A photo of Maylo (by special request)

24 Nov

All 5 kgs of him on the banks of the Donaukanal a week or two ago.

First frost

24 Nov

This morning we had our first frost. It seems a bit late this year and was most welcome for that crisp feeling. One notices something has changed. Maylo, in any case, was moving quite a bit more quickly than he has been!

The first day of this lockdown

22 Nov

I am on the tram going around the Ring and found myself, as so often in the past 33 years, looking at the marquee on the Burg Kino to see what was showing (“The Power of the Dog” and “Dune” among other things) when I realized there was no point. Like so much else it’s closed for the next three weeks.

20 & 21 – Wagramer Straße to Brünner Straße

21 Nov

It seemed like a good idea to get in a couple more stretches of the Rundumadum hiking trail before we go into lockdown again tomorrow (even though we will still be allowed to walk outside with close friends for purposes of physical and psychological recreation) so off we went.

The weather was suitable for November, as you can see on the photos–a gray, slightly melancholy day–and it was a good day for walking. This is a mood I love in Vienna, like a physical expression of the melancholy underlying the lighter side of life here. It’s not all waltzing and champagne, or concerts and cakes, especially not in the middle of a pandemic.

The Wiener Linien (public transit authorities in Vienna) rather fell down on the job today as they did last time, at least as far as the busses went. We arrived punctually at Süßenbrunn train station to catch the bus that was to take us to the starting point of our first stretch. It never came. On the other end, we arrived at the bus stop with about five minutes to spare and waited almost 15 minutes. That one never came either. What with walking from Süßenbrunn to Bettelheimstraße and then from Erbpostgasse to Stammersdorf, I estimate we covered 10 km today, about 1.5 more than intended. Thank goodness for good shoes!

Like the last few stretches, these were flat, with small ponds. (The swimming pond for Gerasdorf bei Wien looked especially inviting–or would in summer.) There are still signs of agriculture, including some vineyards :-), and we saw quite a few horses, yet there was also a lot of building going on, the cranes quite visible on the horizon. Given my tendency to pessimism, I did wonder how much longer there would be any fields left. All the more reason, I suppose, to enjoy them while one can.

At Gerasdorf we crossed the state line from Vienna into Lower Austria. One moment we were in Gerasdorf, the next we were in Gerasdorf bei Wien with the blue and yellow logo (I don’t know what else to call it–it isn’t the coat of arms) of Lower Austria. A small, mostly attractive, town, very quiet on a Sunday morning. There were a few people about, mainly walking dogs, but no cafés or restaurants open, even though they don’t have to close until tomorrow. About the liveliest place was the “Hundezone,” a rather bare and not overly large rectangle of earth clearly delineated by a chainlink fence. Outside were acres and acres of fields and other green areas. It seemed a bit senseless to me, and we didn’t go in.

The next stretch went along the Marchfeldkanal (canal) for a long stretch. We enjoyed the crows and magpies and got into an interesting discussion on the–as any student of German knows–often senseless gender assignment of different creatures or objects. Magpies and crows are feminine (“die Elster” and “die Krähe”) while bird as a generic term is masculine (“der Vogel”). Larger birds of prey like the eagle are, apparently, more typically male, a point my (male) hiking companion seemed to take greater exception to than I did.

As we got closer to Brünner Straße (the road to Brunn or Brno in the Czech Republic), the landscape changed slightly. It became more wooded and slightly, but only very slightly, hillier. The bus stop was opposite a rather garish industrial structure in the middle of what was otherwise fields and woods, closed, of course, on Sunday. Given that the bus did not arrive and the next one was scheduled for an hour later, we were happy that there was a nice little path running along the road that took us to the tram in Stammersdorf.

Trail 20

Distance: 3 km

Time: 45 minutes to an hour

Link: https://www.wien.gv.at/umwelt/wald/freizeit/wandern/rundumadum/etappe20.html

Trail 21

Distance: 5.5 km

Time: 1.5 to 2 hours

Link: https://www.wien.gv.at/umwelt/wald/freizeit/wandern/rundumadum/etappe21.html

Another lockdown?

19 Nov

It’s supposed to be announced this morning whether we will go into another lockdown, Austria wide, on Monday. And our numbers are terrible. (Our 7-day average of new cases per 100k population is three times that of Germany. Three times!)

Has the vaccination made a difference? You bet it has. Last year on 18 November there were 4,525 COVID cases in hospital in Austria, including the 658 in intensive care. 113 people had died of COVID in the 24-hour period before that. And that after two weeks in a partial lockdown. This year on the same date there are 2,744 in hospital, 486 in the ICU, and 39 have died. Still too many. Still shocking in a population of about 8.9 million, but quite a different picture, especially given that most people have been out and about with only an FFP2 mask as a sign that the pandemic is still raging.

A November Day

12 Nov

Today is almost like the November days I remember from 30 years ago — gray, damp, chilly. It isn’t raining, but the pavements are damp with condensation; it isn’t that cold in temperature (about 4°C), but it is a penetrating chill. The air, as always on these days, is a bit acrid because the cloud cover holds in all the exhaust. And it may be a bit warmer than back then. Certainly it is somewhat brighter as the buildings are for the most part cleaner and this year’s spectacular foliage, in yellow and gold, is not yet completely gone.

First anniversary of the terrorist attack at Schwedenplatz

2 Nov

And a beautiful day after rain earlier. Maylo and I took a walk along the Danube Canal.

Autumn colors coming to the Vienna Woods

23 Oct

And we have a long weekend. 🙂 October 26 is a holiday (vote in Parliament for Austrian neutrality, 1955 or something).

A new announcement in the U-Bahn

16 Oct

I’m on my way to the university and heard this announcement for the first time: “Dear Passengers, Please keep your luggage with you at all times. Unattended bags will be removed.” Feels almost as if I’m finally living in London.

They’re at it again

2 Oct

Once again Austrian contestants have done a stellar job at the European championships — the trade / apprenticeship championships, that is, where they demonstrated their skills, for example, in wall painting and hotel reception. Austria, with its 8.8 million inhabitants got 33 medals, top of all EU countries and behind only Russia. There’s an article in the Kurier today about why Austria always does so well. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to read it right now as I am off to teach the next generation in logistics.