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Georg Kapsch: The departing head of the Federation of Austrian Industries

13 Jun

This is something that really struck me when I moved to Austria – how the relationship between management and labor was more collaborative than in the U.S.A. There was a sense that Austria as a whole could only do well if everyone was doing all right, that economic success could not happen on the backs of one group.

In this interview, it becomes clear that Georg Kapsch is of the old school. A departing president of the body representing (big) business talking about how to close the gap between rich and poor and how to make sure everyone gets the education they need to be a contributing member of society? Seems pretty radical these days. I hope his successor is on the same page!

A link to the interview is below. Unfortunately, you do have to subscribe to the digital edition to read the whole thing.

https://kurier.at/wirtschaft/georg-kapsch-diese-sommerschule-ist-zu-wenig/400938857

Schau dir “Winterreise, D. 911: No. 5, Der Lindenbaum “Am Brunnen vor dem Tore” (Mässig)” auf YouTube an

10 Jun

It’s that time of year again. The linden (or lime) trees are in blossom and seducing all with their powerful and sweet fragrance. In their honor, here is Schubert’s song “Der Lindenbaum” sung by my favorite Lieder singer, Olaf Bär, accompanied by the inimitable Geoffrey Parsons. Ah.

Eating out

16 May

Yes, you read that correctly. As of yesterday our restaurants are open and people are allowed to eat out. There are, of course, certain restrictions, but they don’t seem that tough.

What is really interesting and, I feel, particularly Viennese is that the city of Vienna is issuing gift certificates to each household for use in a restaurant. EUR 25 for single households and EUR 50 for families. Gives new meaning to the expression “Put your money where your mouth is,” doesn’t it?

Much ado in the Trafik

16 May

Maylo and I have already been out and were, of course, at the Trafik. Great consternation this morning as they had RUN OUT OF DOG TREATS! And it was too early to go to the supermarket and get more.

After many apologies and much distress, they realized they had some Manner-Schnitten (waffles made in Vienna) and asked if that would be all right. They were so distressed, what could I say but yes? So Maylo started his day with dessert and seemed, not surprisingly, quite happy about that.

May your Saturday also have such happy moments!

A beautiful original image of Vienna’s districts

23 Apr

A friend sent me this from one of her colleagues and I liked it so much I immediately asked for (and received) permission to post it.

The artist is Paul Talbot, a trainer and consultant with a hobbyist eye for design.

Enjoy!

Runners

28 Mar

Not me! I’m just a dog-walking observer. And as an observer I can’t help noticing how many more runners there are than there were just two weeks ago.

The other thing I’m noticing is how fast some of them are running. I still remember walking through Central Park in New York with my then Austrian partner, about 15 years ago, who couldn’t get over how fast all the runners were moving. Vienna was in the throes of the “slow running” fad, and until now I hadn’t really thought about it, but Vienna was still in the throes until the coronavirus lockdown started!

Clearly, there’s currently a lot of energy out there that is not getting used up in other ways.

The ORF reporting in the time of the coronavirus

25 Mar

As I was listening to the news this morning I was impressed and grateful for the ORF coverage and general approach to reporting on the coronavirus crisis. One thing they have done is set up a toll-free number where people can call and leave their questions on an answering machine. The questions are then grouped according to concern, the ORF has people getting definitive answers, and the answers are announced on the news. After that, the questions and answers are available on their website. A real service in a time when clear and reliable information helps people take the steps they need to take.

The ORF, by the way, is the national broadcasting corporation in Austria, rather like the BBC is in the U.K.

12 & 13 – Zentralfriedhof to Waldschule Lobau (almost)

22 Mar

Full disclosure: The walk itself was three weeks ago. This is the first chance I’ve had to post in anything like the detail I would like. There is something to be said for this coronavirus lockdown.

So, I know! Two in one! Well, they were short and the public transporation routes to get there were relatively long … Also I was hiking with a friend. And wouldn’t you know it–I warned him that I had hardly had a walk along the Rundumadum trail without getting lost but we didn’t get lost once. He must have thought I am unusually incompetent at finding and following trail markers!

What was special about this for me, on top of the fact that we crossed the Danube canal and the Danube itself (see photos), was that once again in the middle of a residential area in the 11th district there were fields to walk through. Vienna is such an amazing city that way.

It was an easy walk (this part of Vienna is very flat) and I remember the the weather being a bit friendlier than it looks in the photos. It was chilly though. Difference between a New England upbringing and an Austrian upbringing, albeit in Carinthia where they still get proper winters? I didn’t bother to bring gloves because the forecast said it would be 12°C and my friend wore gloves because we were only going to get 12°C. (Mind you, I’ve gotten soft after over 30 years in Austria. I wished I had had gloves!)

Special sights along this trail other than the fields and the Danube: some early blossoms, some rather ugly public housing from the 60s and 70s, the Cemetery of the Nameless, where unknown dead who are fished out of the Danube are buried, a hydroelectric dam, and, more or less at the end of the route, a famous Gasthaus, Roter Hiasl. (To be precise, we didn’t actually go through the cemetery. We walked by it and talked about it. Then, for me, it was quite exciting to finally find out how to pronounce the name of the Gasthaus and why it is pronounced the way it is–“Hias” is short for “Matthias” and the “L” on the end makes it diminutive. In translation the name of the restaurant would be something the Little Red Matthew.)

We caved and stopped at Little Red Matthew’s place. We didn’t quite make it to the Waldschule. Next time …

Trail number 12

Distance: 3.5 km

Time: Approx. 1 hour

Link: https://www.wien.gv.at/umwelt/wald/freizeit/wandern/rundumadum/etappe12.html

Trail number 13

Distance: 4.3 km

Time: Approx. 1.5 hours

Link: https://www.wien.gv.at/umwelt/wald/freizeit/wandern/rundumadum/etappe13.html

Gratitude

17 Mar

I saw these yellow signs this morning on all the shops on my street that are still open – the pharmacy, the drugstore, the supermarket. It is a thank you to the people keeping the shops going and calls them true heroes. Yes, the commitment, often the humor, and the sheer hard work they have been putting in for the last five days or so are indeed heroic.

11 – Laaerberg to Zentralfriedhof

16 Feb

This stretch we did a week ago, all in one go. We tacked on about two kilmeters by missing a turn, but it still felt like a miracle after the missteps and detours of the last two stretches. And because of the extra stretch I discovered a “Weinschenke” (like an even more rustic Heuriger) that I would like to try out another time.

And, boy, did this stretch have its beauties. I like my usual stomping grounds–in the northwestern part of Vienna–because there a hills and woods as well as meadows (and vineyards :-)). This part of Vienna, still in the 10th district, was an extremely pleasant surprise. This is a part of Vienna where food is grown, within the city limits. I hope the photo of the fields catches some of the sense of space and almost rural character.

20200209_143031.jpg

One of the reasons I write “almost rural” is the amount of traffic. There aren’t many cars–we finally got away from the Autobahn in the other part of the 10th district–but the buildings you see in the photo are on the other side of railways tracks and the hiking trail is right under a heavily traveled route to Schwechat, the Vienna airport.

As you can see, it was a beautiful day and lots of people were out, with dogs, without dogs, on bicycles, on foot, scruffily dressed, nicely dressed (perhaps on their way to Sunday lunch at grandma’s?), quickly, in a leisurely manner, in groups, and alone. I always think you see on Sundays in the Vienna Woods and environs how the Viennese actually survive the traditional diet of Wiener Schnitzel and so on. They get out and walk. Long may it continue!

This stretch takes you to the famous Zentralfriedhof, where people like Johannes Brahms, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johann Strauss, Theodor Billroth (Austrian medical pioneer) and the late presidents of Austria are buried. There is an honorary grave here for Mozart, who, as most of you know, was actually buried in a communal grave in St. Marx. Surely, there are many important non-musical people buried here but my Baedeker’s–a guide book after my own heart–mainly lists the musical ones.

Understandably, dogs are not allowed in so an alternate route was provided along the wall. We still got to see a bit of the cemetery, when we weren’t dodging bikes on the pedestrian / bike path.

20200209_154101.jpg

The last stretch for us, along the tram tracks of the 11 and 71 trams was not so nice. In fact, I almost gave up on got on at the first gate to the cemetery rationalizing that we could make up that stretch by starting there next time, but the idea of actually finishing one of these routes for a change motivated me to keep going.

Not a great photo (below) but here is proof that we walked all the way to the main gate before getting on the 71 and going home.

20200209_155726.jpg

Distance: 5.3 km

Time: 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 hours. We, of course, took longer given that we unintentionally added quite a stretch to our walk. (Also think the alternative route for dogs was a bit longer in this case.)

Link: https://www.wien.gv.at/umwelt/wald/freizeit/wandern/rundumadum/etappe11.html