Die Wiener Zeitung

12 May

I was introduced to the “Wiener Zeitung” (newspaper) by my former partner who is a lawyer and, like all lawyers, had to subscribe because certain official announcements, about new laws, for example, were published by requirement in the “Wiener Zeitung”. He also read the rest of the paper with interest and pleasure, finding it a wonderful source of edification. At some point, I did catch on to the interesting tidbit that it is the oldest daily paper still in print. That will end on June 30th this year after more or less 320 years. (To be precise, the first issue appeared on 8 August 1703 so it’s not a full 320 years, but what do the few weeks matter with a timeframe like that?)

What happened? In April, the National Assembly passed a law that did away with the requirement described thereby pulling the financial rug out from under their feet. It is the way of all things, and it is still sad. I wanted to commemorate it briefly here.


Vienna City Marathon 2023

23 Apr

Today was the 40th anniversary of the Vienna City Marathon, although not the 40th race. (In 2020 the marathon was inexplicably 😉 canceled.) I wish I had time to really write about it and soak it up as in other years, but I am surfing a very big wave of work at the moment and nursing a sick dog so will have to keep it short.

Highlights: two course records were broken — for the men and for Austrian women, the former very clearly by Samwel Mailu of Kenya, who said it was a really big moment in his career, the latter by one (1!) second.

Julia Mayer, first Austrian woman today, said she was only able to dig deeper on the last 200 meters and so break the record because the fans were so supportive. Andreas Vojta, first Austrian man, who ran a much slower race than he had planned, also mentioned how the crowds helped him keep going in a race that at the 23-kilometer mark he realized wasn’t going to get any more comfortable. :-/ Full marks for bravery, if you ask me.

The ORF did better than last year. They interviewed the two first women this year, not just the men.

And now, with regret, I have to turn you over to other sources for more information. The marathon organizers are on Twitter and report highlights in German and English: #ViennaCityMarathon And I am pretty you can find out more on sport.orf.at

Votivkirche – some photos

21 Apr


19 Apr

I was just standing at Schottentor and realized that for the first time in many years (10? 15? More?) we can see both towers (spires?) of the Votiv Church. They’ve been encased in scaffolding and swathed in advertising while they were being cleaned, which, as you can tell, took a very long time. Beautiful!!! 😊

April Fool’s Day Viennese Style

1 Apr

Seen on Twitter. The City of Vienna has a few ideas on how to discombobulate the Viennese this April Fool’s Day. 1: On the tram say “I’m getting off” [so that people make room for you to get out the door] and then stay on. 2: Stand on the left on the escalators. 3: In your regular neighborhood restaurant order “Just a glass of tap water today”. 4: (my favorite) At the bakery buy “Brötchen” (rolls) and then ask for a “Tüte” (bag) to put them in. Both those words are High German and sound really weird in this context. Viennese would probably say “Gebäck” and “Sackerl”. 5: (also good for anyone familiar with the grumpy side of the Viennese) Smile at complete strangers on the street and greet them in a friendly way.

Sorry, in some ways you had to be there, I think, but they made me laugh.

The Pandemic in Austria

26 Mar

I’ve been recording the numbers more or less daily for three(!) years and have decided to stop. For that, I did want to do a quick review.

On 26 March 2020, 35,995 tests had been done. (A lot, I think, given that the pandemic made it into our consciousness only about two weeks before that.) As of yesterday, 207,503,628 had been carried out, an unimaginably big number. At the height of the testing campaign, there were a few days when over 500,000 tests were done per day. The daily rate is currently around 25,000. (Out of gratitude for them, I try not to think too clearly about what the testing and vaccination campaigns have done to the environment.)

The early statistics included only four numbers: tests, confirmed cases, deaths, and recoveries. We now get eight numbers: the seven-day average (as of yesterday: 246.9 compared to over 1,100 at its peak), tests (see above), positive tests (a cumulative number: 6,021,769), active cases (currently 37,912), people hospitalized (1,044), people in intensive care (in addition to those hospitalized: 55), fatalities (22,082), and recoveries (5,961,775).

For a while, I was also keeping track every few days of the vaccination rates, but these have hardly changed in the last few months so it hasn’t been very interesting. (In fact, it started to get a bit discouraging.) My last recorded figures tell me that 71.8% of the population have gotten two doses; 56.2% have gotten three; and only 18.7% percent have been “aufgefrischt”, which is defined as having gotten 4 or more.

Not only have the numbers changed. The terminology has, too. “Bestätigte Fälle” (confirmed cases) became at some point “In Labor bestätigte Fälle” presumably to distinguish those results from the ones we get from self tests, of which we still get five per month for free on our health insurance. “Todesfälle” has become “Verstorbene,” which sounds a bit more tender. And “Auskuriert” has become “Genesene” (recovered). I’d love to know the reasons for the changes, but I don’t.

Coronavirus is still with us, but we are getting back to life without masks and such frequent testing. Spring seems the perfect season to live a bit more again, a bit like coming out of hibernation.

Should you be interested in where I got the numbers: https://orf.at/corona/daten/oesterreich

Wishing all a beautiful Sunday and great health!

International Women’s Day

8 Mar

One of the biggest demonstrations I’ve ever seen in Vienna. And one of the loudest. I was teaching and had to interrupt the class!

The Volksgarten has just turned 200

2 Mar

I saw a story on the ORF website this morning that the Volksgarten in Vienna, famous, among other things, for its stunning rose garden, came into being 200 years ago yesterday. It was the first garden in Austria to be designed and created by an emperor specifically for the people. (The emperor at the time was Franz I, great-nephew of Empress Maria Theresia.)

For several years, I apartment sat for friends of my family’s. It was a 200m2 flat in a distinguished old building (took two days to clean those traditional double windows!) right behind the Parliament in Vienna. The Volksgarten was less than a five-minute walk away and I sat there often.

Two other vivid memories: riding past on the tram and seeing the Lippizaners grazing in the Volksgarten (the Hofburg caught fire in 1992 and the horses were led to safety in the park) and sitting on a bench in the rose garden not quite a year ago having gone to Josef-Meinrad-Platz to test my way out of quarantine. I got there only to find that the computers were down and no testing was taking place. It was the first time I had been out of the apartment in over a week, and it was wonderful.

More (in German): https://wien.orf.at/stories/3196759/

The Pandemic (remember the pandemic? ;-))

25 Feb

The front page of the Kurier reminding us that it was three years ago today that the first coronavirus cases were detected in Austria. Things moved very fast after that. As of March 1st this year, most of the restrictions will fall. Public transportation in Vienna has been something of a holdout, still requiring FFP2 masks. Even that will no longer be the case, although a third of Kurier readers polled have said they will voluntarily continue to wear them.


22 Jan

We woke up to snow yesterday and it has been snowing off and on since then. Beautiful. 😊