Tag Archives: dogs

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!

Will the ante be upped?

19 Mar

There was some question today whether the parks would be closed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. A friend of mine was quite worked up about it because–as so often happens–the people who were behaving carelessly were ruining things for the rest of us. (She said people had been partying in the park near her.)

Given that this was hanging over our heads, I checked the news especially before going out with Maylo this afternoon and saw that the Minister of Health had specifically said that parks were not (yet) going to be closed. Nonetheless, it was hard to miss the police present in one of the parks we often walk in. Three police officers just keeping an eye on the distance between people and occasionally speaking to pairs or trios, asking them to move farther away from each other.

Because I was alone with Maylo they didn’t say anything to me. We even were able to sit in the sun a bit. Then there came the announcement over the bullhorn, “Hier ist die Polizei. Bitte gehen Sie nach Hause.” (“This is the police. Please go home.”) Slowly, reluctantly, people got up and started to shuffle, more or less, home. It was only when Maylo and I were about halfway home that I realized they were almost certainly talking to a specific group of people, no doubt behaving carelessly. They only said it once and did not do a tour of the park.

We shall see where we go from here.

07 – Lainzer Tor to Rodaun

27 Oct

Dear Reader,

Yes, we are back to the Rundumadum trail. Today we took advantage of the last warm day of autumn (the ORF tells us) to walk the seventh stretch, from the Lainzer Tor to Rodaun. And we (Maylo and I) walked with a friend (which I will use as an excuse for not noticing more about the scenery and happenings).

Because Maylo came with us we could not do the usual route through the Lainzer Tiergarten. The City of Vienna being what it is, though, had devised an alternate route for people with dogs. 🙂 The first half hour or so of this route was along roads lined with beautiful houses and gardens. We were a little distracted from the beauty around us, however, as it was all we could do to not get run over by bikes and cars and to not crash into other pedestrians. (There were many–many–people out enjoying the beautiful weather.)

After this stretch, we made it to a “Forststraße” where cars, at least, were not allowed and could take time to photograph the view and the vineyards.

Then we followed the path along the wall of the Lainzer Tiergarten until we turned off to the left in the direction of Mauer. It was an exquisite walk through an autumn woods at its peak, with just the occasional flurry of bright leaves blown from the trees.

We briefly considered a stop at the Schießstätte–one of the many simple restaurants that fortify the walkers in the Vienna Woods–but decided we weren’t hungry enough yet. We carried on and found to our suprise and pleasure that both of us did know the area somewhat after all. We had both, separately, done the Stadtwanderweg (City Hiking Trail) #6 at some point, which in part coincides with the Rundumadum trail at this point.

Before we really expected it, we arrived in Kalksburg in the 23rd district and followed the trailmarkers to the Liesing River and then walked along the river to the Number 60 tram.

The tram routes in Vienna do get changed occasionally and not always in ways that maximize convenience. This time, however, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the 60 tram had been extended to Westbahnhof (the westerly train station) and took that more or less home.

Next time Rodaun to Alterlaa …

Distance of alternative route: 7.5 km

Time: approx. 2 hours subtracting the break we took on a sunny bench

Dogs & Restaurants

24 Jan

Many dog people in Vienna are starting to feel that dogs are much less welcome than they used to be, and I often feel the same way. But this afternoon I called a restaurant to ask if my dog could come along (something you used to just assume) and the cheerful woman who answered the phone asked if he was a big dog–just to know about how much space he would need, she explained. 😉

Surprised

20 Jan

I just saw a golden retriever in Burger King. We must be in 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.

An early Sunday morning in Vienna

19 Apr

People still  abed
Tightly shuttered shops, and yet
A lone dogwalker

The Trafik

14 Sep

Trafik is what English (EFL) teachers call a “false friend”. It may make the English speakers reading my blog think of “traffic” as in cars, yet it means something completely different in Austrian German, is something I think of as very European, and it, too, is changing.

First of all, a Trafik is a small, neighborhood store that has government concessions to sell tobacco products, some postage stamps, lottery tickets, pay-and-display parking stubs, and tickets for public transportation. (They also used to sell the dreaded Stempelmarken–those stamps you had to buy for any official transaction, for example, making a visa application. This particular system has since been modernized.) From my time in France–granted, over thirty years ago now–I seem to remember that there was an equivalent, the Tabac.

In addition to cigarettes and so on the Trafiks sell newspapers and magazines, smoking paraphernalia, greeting cards, wrapping paper, and such and are very much a part of everyday life in Vienna. I have the impression that most Viennese have one Trafik they always go to. I have four within a five-minute walk from my apartment and still almost always go to the same one, even though they weren’t all that friendly to me until I walked in the first time with Mylo. 😉

Trafiks traditionally have played a significant role in Grätzl* life. As one Trafikant (proprietor of a Trafik), interviewed in today’s Kurier, said, “Our customers and we were like family. People exchanged news about the Grätzl, sport, and politics. We knew who had died and when a new baby had been born. It was really nice in the Trafik.” In fact, to visit another European country briefly, in a few of her crime novels set in Venice Donna Leon has her police detective, Brunetti, get invaluable information from the Italian equivalent. The people in the Trafik simply know what is going on in the ‘hood.

But apparently, what with changes in the Trafikgesetz (Trafik laws) and in the concessions they have, ever more Trafiks are having trouble making a real living and, as is possible in a highly centralized administrative system, the government office responsible for regulating them can simply decide to close some down. According to today’s Kurier that government office is planning to close down about 10% of the existing 2600 Trafiks in Austria in the next four years.

Now I hear the free-market capitalists out there saying, “So what? That makes sense.” At this point I need to bring in some additional information. It has always been my understanding that many of the Trafikanten have disabilities that make it hard for them to get other work. One of the points of the Trafik system is to provide them with a moderately pleasant way of making a living and knowing that they are a part of and contributing to society. The Kurier article makes the same point. Some Trafikanten will retire, some will (have to) find other jobs, and the ones with disabilities will simply be out of a job.

For me, old-fashioned person that I am in some ways, it is simply a further sign of the deterioration of organic, local community. And I find myself paraphrasing Winston in 1984: Don’t close down my Trafik. Do it to someone else!

* See here for a brief definition of Grätzl.

All references in this post to the Kurier are to the article “Abschied von der Trafik-Kultur” by Michael Berger.

Regeneration of a district – Neu Marx

20 Jun

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This morning Mylo and I took a trip out to a part of the 3rd district I haven’t been to in ages, if ever. We needed at health certificate for him for reasons that belong in another blogpost and had to go out to the MA (Magistratsabteilung) 60 to get it.

They are based in an area that used to house the stockyards and the slaughterhouses, as the photo above suggests, and are located on a street that did not appear on my 25-year-old map. (It didn’t matter. I asked a construction worker who at first said he was sorry they came in from Mödling and didn’t know the area. It was clear from his accent that he originally came from somewhere outside Austria, possibly Hungary, and, indeed, he then lit up and said, “The street named for the Hungarian comedian, Karl Farkas?” and pointed me in the right direction.)

In addition to the monumental statues of steers on the gates to the stockyards, there is other evidence of the past uses of the space–for example, an enormous building still called the “Rinderhalle” or “beef hall” and the Municipal Vocational School for Butchers (photo below). In true Vienna fashion there is also much for the 21st century. The Campus Vienna Biocenter, one of the leading international biomedical research centers, is out there, too. And there are a number of cheerful eateries that lend life and gaiety to the neighborhood.

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I’ll be going back–not just because we couldn’t get everything accomplished today (also in true Vienna fashion)!

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No dogs allowed

11 Dec

From a park in the 4th district …

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The picture is clear. The nice touch is the text: With the exception of those dogs whose owners clean up after them. 🙂