Saturday, 18 August 2012

In and Out

Did I tell you how much I love packing for a trip?
In fact I love packing so much, I try to make the action last as long as possible. I take my time and slowly but steadily the whole apartment is turning into an expedition-base-camp for my 3-week trip to Scotland.

Mr Paula assured me, this is not going to be a vacation but an adventure. So it is ok to make a fuss about the things I am going to pack. Anybody who has ever gone on an expedition knows weight counts. You have to think twice, before you pack your bags, because those stairs in the B&Bs are going to be really steep. And no page is going to carry your 20kg suitcase up the stairs. And you are going to move to another B&B every other day.

There are still a few days left for accomplishing the process.

Here is how far I've come so far:
Horray! The first-aid-kit is done!
Seasickness, sore throats and aching backs - no problem!

I am still undecided whether to take this book on the trip of leave it on the nightstand. We are talking pounds here, not ounces!
I will definitely bring these with me:
The concept of a vacation, that asks for gloves and a SPF 50-sunscreen at the same time, is ... quite exceptional. Everything is possible. Once more, ski mountaineering as a hobby proves its versatility and merino wool (I highly recommend the black crew neck shirt in 150 and 260gr by icebreaker) is imho the best base layer you can find.
Ihope I will need these!

No doubt this in going to be in my pocket:
 I am looking forward to recording some Glaswegian conversations.

Have a nice weekend and don't forget, tomorrow it's Party time. See you at the pool!

PS: I will disable the comment-function for the next three weeks, since I won't be online at all and offensive comments might be posted and disturb you, my dear readers! See you in autumn :-)

Denkanstoß: Vladimir Sorokin

Eben im Mittagsjournal gehört.
Hörenswert, was der Mann über Russland sagt:

(Dauer: 04:24)

EDIT: 3 Stunden später kehre ich von der Bücherei mit 2 Sorokin-Büchern heim. So läuft das bei mir. 

Und was wäre wohl aus Monty Python's Flying Circus geworden, wenn ihr Meaning of Life nicht in Großbritannien sondern Russland gedreht worden wäre? Gestern Abend, am Tag als das Urteil gefällt wurde, stand mir der Mund offen, als ich sah, wie weit Monty Python's Flying Circus es treibt. Tanzende Kardinäle als Einlage beim Lied Every Sperm is Sacred. :-o

Friday, 17 August 2012

Die Stadt des Kindes or Rather What Remained of It

If you have never heard of the Stadt des Kindes before and wish to learn about this unique project of the 1970's, please take a look here.


all photos: 12 August 2012

I am wonder if you, my dear loyal and fellow readers, can point out what distinguishes these photos from other photos that have been published on this blog? 


For many years I have spent my vacations far away from the sea, mainly in mountain-regions (Austrian Alps, Japanese Alps, French Alps, Auvergne (France) etc. etc.)

This year everything is different. All of a sudden it can't be liquid enough when it comes to choosing a destination. Hamburg/Germany, Sicily/Italy, Outer Hebrides/Scotland.
from far south ... (Syrakus in March 2012)
... to far north (Uig, Isle of Skye)
by John Allan

Who knows, who knows, maybe this is already part of the greater plan, the one that comes with a Queen and Black Tie and sails from either Hamburg or Southampton to NYC?

Having watched the sea (Sicily) and sailed only for 30 minutes (harbourferries in Hamburg), this is going to be a step up the ladder. 
I am going to test my stomach, sailing 1h45 from Uig to Tarbert. Lets hope the sea will be as calm as in the photo above, because the experience in the ferry sailing Oostende to Dover was not too pleasant. I remember the bathroom too well. At least I know it is not a good idea to drink coffee before going on a ship. A full Scottish breakfast might not be wise, either.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Getting Ready for Caledonia - Part V

A thistle om the slopes of Schneeberg. The bees on top of the thistles seemed drunken.

No, I did not get stung by a bee or a thistle. I wore bad socks while walking in presumably good hiking boots. As a result I have blisters on both heels. Good news: my trip won't start tomorrow, which means there is a little time for the heels to heal. Plus: I know I need new socks. How knew socks can turn bad over time? And by time I am speaking in terms of decades. ;-)

We hiked for 5 hours. Interesting: on my walking-holiday I am going to walk 5 hours each day. For 6 days in a row. I am impressed. And not sure how I am going to make it. 
I feel like taking my old camera on the trip to Scotland. My wish to visit Scotland dates back to the times when I got my first and up to today only analogue reflex camera. It feels right to capture the magic landscape on film and not with digits.
Later today I am going to pick up a test-prints I shot jsut to be sure the camera still works without dust from inner components that fell apart over time (mostly plastic-sponges). It has been only 3 years that I quit using the old camera. Feels like decades ago.
Can you sense how those blisters dampen my mood?

Monday, 13 August 2012

Getting Ready for Caledonia - Part IV

I focus on useful preparations instead such as pimping my gear:
My first gore-tex gear ever. I had to become 40 years old and plan a trip to the Outer Hebrides to pimp my gear. Colour was not an issue. The jacket was on sale and the boots fit perfectly. And were on sale.
Niece FF joined us last weekend on a walk in the rain in the Viennese Woods. I wanted to wear my hiking boots at least for a few hours before taking them with me to Scotland.
The sky was black when we left the house and the moment we arrived at the hiking-trail, it started to rain. Heavily. So we started our walk with a rest and some sandwiches.
We thought Niece Paula was so brave to join us on this boring walk. She acutally enjoyed the "silly walk". I mean who want to walk around in the woods on a windy, rainy cold day? She does. Without a single word of complaint. She happily cought frogs with her tiny hands, watched dung beetles pushing around dog-poo and attentively noticed so many details we adults would have missed. As her older brother stated not long ago: "Her genes are different from ours (by ours he was referring to his parents and sisiters)". Mr Paula and I have no idea how my genes managed to get inside her cells. Anyone deniying the fact that there is a lot of aunt Paula in that girl would be a fool.
Lets hope she grows up without that constant fear of getting wet! :)
In the end the afternoon was a win-win-win: I returned without a single blister, loving my new boots, Niece Paula was energised after the walk in nature and my sister thanked us for taking her on a walk.

So far this has been one of the best parts of "Getting Ready for Caledonia" so far.

I must not forget to admit I fell for the Scotish accent. We did a few phone-calles, booking rooms on the Isle of Skye and all those people sounded so lovely. Not just very friendly and welcoming but also very positive. Even those who won't have a free room for us. ;-) 

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Getting Ready For Caledonia - Part III

Time to watch some Scotish movies. Lets start with the Outer Hebrides.
I must admit I am not quite sure about the connotations 'The Wicker Man' evokes. The pictures I had on my mind when thinking of the Outer Hebrides were not quite the ones the movie has to offer. 
No doubt it would help to get some information on the genre firsthand, whether the movie is a romantic comedy (Local Hero) or a cult-horror-classic (The Wicker Man).

PS: I am going to close the comment-section during my absence, so in case you want to comment, do it soon! Gates will close August 23.

Monday, 6 August 2012

100m and Beyond

Wow. This feels really good!
I just returned from an after-work swim and having swum already 20x 50m breast stroke, I thought why not give it a try and try your good old friend, the crawl. It has been some time.

I was already in my late twenties, when I finally learned how to crawl. Friends showed me how to do it. It is not the best idea, asking your friends to teach you something you are eager to learn.
Some of my girlfriends took many lessons at the local gym. They never became friends with the most efficient way to glide through the water: The Crawl.

Breast strokes are sooo annoyingly non-efficient, compared to crawling.

I am looking forward to my soon-to-be-toned upper arms and am particulary enjoying the fact how happy the crawl made me - the simple fact, that I crawl like others do breast strokes. Not exactly effortless, my crawling, but still, I arrive at the end of the pool with a pace of 4 armstrokes/breath

I start with 5 armstrokes which means I breath in at both sides:
left arm up in the air + breathing in / right arm / left arm / right arm / left arm / right arm in the air +breathing in etc etc

Yay, I am that good! Breathing in at both sides is a distinguising characteristic. ;-)
At least the guys notice it and say "you can breath at boths sides, respect!"

I know there are many women who can crawl like other brush their teeth: absolutely effortless. I am sure they would never make such a fuss about it.
One of my best friends in the past could crawl like she was born in the sea. I will never forget how I stood at the beach and admired her while she was gliding through the water. To me crawling is an elegant motion.

Oh, and over all the happiness that comes with this evening's crawling, I should not forget the endorphines, that do their work, too.

What really helped me back then in my late twenties was my mantra. It goes like this: "Sydney 2000". Did I expect myself to jump in that Olympic pool in Sydney? I don't know. Probably not. But still it worked. I was highly motivated and continued arguing with my friends who tried to teach me how to crawl and finally reached the break through by swimming from one end of the pool to other, making those 50m.
I don't know where the next games will take place. But in case you need a mantra, XYZ 2016 should work!

I am not going to convert m to yards. By now (London 20129 everyone should be familiar with 100m :-))

If you are looking for a place to go for an after-work swim and don't want to leave your goods unguarded at the beach,  I can recommend the Schönbrunner Bad.
 The view after the after-work swim is pure luxury: The palace, seen from the obelisk after sunset

Those who have been following this blog for a year might be familiar with the side effects, that come with the Schönbrunner Bad once a year:
It's when the Schönbrunner Bad turns into a Schönbrunner Bad like in "bad", the opposite of good. Or should I say naughty?

This is what I love about blogging: the blog never forgets. And makes me enjoy things I would normally avoid at all costs! In case you wonder: no, they don't charge any extra money on that day.
Maybe I am hyperventilating with all the hyperlinks, linking to one and the same page. But the mere thought of that day makes me hyperventilate. You get the picture, right?

Back to today:

  More happy after-work swimmers leaving Schönbrunn.

Today may have been the last hot day for some time, the next front is approaching from the west. Goodbye sun!

One reason I quit swimming in public pools a few years ago was my concern about my highlighted hair. I fear my blonde hair might get this green touch every blonde woman is afraid of. But hey, what day would be better than today for starting off with the new project: turning into a green haired woman.

You know what I am thinking  ... the little green men on Mars.
Ahem, sorry, but am I the only one to notice something in this picture that is not supposed to be inside the studio August 6 2012?

What is Curiosity doing in that studio? It is meant to be some thousend million miles away from home. NASA could at least covered Curisosity, no? I am a big fan of Curiosity, since Curiosity is my second name. But still I want to believe the stories NASA sells us and not discover the despicable truth. The one we all know since The Real Stuff.

However, I will keep you updated how my hair turns green. Meanwhile I must go and continue admiring THIS:
(nono, this one is for you!)
 Yesterday early evening at the Bundessportbad Alte Donau. I know, I know, it is no longer the Bundessportbad but Bundesbad. They took the sport out of the bad. Strange, no?

The only reason why I can not recommend the Bundessportbad/Bundesbad for an after-work swim are its opening-hours: The beach at the Alte Donau closes at 7.30, people must leave the water by 7pm whereas the Schönbrunner Bad closes its gates at 10pm until feragosto. 
Of course you could go anywhere at the Neue Donau. There you would have to leave your clothes and goods unguarded since no lockers are available.

Since I like the photos that I took yesterday sooo much, I add another one:
And another one!
Interesting behavioural change:
As soon as I am walking around wearing a fuchsia bikini, I have no problem taking "street photos" (in the meaning of portraying stranger without permission) whereas I could never do so while walking around on the streets of Vienna, fully clothed.
Listening to David Gray live at the Point in my MP3 player helps a lot when it comes to "acting like I just don't care".
Wow. Brave Paula! Standing in front of all those quasi-Hilfiger meets A&F-commercial guys and girls, some could be my children, and taking this photo. The picture is not complete without the size of my bikini D 42 (F 44, IT 46, US 14, UK 16). Nothing to be proud of and 42 quasi the opposite of cool. Add the MP3 player to that picture, but you have to clip to the loop of the bikini at the hip and voila, here you have the picture of an almost nerdy apprearance.

Oh, and then I did not bother and started looking through the viewfinder, since the display was not helpful in the bright sunlight. Using a viewfinder is the right thing to do when you use a DSLR. But using the Casio Exilim's viewfinder and bowing the knews in a rather stiff way at the same time ... anyhow! I must take advantage of my behavioural change, triggerd by my bikini, at least when it comes to photography, because I do think it brings me to new heights. Do you agree?

Even using the viewfinder I did not see anything at all. The sunlight was so bright. I took at least a dozen photos at that point.

It was right there at this moment, when I felt absolutely happy where I was and I did not miss Hamburg  - for the first time in months. I am glad I finally connected with the beauty that lies within ... Vienna.

It might have to do with all the water and ships:

Must go and rinse the bathing suit that has been soaking in the sink for too long. As long as it's The Laundress Delicate Wash. it's soaking in, it should be fine.

Please excuse the mistakes you find within this posting. I started to proof-read found some spelling mistakes, but the I continued to write and probably made more mistakes. And it got so late. Too late for any improvement. Sorry for that!

Friday, 3 August 2012

Getting Ready For Caledonia - Part II

This is causing me sleepless nights. The boot-issue it is. (The sneaker below is just lying there to demonstrate the scale of the boot)

I hiked in France and Austria with my leather boots, over rocks and meadows. They once got really wet during my holiday in Ireland. Leather is not the best material when it comes to water contact. Once they are wet, they remain wet for two days minimum. 

So I thought I better ask the dear people in Scotland who organise the hiking-holiday, if these boots will be ok for walks in Scotland. I must admit, those guide-books, telling the most horrible stories about deep water holes and "4 seasons in a day" did their job. (Their main aim is to get people like me  – who can easily hike up to 2800m – to respect those lower mountains in Scotland. Yes, they are only 1000m high, but hikes in Scotland are at least as challenging as our 2800m high mountains-hikes, if not more.
I've received an answer and it seems those hikes are going to be more challenging compared to any hikes I experienced so far:
"You boots look firm enough to me for Scotland and still in a very good state. However if they do not have a waterproof liner it is very likely that you will get wet feet. The west coast of Scotland is wet and boggy and you will certainly have to cross a lot of wet ground.
Using gaiters/gamaschen will help a bit with keeping your boots/feet dry and if you don't have them, we always have a couple of pairs in the minibus for clients to use during the holiday.
You certainly have to fill them with newspaper every evening to dry them out from the inside and replace the newspapers at least once before you go asleep."

Every evening? Twice? 
And they are NOT referring to rainfalls.    

Must start with a new mantra: I am doing this freely. I am not getting paid for this. I pay for this. This is what I want.

OK, I am off to the newsstand!

PS: of course, Goretex would be an option, if only I did not loathe shopping and shoe-shopping above all kinds of shopping so much. :-/

Thursday, 2 August 2012


 I am not the only one who is enjoying the exceptionally dry weather. 
Lets take convertible drivers for example. Now this is a big tv-screen!
 Or take those people who enjoy their breakfast while sitting under sun umbrellas.

If those people sitting in front of Café Dommayer only knew they sat down in the totally not-so-fancy part of the café, the one facing the street. The really charming part is behind the building, in a garden with a ground covered with white pebble stones. Who does not love the sound pepples makes?
I guess you have to stick to your priorities: its either "to see and to be seen" (facing the street) or "drinking coffee with decent style" (in the garden in the backyard). Although I must say the elderly couple to the right does prove style, right?
More happy people, this time enjoying their breakfast downtown.

The photos were taken earlier today, on my way to work. They are 100% drive-by-shootings. My first intention was to post another "Ways to Work Part #"-Posting. In the end I decided to dedicate these three to today's nice weather. Horray!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

A Tribute to Faux Fuchsia

There is this one woman on the internet who teaches us to Never Knowingly Under-Cushion. Her name is Faux Fuchsia.Did Mr Paula secretly follow her blog?

Because this is what I've spotted this morning:
A scanner-bedding, made of cushions in the colours white, off-white, creme and beige.

Mr Paula had constructed a cushioned scanner-device since the scanner is really noisy. It also does vibrate a lot which produces extra noise.

The cushions actually quietened the scanner down perfectly. Which proves: The stylish lady from Brisbane is always right!

Getting Ready For Caledonia - Part I

This is a corner in Stevenson St in Oban. It shows a Laundry. I will be safe. I am going to sleep well tonight.  

Those who know me from past postings, will understand, why this Google Street View-image soothes me no end. Because there is this dominant Virgo-aspect in my horoscope, that makes me worry about almost everything thinkable and imaginable, such as dirty laundry during a 3-week-vacation and how much to pack. And no, a huge bulky suitcase is not an option, because Paula travels light. If only those warm clothes were less bulky. I am bringing my merino ski-underwear with me. And mittens. And beanies. The ski-underwear comforted me during my stay in Hamburg in June and I am sure will do a good job and keep me warm during the first days of September in Scotland.

20 days left to worry less every day. Positive anticipation is taking over. I am heading North, again!

In Part II you are going to read more about this:
I think those letters on the building are cute: "Shortbread 2"

This is what ferry MAIN TERMINALS look like, at least when you take a ferry in Scotland.

I must admit, I've expected at least some high life, some kind of a "densely built area" surrounding the MAIN terminal when reading about Talbert and Uig. Compared to the houses, the approaching ferry makes an appearance similar to Cunard's Queen Mary in Hamburg.

Where are you heading to?