Tag Archives: public transportation

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.

Kindness

22 Jul

It’s late and hot. Maylo and I were on our way home from a Heuriger. (Where else would we go on a hot Friday evening? ;-))

It was quite a long trip home with several changes and long waits. We were waiting the tram that would more or less drop us off at our door and Maylo was lying on the sidewalk looking tired. Next thing I knew a man, dirty and poorly dressed but with gentle eyes and a smile, was sharing his bottled water with Maylo, pouring it onto the pavement and watching while Maylo lapped it up.

I couldn’t tell whether he was deaf and that’s why he didn’t speak or simply didn’t speak German. He tried to communicate with gestures and I sadly couldn’t tell what he wanted to say. Then our tram arrived and I thanked him for the water and said good night. Just as the tram doors started to close, he slid the bottle in to Maylo and went his way.

I was sure he needed the wonderfully cold, almost full bottle of water more than Maylo did, but I also thought he perhaps wanted to give it to a hot little dog more than he wanted to drink it himself.

In any case, it was a very special exchange for me, especially in a world where ever more people push themselves ahead, never mind the others, and I wanted to share it with you.

A nice exchange in the bus

22 Jan

I hopped on the bus to go and finally buy some wineglasses. (Of the 18 a friend gave me about 25 years ago — six each of three different sizes — only one remains, and there are some nice ones on sale for €1.49 each.)

There was a man standing with his dog near the door, a pitbull mix by the look of it all correctly leashed and muzzled. Since the man didn’t seem interested in the empty seat near him I took it. Within 30 seconds the dog had decided that I was a friend and came over with dog-like enthusiasm to say hello. We exchanged a few friendly words and then he (she?) turned his (her?) attention to the woman sitting across the aisle from me. Similar raptures and then the man called his dog back to him. The woman across the aisle smiled at me and “So eine nette Begrüßung” (“Such a nice greeting”). I replied “Ge?” (Viennese for “Wasn’t it?”) And then, true to proper behavior on public transportation in Vienna, we each went back to what we had been doing.

Eine nette Begegnung (or chance encounter).

A new announcement in the U-Bahn

16 Oct

I’m on my way to the university and heard this announcement for the first time: “Dear Passengers, Please keep your luggage with you at all times. Unattended bags will be removed.” Feels almost as if I’m finally living in London.

The gloves are off – but the masks are on (we hope)

18 Oct

For months the public transportation authority in Vienna has been making an announcement in its vehicles along the lines of “Dear passengers, please cover your nose and mouth when in underground stations and using public transport.” (An aside: I imagined the pleasure of the translator that they were proficient enough to know that “nose and mouth” sounds more natural in English even though in German it is “Mund-Nasen-Schutz” or “mouth-nose protection / covering”.)

A day or two ago I realized that this announcement has been shortened and is now delivered in a more peremptory tone compared to the rather mellifluous earlier version. The current version: “Dear passengers, please cover your mouth and nose.”

What’s next? No “please”?

An expression of the Viennese sense of humor :-)

14 Sep

It seems the public transportation authority in Vienna is pretty happy about Dominic Thiem’s win in the U.S. Open. 😉 The 1 tram usually travels between Prater and Stefan-Fadinger-Platz. There is not (yet), as far as I know a place in Vienna called “Thiem”.

Congratulations to Mr. Thiem! 🙂

Mobility in the time of the corona virus

15 Mar

Yesterday I picked up A4 paper at Libro, as announced in yesterday’s post, and, I must confess, I picked up something else–a bicycle helmet.

I’ve been meaning for a couple of years to replace mine, which is over 25 years old, but the truth is that for various reasons I haven’t been riding my bike. Now, though, even with the relatively empty trams, I’ve been thinking I might want an alternative form of transportation.

I had already gone to the sports store near me a month or so ago to look and get some information, and yesterday I decided the time had come to act.

At the cash register the woman in front of me in line was buying a city scooter. The process was taking some time–the salesperson was making some adjustments for her–so I started a conversation. (This is something I ordinarily wouldn’t do in Vienna as it is frowned upon but seems more acceptable under these exceptional circumstances.)

I pointed to the helmet I was buying and said,”Are you thinking in terms of alternatives to public transporation, too?” She opened up, telling me that she wants to make sure she can check in on her elderly parents without taking the tram and would prefer to get to work that way, too. (She is in a job where her presence is required.) Then she pointed to the bike helmet and said, “I don’t like riding on the street so I’m getting something I can use on the sidewalk.”

By then her scooter was ready to go. She rolled away, and I finally purchased my helmet.

Somehow I have the feeling that, before this virus is under control, I’ll be getting done a number of things that have been on the back burner for quite some time.

On today’s to-list: Get bike out of cellar, pump up tires, and take bike for a spin.

Ducks!

12 Apr

Two ducks just hanging out next to the bike path on the Ring. I love Vienna a.k.a #keenonwien

Wiener Linien

12 Jan

The Wiener Linien (“Vienna Lines”) are the public transportation authority in Vienna. Here, we even have unicorns taking the tram. 😉

A new corner of Vienna

26 Oct

Somehow I find myself avoiding my usual corners of Vienna, like Neuwaldegg or Nussberg. They’ve been so crowded recently that I’ve hardly enjoyed my walks there with Maylo. I think it’s great that so many people are out in our beautiful fall weather getting some exercise and fresh air. I just don’t want to share the space with all of them. It isn’t very restful.

Today, on the Nationalfeiertag (celebration of Austria’s neutrality clause after the Second World War), Maylo and I followed up a tip from another dog person and took the U1 out to its new (to me) terminus, Oberlaa, where there’s a clinic / spa with thermal waters.

 

My ancient (1988) Baedeker’s Austria tells me that the Kurzentrum Wien-Oberlaa is a “spa treatment establishment” opened in 1974, a date that doesn’t surprise me as it showed up constantly on the various signs in the Kurpark. The site was the scene of the Vienna International Garden Show in 1974, and a number of attractions in this 860,000-square-meter green space, like the sculpture on the Rosenhügel or the Japanese garden, date back from that year.

 

Unlike many of Germany and Austria’s spa towns, Oberlaa does not seem to have a long history of people taking the waters there in spite of the fact that they, according to my Baedeker’s, have one of the strongest and hottest sulfur springs in Austria. (I figured out about the sulfur without Baedeker’s help. You smell it the moment you get out of the underground station.) So it’s not very traditional but they wasted no time in establishing two things essential to any Kurort: the park and a famous patisserie.

The park, true to Kurparks everywhere, is a carefully controlled environment suitable to people being treated for various maladies. There are paved paths, railings, lots of benches to rest on, carefully tended flowerbeds and lawns, and completely tamed bodies of water. It’s also suitable for people staying for several weeks at a time, providing different attractions like a petting zoo, restaurants, different kinds of gardens including an allergy garden(!), and, no doubt, somewhere a gazebo for concerts on fine days. We wouldn’t want people to get bored while they’re being treated!

 

Maylo and I didn’t make it to the patisserie, Kurkonditorei Oberlaa, but we wandered about the park and enjoyed ourselves, catching the impressively clean and quick U1 back into town when we had had enough.

Our excursion has inspired me to start a new practice. I’m going to try to get around to all the underground stations in Vienna to see what is there, focusing especially on those stations I don’t go to regularly. Look for more under the tag “U-Bahn stations”.

A note for my readers not familiar with the Austrian concept of Kur. A Kur is a stay, usually about three weeks, at a nice, although sometimes somewhat clinical, hotel at a place with special springs where various medical conditions are treated. Several of my friends have been on Kur for intensive physiotherapy. It’s almost de rigeur after major surgery. And sometimes it is prescribed simply because people are feeling run down. It sounds like something for rich people and did use to be. The aristocracy of Europe used to run into each other at Kurorte all over Germany and Austria and similar places of healing in Switzerland (those sanatoriums!). These days, though, it is prescribed through the national health system here and patients pay only a tiny daily rate based on their income. There’s something (else) to be said for social democracy.

This means that a Kurort is a town with such an establishment, a Kurpark is a park attached to such an establishment, and a Kurkonditorei is a Konditorei or patisserie especially associated with such an establishment, essential because the Austrians, on the whole, have never been all that good at denying themselves the pleasures of life if they could help it.