Wednesday, 29 January 2014

White and Black

Snow finally made its way to Vienna. The white snow cover is an invitation for b/w-photography.* Lets warm up with two snapshots.

Yesterday I came by this terrace and had to smile. This is the terrace I avoid in those insufferable hot summer nights during July and August, because the old horsechestnut-treetops almost build a roof above the terrace, which leads to close to no air circulation at all. Stuffy, hot, damp. Not for me.

Looking at this place in late January, you need a lot of phantasy to imagine this place being too hot for a relaxing drink after work. So in case you DON'T want to meet me in one of those awfully hot summer nights, go to the Café-Restaurant Rüdigerhof in the 5th district. And while you are there, maybe you want to pity these fellows:

Is it just me, or can you see it, too: How appealing short guys are, compared to tall buddies?

Happy black and white greetings,

*This recent movement towards total desaturation, aka b/w has NOTHING to do with the overwhelming visit at all-so-saturated Stadtpalais Liechtenstein. It comes from the books I have been studying lately, interesting books on B/W-photography.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Clothes no more

It feels to good to know what made you tired.

Sitting here, on the sofa, I exactly know why I am so tired right now. I have spent the afternoon busy de-cluttering. Running back and forth from the closet, since today's focus was on clothes.

High-end clutter from a high life, I was not meant to live chose not to live.
 Farewell, you life, who isn't meant to be mine, not in a lifetime. Boohoo. 

Some of the clutter is special. In more than just one way. Laura Ashley, tailor made, silk and cashmere ... I will try to get some bucks for these. That's why I've spent a decent time ironing as well.

The other clutter - the pile pictured below - will magically transform tomorrow at the homeless shelter. That's where clutter (=trousers and sweaters we don't wear anymore) turns into someone else's new wardrobe and by that it loses the label "clutter".
All clothes are without any flaws: no stains, no holes. Tomorrow's trip to the homeless shelter will be a true win-win so to say.
Shades of grey, blue, accompanied by white and black. A perfect staple wardrobe, including everything - from the coat to the undershirt. 

Mr Paula was very supportive. Not only did he let go off two trousers and two jackets, but provided me as well with carboloading.

You know. The brains rely on carbohydrates and de-cluttering the wardrobe is all about making decisions. And bending and stretching and more bending and stretching.

 He got the twist:
 Vegan Mariellenknödel on a sunday afternoon. He knows the recipe by heart. What an asset!

Now that I am really tired from all the de-cluttering, the photo clutter will have to wait until next week. 

Friday, 17 January 2014


Sometimes the German language seems strange to me:

I found the sign is outside a "Tabak-Trafik" today. Tabak-Trafik is the place where where you can buy cigarettes and newspapers.


The sign also mentions Spielkarten. Cards! I see the four man sitting at the table, smoking pipes or cigarettes, playing cards. Back then ...  

Would someone please be so kind and explain "Zeitungsverschleiss" to me?

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Time to desaturate a bit

Over night the golden light turned grey:
The photo above was taken at 11am. The light was poor but intriguing. 

Am I undemanding when I say I enjoy poor light conditions as much as yesterdays gorgeous light? Ok, maybe not that much. But still. The atmosphere as pictured above – perfect! 

The Riesenrad dissapears in the fog. 

Dear tourists, you, who plan to visit Vienna during this time of the year: we have a lot to offer, weatherwise!

I am sitting here with glowing red cheeks. The cold fog really confused my blood circulation. My fingers were freezing, now my face is burning, less unsaturated than the photos. ;-)

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Lets go into detail


Our visit today at the Stadtpalais Liechtenstein was spectacular. I can say I have not seen anything like this before. And I have seen Versailles, Schönbrunn, the renovated Albertina ...

There were so many details and more details, it started outside the palais:
 Not that I am sitting here, I start to discover all the details. I did not notice the coat of arms nor the lion when I took the photo.
It was the most beautfiful light you could imagine mid january in Vienna.

Bankgasse a quarter to four, today.

I guess my shallow protestant/catholic-style-theory the day before was not that silly at all.
Susan, this sneak preview is for you:


Did I promise too much gold?

Well, this is SO different from our trip to Liesing a few days ago.
It makes me laugh, just thinking of the two extremes in one city. So extreme, with a dose of craziness.

Good night!

I need to find a way to stop blogspot "enhancing" my low light photos (like the chandelier-photo above). Any ideas?

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Heritage: Protestant

In Austria Protestants form a minority. The influence of the Catholic church shows in many ways. In architecture for example.

Today I entered a building from 1920 and noticed the calm atmosphere. It is different to many other buildings from that epoche in Vienna.  

I googled the architect. Mr Sommerlatte. A quite peculiar name. His parents were Protestants.

My grandfather was Protestant. I have to go back to his youth to find a family member who shared my passion for hiking and ski mountaineering. I grew up in a couch potatoe environment. He went up the Austrian hills  - and later on together with my grandmother - in the early 1930's! So I obviously inherited some of his genes.

Gregor Mendel once said found out, how characteristics skip one generation and pop up in the next generation. Grandparents pass on a lot to the grandchildren. A a grain of that Protestant character made it to my genes. How else could I explain my deep sympathy for all that 'Protestant' stands for? The people, the cities, the provinces ... I can say I feel at home where the Protestants live. Silly, I know.

Friends thought that it is the North that meets my character. My passion for Hamburg and so on.
The more I think about it, the more obvious it seems to me, that it's not about geography, but more about values and believes. The new Protestant Museum in Fresach, Carinthia is worthwhile a visit.

In case you want to visit Mr Sommerlatte's building in Vienna –  you will find it here:

Tomorrow I will visit a more Catholic environment, the recently renovated and reopened Palais Liechtenstein. Ha! Gold, decor, call me in. You can guess my sign of the zodiac ;-)

Monday, 13 January 2014

Kokoschka seems puzzled

Today is St. Knut's Day. Over the past weeks, scenes like the one pictured below populated the streets – well, more likely the pavements - in Vienna:
The Austrian painter Oskar Kokoschka seems somehow puzzled! 

Are you familiar with this sight in your streets?

Every other day the garbage trucks collect the abandoned Christmas trees on the "Knut-spots".
Chopped trees, transported in plastic bags is a new trend, I have not seem them before. The trees probably got so dry, that they did not make it outside without losing too many needles.

EDIT 1 day later:
More trees, spotted not far from the first spot. You need some artistic skills, to be able to throw your tree on this batch.

Riding my bicycle behind one of those garbage trucks has never been as pleasent as while during the Knut-days. The trucks actually smell good! ... thanks to the pressed trees inside the truck and the evaporating essential oils from the trees. These days will be over soon. Until then:

have a good time!

PS: Mr Kokoschka is there, because there is a poster, advertising the exhibition you can visit at the Leopold Museum, it runs until March.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

whereabouts: Liesing

Liesing is the name of a stream in the south of Vienna and - better known - the name of the 23rd district of Vienna.
That's where we went for a walk yesterday.
Part of our route was the official Stadtwanderweg 7 (city trail nr 7), we mainly followed the stream Liesing, for hours. And ended in the 10th district, Favoriten.

We started in Alt Erlaa. When you drive to Vienna, arriving from the south, you will not miss these high rise buildings:

I had difficulties, capturing the architecture with my camera. Everthing is bending!
The "bathtub" in front of each balcony is convenient.

The "residence time" is long. Many residents in Alt Erlaa are residents from the "first generation" and when they move, they move to another apartment in the housing complex, lets say to a smaller apartment now that the kids move out.
  The architecture by Harry Glück dates back to "Alien", unmistakably.
The housing complex is so large, it comes with a private news network, here you can see the weatherforecast for Liesing:
A lot of the 1970's design has been preserved. The plastic turns organic over time but it is not getting renewed:
Even one of the - nowadays rare - old phone booths was allowed to stay.

Don't make the mistake and mistake this place with the banlieu. At the supermarket, old ladies get greeted by their husband's professional name (director, senate ...) - very, very middle-class, as to be found in Hietzing, Währing or Döbling (Vienna's noble districts in the West).
The shopping plaza in the centre. Now this looks old! 

Turn your head by 180 degrees and you will see this, seriously!:
 A few metres further, it looks like this:
 Ukrainian style in Vienna: bright colours :)

We even came cross some houses we could afford to buy (but not afford to maintain):

So on we walked, heading East. We came past a lake:

 And we did recognise some landmarks in the far distance:

 A Saturday afternoon in Vienna:

 On our way we crossed highways, underneath of course:
Yes, this walk did take ... HOURS!

 And had time for ethnological studies:

 After 3 hours I was not too sure, if we were on the right track to come past Blumenthal, the farm where I'd harvested vegetables with friend R a few months ago. But there we were, finally I made it to .... a toilet! And Mr Paula had the chance to meet the place I fell in love with this year. Everthing was quite.
 This is the field where hundreds of people harvest and look after their vegetables from May to November:

We saw plenty of old farmhouses as well as new single family homes:
Name of the road: Scheunenstraße. Barn road, how appropriate!

This is probably the southernmost the city gets:
Yep, this is Vienna, too!

Close to Oberlaa, where we hopped on the tram and drove back home.
Next time we will take the North of Vienna!

Today it's time for the museum. Unfortunately no cameras allowed. See you next week!


Austrians: Straightforward


I can see why the tax payers in Britain disapprove the study: Visit Britain Study (the PDF takes some time to load)

Nevertheless, it is not bad, not bad at all! They found out that we were interested in Baby George's birth and that organic food is becoming main-stream.
AND: how straightforward and demanding we can be. are.

I would say the taxes have been spent well. At least the results are correct.

I just finished a two-week email correspondence on the subject "apartment in Rome".
And I did not even ask if the apartment is non-smoking and if the heating is electric or oil fired.
I have not reached my best form in 2014, not yet.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Mt. Dobratsch revisited


At the beginning of our vacation we already visited Mount Dobratsch once, but did not make it up to the mountain top, due to heavy winds. Today we found perfect weather conditions and hiked all the way up to the top:

Fences to protect the villages in the valley from avalanches.

Another valley which glaciers formed over thousands of years:
 The old mountain chapell at 2100m above sealevel and a modern construction in front:
 The birds were cute at the beginning:
It did not take long and they made me feel quite nervous, getting closer and gathering with their folks:
... knowing that I would unwrap my sandwich in their presence - which I did not.
Larry David Moments - yes, always, please. Alfred Hitchcock Moments at 2100m? No, thank you. Under no circumstances! The steep abyss in front and in our back did not rise the comfort either:
 Shew, shw, away with you, please!

I might add the hike starts at 1700m above sealevel.  You make the first 900m by car. Not bad.
Which leaves you with approx. 450-500m up to the top.
This is probably the most scenic parking lot you can find in the southern hemisphere of Austria. Wow. wow. wow. What a beauty. The mountains in the back, not the AUDI!
Snow in front, fog in the valley, imitating snow. Sun on the top of the mountains - a very typical situation you find on many winter days in Carinthia.

When you dive into the fog on your way down to the valley it feels very bizarre, so dark all of a sudden. There is this saying "the sun always shines above the clouds". Here you can experience it life.