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My life in Vienna
July 2002 13 July
Just returned to Wien after a 2.5 weeks stay in Amsterdam. Usually I try to complete the projects I have at work before a trip starts so that there is a little more freedom during the day. Well, the same this time but unfortunately there were some live issues that had to be dealt with plus there was the on-call, which means that people can call me for urgent problems 24 hours a day. Sometimes on-call is quiet, not many issues, so not much to do but this time it was different. Some people were on leave or ill and there were things to take care off. So instead of cycling around town evey day and work during the early mornings and late evenings it meant staying it home during normal working hours instead.
For the rest is was great to see some friends again. Did not see many people this time but Albert and Carla, thanks for the stay and friendship. I really enjoy having you as friends! Bert, Margiet, Paultje and Stella: thanks for the visits. With all of you it was too short but next time.... Ah well, it always seems to short with you... :o(
As said on the previous pages, I got a new hobby: collecting old books. Old means: pre-1950. Well, there are some exceptions like the great cooking book I could buy for nearly nothing. Anyway, the hobby put the second hand book shop in the Netherlands, de Slegte, in a new light. So many nice books. Unfortunately they know about books and they know their value so it's hard to find a bargain there but alas, compared to newer books their prices are reasonable. Especially because of the fact that new books in The Netherlands are way overpriced because the prices are made in a Government-supported Kartel. Well, I can unstand the reason for the pricing politics else we would only be able to buy translated American bestsellers but... ah well... nothing to worry about, there are old books to buy and they look a lot more interesting on the book shelf than newer books.
Anyway, some great finds this time: a few books about the history of Amsterdam, with old photos. After having wondered why the photos look so much different from what you see today I finally figured out what is wrong these days: cars. A whole city full of cars looks completely different from a city with only a few cars. Maybe we should throw out all the cars in Amsterdam for a few days so that we can take great pictures. That will also be the day to turn to Large Format photography, a small negative for an occasion that rare is a waste. Hey, a good reason to buy a new camera. Ok ok, I already have about 20 cameras but nothing that large... :o)
Also found a Charles Dickens collection with Jugenstil pictures on the cover and inside. It looks great and since I like Dickens it was impossible to resist such a chance. Got some old travel books: a story written by a Englishman who travelled 3 weeks through the Netherlands and Belgium in the 30s and a story of someone who travelled to the Antarctica during the early 1900s.
Then today, visiting the Saturday flea market in Vienna, I found some old photo albums. Usually these sell for quite a lot of money on eBay but the prices were fair this time and I bought three. Funny to look at someone else's holidays. One of them is a very small book with 4x4cm contact prints of a 1926 Venice visit and a 1936 Munich visit. The photos look so cute. The other albums are nice as well but well, might be tempted to sell them on eBay later, bring in some money for nicer things. Hope things will get busy again during the weekends, time to slow down a little, spending too much money on books and as all books together weigh a lot, it will be a lot more difficult to move to a new place next year...
Next time I'll put some more pictures on-line. Took some nice ones at the Dolphinarium, a zoo where they only have Dolpins (and a few other animals).
The past weeks have been very nice. Went to some bookshops and the Flomarkt and bought many old books and some photoalbums. Funny to look at someone else's life. Last week a friend asked me to go cycling with him. The temperature was good, for a change, but we also had a strong headwind the first 25 kilometers. Of course that changed into a backwind on the way back, which was good, I was getting slow and weak already. Really not used to cycling anymore. The beer and food after the tour were great though and also so nearby our place. Strange that we had never discovered the restaurant before. Ah well, another great place with great food for our list.
A few days earlier we went to a great cocktail bar and restaurant kind of place. Hhhmmm, too many nice places around my flat.
Tomorrow we'll go to Hamburg for work and pleasure. Work because I've been asked to be the wedding photographer during a friend's wedding, pleasure because we'll do some sightseeing the two days after the wedding. Of course the wedding will be fun as well and it's great to see those friends again...
The weekend after next's is planned for working in Katrin's parents' forrest. Cutting old trees down and changing them into firewood. The weekend after that Carla will come over and we'll go on a 4 day hiking trip in the Salzkammergut area. So many things going on right now.
Wow, Katja and Stephan's wedding in Hamburg is over. Never knew that taking pictures can be so much work. Now I know what the pros are talking about. We arrived on Thursday evening by train, we then checked out the location till it was too dark. The idea was to take pictures of the official part at the town hall in the morning, then 3 hours to take nice pictures of the couple, then the church and in the evening the party. As it was pretty grey outside we decided to do the nice pictures on Saturday but we were still working from Friday 10am till Saturday morning 3am. Then I was too tired (and under influence of too many cocktails) to keep my cameras steady. :o)
The next day we did not take any wedding pictures, not because of the weather but more of the way we all looked. So we did a Hamburg sightseeing tour instead. Stephan did a good job getting himself informed about 'his' city. We took Katja and Stephan around in Wien a few months ago so now it was our turn to ask clever questions.
We were all tired but the tour was nice, we saw a lot more than I'd seen in a week Hamburg a few years ago. It's nice to have a city around a harbour and it's interesting to see that almost all buildings have been built between 1900 and 1910. We just wonder what has happened to all the construction companies afterwards.
On Sunday we all looked as fresh as a daisy again and we spent 4 hours in a park taking the nice pictures. The weather was great and the park was full with people who were, of course, all watching us, much more interesting than to lay lazy in the grass. Some people thought we were on an official photoshoot with real models and that this was not a real wedding. Well, the couple did look pretty smart.
I brought all the film (over 30 rolls!) to a professional wedding lab. At the end of the week I can pick up the photos. Looking forward to see them! Of course it was also a good reason to use my Yashica again, it's such a nice camera to use... Be sure it will go with me on my hike!
Another holiday filled week later...
Carla came over for a week and we planned on doing some hiking in the Dachstein (Salzkammerhut) area. I was there 2 years ago for a hike and the scenery is stunning. Anyway, we packed our bags on Monday evening, took everything with us to the train station on Tuesday morning only to find out that the entire valley area was flooded so badly that there were no trains nor busses. So we walked back home again. I knew the weather was bad but that bad. Now I'll plan on doing a shorter trip in the same area together with Katrin mid September, hope it will be better then.
Instead of the big tour we then went to Grinzing and Mödling to do some afternoon hikes. A lot less luggage and only half an hour from my place. Was also nice but of course the Dachstein stays on the list.
In the mean time the job really seems to be finished per the end of October. Thinking about what to do next. A consultant is helping me re-writing my resume and he knows some people in the telecomms industry in Vienna who might be able to help me finding a project for 6 months. When not, the plan is to go to Oz later on this year for a few months free-wheeling. The idea for April-May is to go to Greece for a month or so, this time I'll take my bike with me! Might cycle to Venice, take the ferry and then cycle on the Greek side to the South of the Peloponese. Might also just bike in Greece. Too much dreaming...
Also finally could lay my hands on the new Midnight Oil CD Capricornia, it's awesome! Pure and simple rock. MO has been one of my favourite bands for the past 10 years and ah well, saw them performing live in Australia and they're great. Hope to see them in Oz again when I go there next time.
By the way, the wedding pictures are great. Technically only a few did not make it but they were all due to the flash failing. The other pictures are really nice. Good that the wedding couple also liked them. :o)
It's time for another holiday. We will leave within the next days to Croatia. The idea is to go to Cres and see the Istrian coast. You'll read all about it after we came back. Try to have some fun without me, no email and no phone, only a few cameras and our beachwear.
As said in the previous update, we've been to Croatia. The holiday started with a trip to Salzburg. Katrin had never been there and I've been there only once before, on a customer visit. This time we went to the castle, saw the old town and discovered some nice little shops. The train left at 1.15am the next day so we had to wait a little and an evening in Salzburg during the week is not that interesting.
After an 8 hour train ride we arrived in Rijeka/Croatia. We'must have had more border checks than we have crossed borders but well, we still slept a little in between.
From Rijeka we took to bus to the island Cres where we spent 5 days in the city Cres. Pretty touristy but the town is nice and relaxed. We also discovered a little cafe in the old Venetian town where the drinks were inexpensive and the view nice. The last day we discovered that the same cafe was mentioned in our tourguide. Hhhmmm, next year it might be loaded with tourists. Now there where only locals...The swimming and snorkeling was great, there is a much more interesting sealife there than in Greece where we were last year.
The next stop was on the island Losinj where we stayed in Veli Losinj. Veli actually means large but its neighbour town Mali (small) Losinj is currently a lot larger, mainly because of the shape of its harbour inlet. Well, as there is only a 4 kilometer walk in between both towns we went to Mali Losinj every day. The last day we also discovered that the best swimming/snorkelling spot is just past Mali Losinj so we only went once in the water there.
The last two days were spent in Opatija, which is also called the Nice of Croatia. The first hotel in Opatija was built in the 1880s as it started getting fashionable for the wealthy Austrians to spend their holiday on the Adriatic coast. They mostly came in by train as the nearby Pula and Rijeka were Austrian's navy harbours. Therefore the old hotels and villas are very similar in style to the buildings from that time in Vienna. the main boulevard, with the large hotels and expensive cars is really uninteresting to look at but just behind are the villas and houses where the residents live. We were staying in a renovated early 1900s house in that area, very nice. The nearby Lovran is smaller and looks a lot nicer that Opatija but as it was sunday when we arrived, the booking service was closed so we had to go to Opatija. Fortunately there is a nice 8 kilometer long walking path along the water between the towns so we visited both places.
Back in Wien we decided that our holidays was not over yet so we finally visited 2 museums which had been on our list for a long time: the museum of natural history and the militairy museum. Both very different but both very interesting as well. Time to visit some more museums soon.
The weather was very nice before we left but had turned to rainy and cold autumn weather when we came back. A good time to read all the old books I've bought over the past months. In the mean time the photos we took will be developed and scanned so hopefully by the end of this week there will be some more pictures on line. Not that we took many though, only 4 rolls this time.
It feels weird, life feels weird. Been working hard(!) during the month October, my last month working for BT/Concert as the project came in it's final stage and my tasks are not needed anymore. Well, been working from home all this time so for me nothing has really changed. Of course besides the fact that there are no colleagues anymore and there is no need to check my project and company email. It's gotten a lot more quiet suddenly but it feels weird, it still hasn't sunken in that there is no work to do anymore. Same environment but at the end of the month there is no money coming onto my account
Today I received some bad news from a friend. The last e-mail he's sent me might have been the last one he'd ever sent me. He didn't feel right, called the ambulance and ended up on the monitors at the intensive care for 3 days after 2 seizures. He's still not fully recovered but he's at home again and is recovering quickly. It's all so crazy, so you're talking with someone and so he might not be there anymore. Think about all the friends you haven't heard from for a week, what might have happened in the mean time? What could have happened to you? Would your e-mails left unanswered so that you never (or much later) find out what the reason is? Times like these really make you think...
On the positive side, the weather has been nice for a few days last week. Had to pick up an old suitcase in the Salzburg area and decided to combine it with a short holiday. Discovered a new area and a very nice one that is as well! Snow covered mountains, nice villages and nice and easy hikes turning into full day hikes when you just continue walking. Took my old Yashica with me and took 2 rolls of film. hope the pictures turn out well enough to put them on this website, just keep coming back here :o)
The pictures did indeed turn out well, some very nice ones. Well, I noticed that for critical sharpness it's necessary to use a tripod, most pictures when enlarged to their maximum (on my scanner) show a little movement, ah well, I won't have them wall sized anyways.
At the moment things are doing fine here, winter started, the air, the sky, everything shows winter. This weekend I'll cycle my bike to Maiersdorf, about 80 km away where it will be used more often than in Wien during the winter. Still need to fix my racing bike for Wien though :o( Another thing to do this weekend is the slaughtering of a couple of christmas trees. It's funny to live here. Katrin's parents have there own woods with plenty of nice christmas trees. So we can just cut them there, fully legal and very cheap.
Been working hard on the photos, partly for myself but mostly for the wedding. Been scanning in all pictures and editing the ones that the bride wants to be editted, a lot of work but the results are ok. Maybe I should stay a few monhts longer unemployed, finally time to organise things.
Also discovered another place for cheap old books. Haven't had the time to check it out yet but I will soon, December is the month to give presents and even according to the Dutch newspapers, men give themselves the most presents. Nearly half the money spent on Christmas and Sinterklaas presents by man is for themselves. What's left is then spent on girlfriend, wife, kids, parents, friends.... Maybe we are just worth it?