Archive | January, 2022

A nice exchange in the bus

22 Jan

I hopped on the bus to go and finally buy some wineglasses. (Of the 18 a friend gave me about 25 years ago — six each of three different sizes — only one remains, and there are some nice ones on sale for €1.49 each.)

There was a man standing with his dog near the door, a pitbull mix by the look of it all correctly leashed and muzzled. Since the man didn’t seem interested in the empty seat near him I took it. Within 30 seconds the dog had decided that I was a friend and came over with dog-like enthusiasm to say hello. We exchanged a few friendly words and then he (she?) turned his (her?) attention to the woman sitting across the aisle from me. Similar raptures and then the man called his dog back to him. The woman across the aisle smiled at me and “So eine nette Begrüßung” (“Such a nice greeting”). I replied “Ge?” (Viennese for “Wasn’t it?”) And then, true to proper behavior on public transportation in Vienna, we each went back to what we had been doing.

Eine nette Begegnung (or chance encounter).


A look back

15 Jan

I’m in the process of re-reading my journal from 2021 before putting it away and came across the following entry, from 6 July 2021:

This morning on our walk we ran into the MA 48ler [man who works for the city sanitation department and keeps our neighborhood clean] who loves to talk. We had a really good chat about how inconsistent the government is (“Sagt ‘man kann bei zwei Dingen nicht sparen — Sicherheit und Sauberkeit’ — und dann sparen sie trotzdem”*), how beautiful Vienna is, the oldest houses (apparently somewhere near Mölkerbastei), sustainability and not using coffee capsules, and so on.

This all came back to me as I was doing my gratitude session and I thought how amazing it is that I was allowed to experience that, in this city, in a foreign language I now speak well enough to follow almost all of what he says [he speaks a pretty thick Viennese dialect], safe, healthy, comfortable, on a beautiful not-too-hot July morning. What an amazing life I am allowed to live.

* “They say ‘There are two things one mustn’t try to save money on — safety and cleanliness’ and then they cut the budget for those two things anyway.”

08 – Breitenfurter Straße to Alterlaa

4 Jan

After an abortive attempt on one of the May holidays (not only the rain but the wind was too discouraging and I wasn’t dressed right), a friend and I decided to attempt this stretch again. Because we were so deep in conversation most of the time, I’m afraid I didn’t get any pictures. Still, if you look at the pictures from this post–Trail 09–you’ll be seeing very much what we saw, complete with ducks.

I did take in some things, in spite of our conversation, and it was special to do this stretch with this friend. She not only lives in Alterlaa and often walks along the Liesing River, but she has lived in the 23rd district all her life and so can tell me about landmarks other people would miss.

We started more or less at the aquaduct that was built in the early 1870s to provide Vienna with clean water from the mountains. Apparently, 40% of Viennese tap water still comes from this source and is exceptionally good. As an old Viennese friend of mine used to say, with somewhat justifiable pride, “We flush our toilets with the kind of water people in other places buy in the supermarket.”

One thing that struck me as we walked was how varied the buildings are in this part of Vienna. Some are clearly from a more agricultural time before the area was incorporated into the City of Vienna. Some are non-descript newer buildings that look as if they are only there to serve a purpose but not to delight the eye. And some are interesting newer buildings.

When we got to Alterlaa, my friend invited me in for coffee and some of the best Christmas cookies around. The deep conversation continuing, I ended up staying for supper. Perhaps it would have been better if this stretch had been a bit longer so as to burn a few more calories!

All in all, though, it was a wonderful way to spend one of my holiday afternoons and evenings.

Trail number 8
Distance: 5.6 km
Time: 1.5 to 2 hours