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My life in Vienna
January 2001After a relaxing weekend around NYE the year started nicely as well. The first week was spent as home, working on lots of small issues and the second week was spent in Amsterdam. My manager came over from the US for a meeting so I just had to go there as well to discuss things. Was interesting and as always great fun to be in Amsterdam again.
Was again staying at a very good friend and also helped him move from the city centre (Jordaan) to Suburbia (Nieuw Sloten). While the old house was very nicely located it was also cold, very cold. The walls only a few inches thick and single-pane windows. The new house is well insulated and laaaaaarge, 120m2. So yeah, after having carried the stuff from the old place, from the 3rd and 4th floor on the back of the building via the narrow staircase downstairs we had to carry it up to the first floor on the new house, never ever had an easy move like that, people tend to be moving to the 10th floor in old buildings without elevators it seems :o)
The last day was, as usual, spent shopping. Buying books and lots of good food such as kaas, stroopwafels, haagse hopjes, drop and hagelslag. Austria has nice food but being in between cultures you always try to get the best of both worlds so yeah, carrying nothing but my camera gear into Amsterdam and then coming out with a full backpack and two full plastic bags, well, fair enough, some stuff is for Katrin's family.
One of the problems is always that you can't see everyone, it would take two weeks to see them all
For all the people I missed in NL this time: hopefully we can see each other next time.
For the people I haven't missed this time: it was fun and of course we'll stay in touch.
February 2001The past weeks have been quite busy. Lots of work writing new training material for Concert to train people in Sydney in Atlanta later on. In the mean time more and more people find me to work on orders and problems, it's nice to be part of the global community again, one of the things I missed working for DIS, which is much more orienting no the domestic Austrian market. Some trips coming up as well so I'm happy.
The first weekend of February we went to the Volksoper to see the musical 'The man of La Mancha'. The musical is very nice but the performers, who were mostly older, well-known Austrians, were, to say it nicely, way over their top. The voices were pretty bad. To have people who can't sing (anymore) in a musical is not really what you want. :o)
March 2001I know, I've been quiet for over the past weeks but still around. Been to Budapest for business for a week at the end of February. Budapest is very nice, the architecture is a lot like Vienna but 40 years of communism do show. Maintenance on buildings seems to have been low priority and there are still plenty of old cars such as Trabant and Polski Fiat (Fiat 127) driving around. One of the other differences with Vienna is that the Donau flows straight through the city so the entire feeling is different. In Vienna the river is more or less outside the city, well, there is lots of building going on so eventually the Donau might become part of the city but right now, the shores are packed with harbour- and industrial buildings. Not really nice to walk around.
The people in Budapest are also very different from Vienna, much more interested in other cultures it seems. Well, language is a problem, English is only being taught for 10 years now so all the 'grown-ups' have a very limited English or German vocabulary but it was not to hard to get around, people still try to understand you, as opposed to most Viennese.
Budapest was great for pictures so the two half-days of spare time were spent running around and taking pictures. Watch this space for the results...
As for the weather, Springtime is here, it's so nice to work from home, having the windows open to smell the fresh spring-air, play some nice music and have the city noises in the background. It's also nice to work on projects so that I can use my time the way I want to. Lunch doesn't have to be from 12 till 13, I could take a bit longer, or skip lunch altogether. This way of working is very nice, hope to stay with this job in this way for a while...
This page seems to look very boring now. Well, I haven't taken many pictures over the winter so no new pictures to show you. Right now 4 rolls are waiting to get developed and printed but I had a reason to wait with that. Well, things worked out differently so the pictures will get developed soon. Hopefully I'll find the time to scan them and put them on the page sometime, next week or so. Just keep on coming back here :o)
Regular visitors will have noticed the changes on the page. Mid-January a friend asked me for help on the home page she created, www.arge-auer.at and while playing a little with that one, I started getting ideas for the re-styling of my home page. Then Katrin decided to finally have her home page, www.3106.net/katrin done so we did that in an evening and I had suddenly a lot of ideas. Well, these pages are the result of it all. It didn't take too much to re-style. Changing the fonts took a few hours but all in all, no pages were lost and the design is much nicer, well, my opinion, tell me what you think...
April 2001 14 April
Another month gone since the last update. Some projects at work have kept me busy, did some studying and watched some movies. Nothing too exciting really so not much to write about either...
In the mean time I really feel like going on a trip again, maybe a few days cycling, maybe a few days hiking, just somewhere differt for a few days. My idea of going on a one day cycling trip for about 100 km or so had to be postponed since the weather is really strange now. One day you can walk around in a t-shirt, the other day there is some heavy snow. Well, it's not always like that, sometimes the weather changes like that every 5 minutes! Who wants to go on a cycling trip then...?
The plans for the summer holiday have changed again. We had decided to go to Scotland for the summer but things have changed and we will now go somewhere nearer. Maybe a train/city kind of thing, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and some towns in Germany. Or we might go to the East; Hungary, Romania, Slovenia. Will see, no plans, no need to book anything so one day we might just take the first train passing by. I also want to cycle to Hallstatt via Krems this year. Last's years bike trip went through Krems as well and it was a nice town to spend an evening. Then 2/3 days later I would arrive in Hallstatt, which is a nice town as well, see my September 2000 page for more info. On the other hand, Budapest might also be a nice destination, just 3 days away and something different from Austria. So many options. I'll just need more days off :o) The future will tell what the real holidays has been, just watch this space...
In the mean time some trips are coming up, some not sure others are. The first one will be to Sankt Gallen in Switzerland to finally meet a friend of mine again. We haven't seen each other for three years now so it's about time to go see her again.
May 2001 4 May
As said, last weekend was spent in Sankt Gallen. Was nice and relaxing and good to see some friends again. Great weather so we spent lots of time in front of cafes, walking around to do something and then sitting in front of another cafe. The Swiss ice coffee is just great...
Last week I got a new camera, an old Praktica MTL5b, bringing the collection up to a total of 11 cameras (6 old boxes, 2 TLRs, 2 Canon EOS and now a Praktica). I have more cameras now than I took pictures over the past month so it's a bit of an overkill but it's fun to play with the new all-manual camera, it's so completely different to work with. It already starts when you want to put the film in, somehow it needs to be folded in place. Then when you want to take a picture you'll need to focus, set the aperture and time, check on the light meter, cock the shutter, frame the picture and take it. Not too easy but maybe I'll get used to it. The good thing is that the lenses are quite cheap. Well, I guess not as high quality as the newer lenses but instead of spending lots of money on canon lenses I now spent a little on a 135/3.5, a 29/2.8, 50/2.8 and a 28-70/2.8(!) zoom. See if it all works, the first film is not full yet.
In the mean time Alberto is recreating his home page, it looks very nice so I'm proud of my former student.
The weather is just great, 30 degrees C and not too windy at all so all windows are open, some music on (borrowed 3 Jekyll and Hyde CDs from Andy, the musical will start in Wien in September) and some work to do, it's very nice. No obnoxious colleagues walking around in my office, no noisy airconditioning and still the occasional outdoor lunch with friends. Life can be a lot worse...
The first cycling trip has been completed. Well, only half the distance I'd planned on doing but that was because of the weather. When don't have to cycle through rain and hail I'd rather not do that. Anyway, on Saturday morning I got up early, took the bike and cycled to Katrin's parents in Maiersdorf.
The planned road was lost soon already as things are not easy in Vienna and since I'm living close to the city centre it takes about 15 kilometers to at least leave the city. I then decided not to cycle on the busy main road but to take the backroad via the hills to see something nice as well. Then I hit a bike route which I took for a while but since it was going over muddy meadows and through dark forrests with pebble-stone roads it was not going fast enough. So the last stretch was on a main road again. Temperatures were high and my fitness is to an all-time low, going down hills went fine but going up took a lot of energy. Need more exercise for sure!
On Saturday night a thunderstorm started that lasted till sunday morning. Since the forecast was more storms/rain and hail during the entire day I decided to leave the bike and take the train back home. In the mean time I found some nice places to cycle to around Maiersdorf next time so it's good to have a bike out there as well, still have my freshly maintained racing bike in Vienna for the local trips. As said before, need to cycle, got plenty of plans for nice trips but the cycling muscles are pretty much gone, time for a change....
In the mean time the holiday destination has been planned. We will look after a friend's cats for two months and then in September we will use her house on Peloponnese/Greece for a few weeks. We will probably travel slowly, take a train to Venice, then the ferry and bus to Athens and then the bus to the south of Peloponnese, seeing some things on the way down.
Last week my mum and sister were over for five days. It was very nice again to play the tour guide but I'm afraid that I've overdone it a little. They already got tired after an hour walking and we usually did many more hours per day. Not used to being a tourist and not used to walk so much and do so many things during one day they were very tired afterwards. I thought it was nice though, they were too tired to answer :o)
Then last weekend we had Stella and her boyfriend over for a 2 day visit. We have seen Schönbrunn, some cafes, some restaurants and some sights again. For me it was the second time in a short time that I went to Schönbrunn, for Katrin the 3rd. Usually we go there once a year and now suddenly so often... It was nice to have them over, they were not so much into walking either and I was unable to talk them into it so it was very relaxing, maybe next time I'll have to do the same with my mum.
For the rest things are fine, it starts to show that my life is going too well right now as I'm gaining weight. Being at home for the entire day, working, not cycling anymore and going out a lot is not getting you any skinnier really so yeah, time to take it easy on the food and to start cycling again. We will go to Katrin's parents next weekend and since my bike is there as well now I'll plan a nice trip in that area. Would be fun! Ok, talk to you soon, there are plans to be in Amsterdam end of June so might see some of you soon. Take care...
The first half of the year 2001 is gone. Continue here to read about my life during the second half of 2001...