy".

Mr Paula is clever. He knows me. His answer read like this:

Russland-Reise 2010 (Transsibirische Eisenbahn
StepMap Russland-Reise 2010 (Transsibirische Eisenbahn

Gerhard's website AndersReisen is very inspirational.

In case you wonder when we are going to pack our suitcases, lets become familiar with Paula's travel-routines. The first step is mastering the language to an beginners/intermediate level, so I can ask for the way under any circumstance. I remember us rushing down the steps to catch a train and asking someone who got on the train in Japanese if this was the train to Yudanaka. This really helps!! (Especialy when the person you ask is Japanese and undestands Japanese ;))

Sometimes you end up in a region, a place where people speak no foreign languages. It takes off lots of stress to know their language a bit.
Yes, I learn languages for a simple 3-4 week long vacation. And yes, it's absolutely worth it!

I've always imagined Russian to be an elegant complement in my language-bouquet (German, English, French and a bit of Japanese).
Plus I will finally be able to understand those sales people in the Hermes boutique in Vienna, who greet customers in Russian. *gg*

In case you are wondering why Mr Paula goes on vacations without me: Ever joined scuba divers while you for yourself are no diver? Well, they don't dive, but their passion is similar to those of scuba divers and so are the dinner-talks. Passionate, circing around one single passion which is absolutely not mine.

* ok, I did let him take off his shoes and sit down on the sofa before starting

Monday, 9 April 2012

Two Circles

Over the last weeks I've noticed something about the Blogsphere. The difference between German and English blogs (here I am referring to the language, not the nations):

While my time in the English-writing blogsphere is full of pleasures - vacations, DIY-projects, creative hobbies and guidelines to good manners, the German writing blogsphere seems to be is full of self-doubts and secrets, leading to password-protected postings and sometimes even abandoned blogs, where the bloggers felt the need to start a new blog, after having posted too many intimate details about their private life (mostly about cheating on husbands/wives).

? ? ?

To me the blogsphere works in circles - I follow a blog, read his / her comments, find other bloggers who share similar interests. Blogs seem to attract people who think alike.

How did I end up in the German-writing Blogsphere? A follower opened the gate to the German speaking blogsphere. I visited her blog, checked out her list of followers and one lead to another. Reading those blogs (written by bloggers from Switzerland, Austria and Germany) exhausts me, makes me feel worn out. Sick. Those German-written blogs seem like therapies without therapists, but many other sick people likewise. Women who want to leave their husbands, Husbands who cheat on their wives. In the German writing Blogsphere you will also find way more men compared to the English-writing blogsphere. All search anonymity.

I have the strong suspicion that many of those who blog about their intimate secrets carry the strong desire to get caught by their betrayed partner, so the partner would draw the line those people are not able to draw. This seems to be so unfair.
Meanwhile everbody out there can enter their lives and get to know things you rather don't know. Writing at password-protected laptops while their partners are out of the house. Until they reach the point where they start to protect their postings with passwords. Or switch to a new blog, try to escape from their old blog, because they realise it contains a lot that should have remained unsaid. Forgetting, that the blogroll of their followers still provides the link to the abandoned blog ...

What uncomforts me the most is how those bloggers share their worries with foreigners instead of talking to the people they spend their lives with. Still I choose to spend part of my free time and peep into those blogs on a regular basis. And it leaves me with a sour taste. 

I know those blogs represent only a small part of the German-written-Blogsphere but still, it seems overwhelming and huge.

Is this really a German-only issue, spreading out intimate issues and problems in marriage with the world?

All the English-written blogs I know seem to be so healthy and comforting. Even when they deal with problems ... many things are left unsaid, for the better. It seems I was lucky to choose English as the language for this blog, attracting the right kind of people.
I feel so glad that you are here, so I can return to you after an exhausting session of reading German-written blogs. You are the antidote to all the betrayal I find in those German-written blogs. Maybe it's a kind of false politeness, where many things remain unwritten. I guess those circles of blogs also exist in the English-written Blogsphere, but not in the circle I am in with.

This posting might motivate some of my dear German-writing followers to quit following my blog. I did not want to offend you. I like what YOU have to say. But when I spend too much time in your Blogsphere, reading what your followers have to say, it makes me feel confused, sometimes even sick.

I had these thoughts on my mind far too long, to keep them unwritten any longer.

xo Paula

Monday, 2 April 2012

Packing Light for a Week ... in Sicily

This was not my first 1-week-trip ever, but the first 1-week-trip that included 5 hotels in 8 nights! That's why I had decided to travel light. My suitcase was a carry-on luggage. Here you can see it after returning back home, the expandable case is opened, due to heavy gift shopping :-)
 Written on the carry-on trolley you can see the room rumbers  - written and crossed out. 

The idea was to take a small, light luggage (11kg) so I would not hurt my back while checking in and out over the week. The reason those numbers were written on the luggage were simple: we did not have to carry our luggage a single time. Other people, mostly men, did the work for us. We placed our suitcases in front of the hotel room door and in the evening, after checking in at the next hotel, the suitcases were delivered to our room. Every single time. Now I know and might choose a larger suitcase, so I can keep my carry-on trolley as cabin-luggage, which is way more comfortable compared to a backbag!

You might wonder how one can pack so light that shoes, clothes and all small necessities fit in such a small suitcase? I will show you: (photos were taken after the journey, that's why all the shirts look worn out)
  • 2 cashmere v-neck sweaters (benetton) - because they don't itch and won't smell badly, not even after several days of heavy wear.
  • 5 shirts in light colours  - because they protect me from the cold winds that blow on any island in march plus they reflect the sunlight, so I won't get hot when standing somewhere in direct sunlight
  • 1 shawl cotton - to protect my lungs from toxic fumes on the top of the vulcano and to look stylish anytime I wrap it around my neck
  • 1 silk shawl in case it gets really cold
  • 1 headscarf to protect my hair from UV-beams and my head from catching too much sun 
  • 2 long sleeved t-shirts (elegang style, boat-neck, turtle-neck) and 1 short sleeved-t-shirt
  • 1 fluffy white skirt, cotton for any occasion
  • 1 pair of wolford leggings in mauve to provide some warmth in case the skirt is not enough.
  • 1 pair of leather gloves and a cashmere beany (for the trip up Mr Etna)
  • jewellery: a pair of golden studs and a golden bean-necklace (placed on the navy sweater)
  • Shoes: a pair of goretex sneakers and a pair of ballerinas
I also packed these, but did not make any use out of them:
By the time we arrived at the hotel in the evening, the sun was already very low.
 I really did not want to risk to catch a cold.
 And this we also did not need, not a single time. Which was phantastic!

I had always admired a former colleague who knew how to pack light. One day she arrived at the office with her luggage  - she planned on leaving the city straight after work. Her luggage was the backbag she used to use for coming to the office, too. For a 4-night-city-trip! My purse for a single day at work was already heavier than her luggage. Now I feel somehow as if I might have made a real step towards the "art of light travelling", something I always dreamt of. Maybe you know what I am talking about when I tell you I love it, how some people go on a plane with nothing but a slim suitcase or a small purse. No bags, no carry-on luggage, no backbag. They seem to be so  ... stressless. Maybe that's what I want to accomplish. I mean, just think of those passengers, who get nervous when boarding starts - because they fear their huge carry-on luggage won't fit in the hand-luggage compartments. Don't you loathe it, when you find yourself pulling the stupid heavy suitcase up and down one or two stairs, lifting it up on the luggage-rack in the hotel room. Reaching the weight limit and sometimes even exceeding the limit and having to unpack at the check-in counter?
That's how I used to end up as a "what-if"-girl. Except for the unpacking - I have seen this often before.
Since I had packed so light, there was space for gifts and souvenirs:
Marzipan fruits, Paste de Mandorle, Naracamicie (actually 2 shirs, one is already in the laundry, it comes with GREAT DRAMATIC ruches in plain white). Plus 2 CD's we had the pleasure to listen to while being on the bus.
The goretex shoes soon proved to be too warm, I was lucky and found the perfect pair of matching sneakers to accomplish my shirt-composition.

Not pictured: pyjamas, socks, underwear and a thermo-underwear for Mt Etna. A pair of jeans, that were too warm and soon too tight. Yes, the dolce ...
Plus my washing things, a small stain bar (in case I spill some fruit juice over my shirts), camera, purse, sunscreen, 1 book*, sunglasses and documents where in a (not very fancy) backbag. Catania is probably not the best place for LV & Co.

Looking back at the week with this unusually small suitcase (compared to other suitcases from group members) with only a small selection of clothes I must say this small suitcase was part of the fun I had.

Also travelling with shirts is so great! Especially in Italy, where everyone puts emphasis on making a "bella figura", it felt just right to wear impeccably ironed shirts.

Who would have thought that I could actually make it with a single carry-on luggage through a week, from 0m up to 3000m above sealevel. Those who don't know me probably won't get the excitement. I guess it all started off from the weekend in the mountain hut, where I had to carry my stuff up the mountain. That taught me to pack light. I really like how 2012 develops. 

*that's probably the biggest accomplishment. To bring just 1 single book.
But what if the book does not please me? 
The "What if"-approach and the "Stressless"-way of life are obviously incompatible. 
Now that I have encountered both ways, I know which one to choose.

xo Paula