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Get ’em young

7 Oct

This morning I had cause to walk past the university campus at about 8 a.m. I was simply astounded to see a group of what looked like students gathering at that hour on a Saturday for what looked like a kind of race, possibly as a team-building  activity. The semester started this week and various orientation efforts have been made by all the Viennese universities. One reason this made an impression on me is that such events are a relatively new phenomenon here, inspired, I believe, by what U.S. universities do for their new students (who, in contrast to the Austrian students, of course, pay quite a bit for their education).

Particularly interesting was the set-up activity. The students must be starting at the medical school because the sponsors of the event were clearly pharmaceutical companies (see photos below). A lot has been done in the last 25 years in Austria to break the grip of the pharmaceutical companies on doctors (in those days the presents–and the creativity with which the drug companies circumvented the, then much looser, regulations–almost defy description). Now the motto seems to be “Get ’em young,” before the regulations kick in.





A fun bit of trivia about the Lipizzaners

17 Sep

Apparently, the Lipizzaner horses are given the title “Professor” once they have completed their training. And given how Austrians, certainly older Austrians, love to use titles, I bet they get addressed that way, too. πŸ™‚


Good news

29 Jul

It doesn’t happen often, but this morning it happened again–there was something on the front page of the Kurier that was so interesting it made me break my habit of starting at the back of the Saturday insert and working my way through the paper from back to front. And this time it was good news. The Austrian team has reached the quarter-finals of the Women’s European Football (Soccer) Championship. They’re playing Spain tomorrow at 6 p.m. Guess who will be watching. πŸ™‚

Tattoos in Vienna

22 Jul

The Kurier today quoted the statistic that 1/3 of all Austrians have at least one tattoo. It is hot enough at the moment that you can see evidence of that. In fact, based on what I saw on the U2 this afternoon, I would say that it looks more like 1/2.

First Day of the School Holidays

1 Jul

I love the first day of the school holidays, especially when it’s bright but not too hot. The streets are quiet. There are no lines in the supermarket. Those of us who have remained in the city are more relaxed. Great!

Life Ball

11 Jun

Vienna, as I have mentioned before, has a full ball season. Technically, this starts on November 11 (St. Martin’s Day) and ends on Shrove Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday) although it really gets going on New Year’s Eve.

There are a few balls that take place outside of this season and the Life Ball, started in the 1980s as a way raising awareness for homosexuality and AIDS, is one of these. This extravaganza took place last night, but the related events have been going on for a while.

Last year, for example, the City of Vienna progammed its pedestrian traffic lights not just to show the usual green or red man for go and stop but homosexual couples holding hands. Below is photo of the rainbow flags that adorn the streetcars for the first half of June as a symbol of solidarity and for tolerance: β€‹

I love Vienna.

Pets in Austria

10 Jun

It took two tries, but I finally managed to buy train tickets for Maylo and me from the machine. I was a little surprised that Maylo (all 5 kgs or 11 lbs of him) cost 30 cents more than I did. I felt somewhat better when I realized that the person at the next machine was having some trouble as well. I mentioned in the face of his sounds of frustration that I had had some difficulties, too, and added that my dog had actually cost more than me. He thought for a moment and replied that pets in Austria are highly valued. Even more than people, I pointed out.