Saturday, 21 June 2014



Sorry for being absent. 1 month!

Vienna at this very moment

The last month has proven how photo-driven this blog actually is. I have not touched my cameras in weeks. There is not a lot happening, camera wise ...

Some days have been so hot, I went swimming after work and since the beach is public and I was on my own I left the camera at home. Just not safe.

The birds keep coming to our kitchen window, which keeps us busy from breakfast to dinner. We changed the bird diet and started to add nutts.

familiar scene at the dining table

We few weeks ago, Mr Paula and I decided to make plans for our upcoming vacation. We had no clue where to go. A beach would be nice. Not too hot. We prefer sand over stones. Hamburg? Brittany? Sicily? Cornwall? Where to go?!

Well, so yesterday I was was standing at the Russian consulate, waiting in a line, applying for a visa. Russia! We are going to explore the Baltic Sea in Kaliningrad. Kaliningrad is the name of the city and also the name of the Russian exclave, north of Poland and south of Latvia Lithuania.

No one I know knows Kaliningrad today. People know about Königsberg - the German city until 1946. And of course the amber ressources - Kalinigrad is said to hold 80% of the world's total amber ressources. But that's about it. It seems as if I am going to visit another blank area on the European map, after having visited Crimea in 2013.

Most tourists from abroad visit Kaliningrad as part of an organized group tour.  I was told that people in Kalinigrad hardly speak English or German. Which is the reason why I want to go to Kaliningrad: I want to improve my Russian skills. I will attend a class in a language school. I can not imagine a better place than a region where the travel books warn visitors about the poor English and German language skills on the countryside.

Russian lession on a saturday morning

Cursive writing! And I am able to figure out, what the letters actually mean. 
The credit goes to Ruslana, my Russian teacher in Vienna. She only uses cursive writing on the blackboard, thanks to her I am acutaly able to read cursive writing.

I guess you can say languages are another passion of mine. Besides photography.

The label "Russian" on this blog is going to grow. :-)  You can bet, I will return with stories, photos and individual outlooks.

This is my first time I have to apply for a visa to be allowed to visit a foreign country. Japan, USA, Ukraine, Kuba ... we just went there on vacation. I know that many people are used to applying for visas. Well, I am not. I guess as soon as I have my passport in my hands with the visa tucked on a page, I will relax.  Until then - I admit - I will remain a little nervous.  It is always a good thing to leave your comfort zone.

Have a relaxed weekend!


  1. liebe paula,
    so schööööööööööön, von dir zu lesen und dann noch dieses thema, denn kaliningrad steht ganz oben auf der liste der orte, die ich sehen will. früher im schulessen gab es regelmäßig königsberger klopse, mein vater nannte sie eines tages kaliningrader klopse und das haben wir einfach alle so übernommen. daran musste ich sofort denken ;)
    habe einen schönen sonntag und herzliche grüße aus berlin!

    1. Jööö! Danke, Bärbel, dass du mich auf deinem Radar behalten hast! :-*
      Ich musste bei Kaliningrad natürlich gleich an dich denken, weil du dich so sicher und vertraut auf russischem Terrain bewegst. (vergangene Reisen, die ich von deinen Postings kenne).
      Da hast du mir vieles voraus! Ich freue mich auf die Erfahrungen, die wir diesen Sommer machen werden. Und weniger schwül-drückendes Wetter!

      liebe Grüße, Paula

      PS: du hast aber einen coolen Vater! Andere sehen das bei weitem nicht so easy.
      PPS: falls du spontan auf eine Ausflug an die russische Ostsee hast: ich werde lange dort sein und Ende August werde ich mich dort schon wie zu Hause fühlen. *freu*

    2. Königsberg and Immanuel Kant are like one word for me. I wonder whether he is being commemorated there and how!

      Wishing you a wonderful Russian vacation,

      P.S.: Have you read any of Andreï Makine's books?

    3. Merisi, thank you for recommending Makine, he is new to me. Just recently Wladimir Putin announced that Russia is going to renovate/rebuild the house where Immanuel Kant was born. He sounded quite dedicated.

  2. What a coincidence! I was reading The New York Times special WWI section yesterday and was looking at its maps of European borders during 1914, after WWI and now and noticed that little area was labeled Russia even though it wasn't connected to the large expanse of land that I typically think of as Russia. I didn't think to research about it, but it turns out that's okay because you've done the work for me!

    1. What a coincidence, true!
      I had to look up where Kaliningrad is located. The surrounding states are way more familiar. Even the European weather report blanks out Kaliningrad, as white spot, as if there was nothing. Bizarre!