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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


Makery Vienna – Vienna Makery

7 Jan

I have just discovered that there is a DIY restaurant in Vienna. That’s right — you pay for the privilege of cooking your own meal. I just wonder who gets to do the dishes …

Pension office

22 Nov

I went to the pension office this morning to clarify a few points and saw that some things have really changed in Austria and some things haven’t.

One thing that has changed: the woman in front of me in line at the reception desk was talking about her “Partnerins” (female partner’s) appointment. When there was some confusion about her name, she explained that when they had married she had taken on her partner’s family name and officially changed it on all her documents. Then I overheard that she herself isn’t self-employed but rather her partner, and she would like to be covered under her partner’s insurance.

This would have been unimaginable even five years ago (Austria enacted “Ehe für Alle” or “Marriage for All” on 1 January 2019, building on the civil union that became possible in 2010). For anyone who would like more information, here is a website (in German) giving an overview of the history of same-sex marriage as well as legal details:

Something that hasn’t yet changed? When I came out of my appointment, there was a man waiting, with his large, well-behaved, non-service dog. Wish I’d known I could have taken Maylo!

NYTimes: Robert Clary, Who Took a Tragic Journey to ‘Hogan’s Heroes,’ Dies at 96

20 Nov

Robert Clary, Who Took a Tragic Journey to ‘Hogan’s Heroes,’ Dies at 96

My brother and I used to sneak “Hogan’s Heroes” because (a) we were limited in how much TV we were allowed to watch and (b) my mother, having grown up in Nazi Germany, objected to making light in any way of what happened. Would she feel differently if she knew that one actor was a concentration camp survivor and three were refugees? Perhaps. Or perhaps the reminders of those years would all still be too painful.

Three refugees, you ask? Robert Clary’s obituary only mentions Wilhelm Klemperer and John Banner. They left out Leon Askin, who played General Burkhalter. He was born Leon Aschkenasy in Vienna and lost both his parents in Treblinka. Ever since I learned that, years ago, I’ve thought how therapeutic it must have been to play the bad-tempered and quite repulsive General.

Schwedenplatz 2020

3 Nov

Yesterday marked the second anniversary of the attacks at Schwedenplatz on that balmy evening that tempted so many people to be out and about on the eve of our third (or was it already our fourth?) lockdown.

So much has happened since then and life feels so different that it seems impossible that it has only been two years.

Halloween comes to Vienna

1 Nov

Austria’s fattest “photo album”

26 Oct

Today, October 26, is a holiday in Austria, commemorating the vote in Parliament that established Austria’s permanent neutrality. (My understanding is that it was the first business enacted by the Parliament after all occupying powers had left Austrian territory after the Second World War. More about the treaty here.)

It is probably no accident, then, that the ORF (Austrian Broadcasting Corporation) chose today to draw attention to the special photo and image archive of the Austrian National Library. Here is a taste from the ORF site of the millions of photos stored.

The ORF article is lengthy and only in German, unfortunately. Some of the main points they make: the Imperial Collection created a foundation for the current collection (yes, there is a photo of the enigmatic Empress Elisabeth); the rise of press photography bearing contemporary witness to life vs. studio portraits; the suppression of free media and therefore, of course, photojournalism as well as the banning of Jewish photographers during the Nazi regime and the resurrection of those professions after the Second World War; the role photography played in documenting the Cold War and the images of its major players (one of the most chilling photos for me on the ORF site was of Russian soldiers goose-stepping in Moscow in 1988); and the challenges of maintaining a usable archive in the world of digital photography where photos can be snapped one a second. (In fact, the teaser for the article mentions sinking into Austria’s fattest “photo album”.)

A heads-up: The Austrian National Library is planning for 2023 a retrospective of photos by Yoichi Okamoto who was head of the United States Information Service during the Occupation in Austria and later presidential photographer for Lyndon B. Johnson.

Those who would like to see more photos, I have chosen the link to the digital archive with images of Vienna to share with you here.

On the tram

19 Oct

It’s quiet and everyone I can see is wearing a mask — properly. Seemed worth noting these days. 😉

Presidential election

9 Oct

According to projections, the incumbent, Alexander van der Bellen, has gotten an absolute majority — and that in a field with seven candidates. I guess I’m not the only one who thinks he’s doing a good job.

Looking old?

28 Sep

Maylo and I seem to be looking a bit old today. Two people commented on Maylo clearly not being a young dog anymore and someone about 50 just gave up her seat on the tram for me. Nice and a bit discouraging at the same time.