There’s a draft today

19 Dec

Somewhere in an earlier post I mentioned that a fellow dogwalker in the park taught me the expression “Es zieht” (which is what you say when there’s a draft in a room). She used it to describe a Viennese and Lower Austrian phenomenon, when there is no visible sign of wind outdoors but you can feel one anyway. Today we have beautiful weather and it is supposed to be 2°C (or about 36°F), but my hands got so cold I just had to step into Caffè Couture for a hot chocolate. There’s only one explanation: Es zieht.



25 Nov

For the first time in ages, I am looking at the cinema listings in the newspaper and have been reminded that movies in Vienna are listed by district so that you can see what is playing near you. (After all, you wouldn’t want to have to leave your Grätzl!) I seem to remember that this is different in different cities. Certainly, one newspaper in Vienna lists films by title rather than by district. They–I think it is “Der Standard”–call this the only reasonable way to list films.

The other thing you need to understand when checking the listings is what OV and OVmU mean. The first stands for “Originalversion” (in the original language) and the second stands for “Originalversion mit Untertiteln”, or the original version with (German) sub-titles.

The cinema is a good place to go when there is “Hochnebel”. 😉

“Hochnebel” (High fog)

25 Nov

We have had several days now of “high fog”. I’ve lived in Vienna for coming up on 30 years and finally have put the terminology together with weather it refers to. It is not a very pleasant weather pattern. It’s unrelentingly gray, it’s sometimes accompanied by drizzle (as it was this morning), and, in the words of the German friend who taught me the term, it stinks. Literally. These are the days in Vienna that make me think of my time in Chengdu, that highly industrialized city in western China!

This, too, shall pass. Let’s hope it passes soon!

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. 🙂


NYTimes: Cleaving to the Medieval, Journeymen Ply Their Trades in Europe

8 Aug

Cleaving to the Medieval, Journeymen Ply Their Trades in Europe

The Times makes the point that this is a tradition mainly in German-speaking countries. That’s in keeping with the respect for apprenticeships I’m so fond of writing about.

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. 🙂