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My life in Vienna
July 2001 11 July
Another few weeks gone since my last update but I had a good reason for that: spent 18 days in Amsterdam. Being back there felt so good, seen so many friends again and met some very nice 'new' people. Never realised that a change of scenery can be so good. Well, the weather in the Netherlands helped a lot as well, I hit the two best weeks of a Dutch summer, what more did I want?
The first weekend was spent with my parents, partly to see them again and partly to pick up my bike, where would I have been without my bike in the city. Well, public transportation is very good and I could still have gone anywhere but cycling in Amsterdam is so much fun and so easy, at least for 'locals', I guess that tourists will have big problems with it. Traffic moves so smoothly, in the city noone really cares about way-of-right, people just stop before they get run over by someone or hit someone else. Well, ok, fair enough, I did get run over by a car, stupid woman didn't look to the left but kept watching to the right when she was standing still. Then she pulled up with full speed and hit me, no harm done apart from a scratch on my arm and a large scratch in the paint of her car but she was completely in panic, tough luck for her... All in all, traffic flows pretty nicely really :o)
I mostly stayed at Carla's place, the same place as I stayed at when she was working for BT in London and I was working for the GCSC in Amsterdam. Was very nice to see her again after such a long time. It also got me a lot of cycling exercise as her place is about 45 minutes cycling from the BT office I worked from. So the dimples in my calves and thighs show again, been a while ago (got very lazy in Vienna...).
Another few days were spent with Stella (Alphen) and Bert & Margriet (Leiden) and I did a day trip to Rotterdam. Nice to see Rotterdam again, they continue building there even though it seems quite full already. Well, there was plenty of space after the 1940-45 war when Germany bombed the old center out. Some buildings remained but it's mostly tall new office buildings currently. Quite nice to walk around there but it's definitely not Amsterdam with its old narrow streets and lots of nice cafes and places. Nice for a few hours though, took a roll of film so hopefully some nice pix from Rotterdam to show in the web galleries.
Working from the Amsterdam office was nice as well, everything and everyone at hand. Did some projects that are easier to do when you're on site than working remotely (for instance, moving network equipment around) and it's fun to have colleagues you can drink coffee with. Different way of working. Being back home I enjoy working from my home office as well, it's just so different.
The second weekend some friends from Wien came over to meet me in Amsterdam. They'd never been in Amsterdam before and I think they really enjoyed themselves. Also gave me a good excuse to go to the Maritime Museum, something you never do by yourself. It's very nice there, they got a replica of an old V.O.C. ship, one of the ships that used to sail to the west-indies to pick up spices. I thought they would be much larger but it seemed as if the space for the merchandise is about the size of 2 containers. And then to sail all the way to the Indies to pick up only two containers full of spices. Now I get it why things were so expensive back then, we still have a Dutch expression 'as expensive as pepper', I guess it would have been expensive...
To add more to my list of cultural things, I also went to the musicals Elisabeth and 42nd street. The first one I already saw the second week of it's life and now it's nearly finished, the last performance will be around the end of July. The actors were great, Danny de Munk who became big as a film actor is now on stage and has a great voice. He played the role of Lugeni much better than on the person on the CD. Elisabeth was not played by Pia Douwes, who is now on stage as Elisabeth in Essen/Germany but her 'replacement' has a much better voice, well, Pia can be better at some parts but overall I liked our actress better. 'De dood' was the same one as we saw the first time but he's too arrogant now, the role needs to be but he's more than he should be.
42 Street is not really worth talking about. The actors are all dancers who learnt acting for this musical. It looks more like amateur theater than anything else even though the dancing was very good. Can't blame the 'actors', the pice has been on stage for only 3 years now. The only part I really liked was the shadow play in the beginning. Simple concept: put a white screen on stage, shine a strong light from behind, put a dancer between the light and the screen et voila, you see a nice picture on the screen. Well, the rest is not even worth talking about, the storyline is very thin (American story, should say enough) so not even that was interesting. Ah well, I've been in the famous Carre theater in Amsterdam.
A big thanks to all people I spend more time with: Carla, Alberto, Stella, Bert & Margriet, my parents...
And of course a hello to all nice people I got to know in Amsterdam, Maria, Isa, Jo, Nicole, Paul & Isabel, Ulli & Thomas and the (other) people from GCSC Amsterdam...
In the mean time we are cat-sitting two cats, Minou and Cleo. They're very nice even though they have nails and are using them. Ah well, we will get to know them and know what they do and don't like so that we'll be safe. It's fun though to have some strange noises in the flat at times when you least expect it.
Next week I'll be in Madrid for work, one week in the 40 degrees heat. Hope I won't melt. Well, will spend most of my time in the -hopefully- air-conditioned BT building...
Just returned from a week in Madrid. The work proved to be alright, finished the tasks in time and had the weekend off for a little sightseeing. The temperature was around 18-20 degrees C in the early morning (chilly!) and between 28-38 degrees C in the afternoon. Very hot. fortunately the airco kept the temperature in the low 20s in the computerroom but as soon as I got out in the sun it was very hot.
I really enjoyed Madrid though, nice people and the waiters are just amazing, they remember exactly what you had the time of your previous visit and simply ask if you would like to have the same again. It really makes you feel welcome. Unfortunately my Spanish is, although improved, still not really there so apart from Buenos Dias, cafe con leche and adios there was not much conversation but all in all it was nice. Sitting outside watching the people and trying to ignore the extremely noisy traffic was nice. Time to start that Spanish course now...
Even though everyone had warned me for the cheap hostals (which are a basic cheap hotels with very small rooms in a housing estate) it was not too bad. Well, don't expect the quality and service of the 5* Ritz but it was not too bad. Didn't want to spend too much time in the evening in the hotel anyways.
For those of you waiting for great pictures, somehow I was not in the mood for pictures at all. Well, a few times I was but the light is so harsch during the day that nothing looked realy great. Might have worked out in black and white (people shots) but didn't feel like taking any photos this time, sorry.
This week is getting busy. The normal job task were put on a hold last week so they will have to be done this week. On wednesday we'll go to the operette in Mörbisch where a good friend is on stage during the summer. More next time...
August 2001 23 August
Nothing spectacular has happened over the past weeks, at least nothing to write about. Well, been to Maiersdorf a few times and have gotten into macro photography lately. Little bugs and butterflies and things. Wanted to buy a real macro lens but they're pretty expensive and the cheap nice one I wanted to have is hard to find in Vienna so I've just bought a cheap set of close-up lenses. They seem to do the job quite well, it's funny to see everything as big as in the real world on a photo. Well, actually haven't had to change to have a very good look as my negative scanner broke last week. Bought it new only 2 months ago, about 10 rolls of film went through it and it died, seems to be a mechanical problem so it's back at Minolta now, boring. Got 5 rolls of film awaiting to be scanned.
In the mean time I've completed half of the new modern ruins pages. I discovered an old dynamite factory close to Katrin's parents. The first time we went there I had one roll of film with me, well, that one was full in no time. The place looks so nice and there were no people around to walk in the picture so plenty of time to take pictures. The second time I came better prepared. Shot one roll in colour, one roll in black/white and one film through my Yashica TLR. The pictures turned out very nice, so much detail on the 6x6s. Anyways, as said, the page is about half-way ready but I'm waiting for the last film to be scanned and then I'll put the new section online.
September 2001 30 September
Just returned from my annual leave, one month away from home. A friend owns a house in Elika, which is a small village in the south of the Peloponese. The deal was that we would look after her two cats for the two months she was away and then we would look after her house for a month. Since we don't like to travel by plane so much (see what happened in another part of the world...), we took the train to Venice / Italy and took the ferry to Patra / Greece.
The first weeks were spent swimming, snorkeling and driving around the area. Then we took the bus to Sparta, Gythio and Corinth before going back to Patras to catch the ferry to Venice. After 3 days in Venice we took the train back home. All in all a relaxing holidays. Well, the cameras didn't think it was that relaxing as 17 rolls of film went through them. Unfortunately my scanner is still not back from repair so no way to get the pictures on the website yet. As soon as I have you can read it here.
For the moment it's back to work again. The next trip might be to Amsterdam end of October...
October 2001 12 October
The new section on the pages is live! As said before, I have discovered a great new topic for photography, modern ruins. The majority of the pictures is taken in and around the Nobel Pulverfabrik, some other were taken from buildings in Budapest and pictures from Greece are coming soon, as soon as my scanner has been repaired and I have had time to scan in the 17 rolls of film. For the moment, enjoy the new section on ruins...
November 2001 10 November
Have safely returned from Amsterdam again and, as usualy, I had a good time. Spending more time with less friends this time and since Katrin joined me we had to do some sightseeing as well so we've been around pretty much most of the western part of the Netherlands, Holland. As often some friends got only a little slice of my time but hey, that provides them with a reason to come visit me in Wien :o)
Besides that my scanner has been repaired again and is working fine again. Scanned in all rolls of film I took in Venezia, Greece and Austria. Finally I could take a look at the macro pictures I took with a macro diopter lens. It's really a new area of photography for me and some pictures worked out really well, others didn't turn out too well but I've learnt a lot from the pictures. Now I know what to look for when taking macro shots. Some evenings have been spent on the page updates, especially the photo section has been restyled considerably and the ruined building site has been through a major update as well.
Right now I'm down with a cold, well, I should be down as this is taking too long already but somehow there are too many things going on in my head that prevents me from sleeping and sweating the virus out. Ah well, working from home has it's advantages, also for the company, no need to fill out any sick-leave forms, can work as if nothing was wrong. I guess they should keep me :o)
In the mean time I'm thinking about where to go on holidays, still have a week off left. Will go to the Netherlands around christmas time but there are still 6 weeks in between. Been thinking about going to Hungary but that would be a better destination for next summer, a good cycling destination. Then I've been thinking about seeing more of Austria, some areas must be great now, snowy mountain tops and all that. Ah well, first have to schedule some days off before I can leave and of course I first need to get healthy again.
December 2001 18 December
Been busy working and to get my holiday photos printed. A lot of pictures now and unfortunately the photo album I wanted was sold out, can't complete the job now although I'm really looking forward to see all the pictures again. I discovered a lab that prints using a Fuji Frontier, great prints and you can scan pictures and have them printed on 300dpi. The pictures come out so much sharper than with analogue. With black and white you can have the picture exactly the way you want it, what a difference with analogue, where black and white hardly ever turns out the way I want it.