This paper has been hanging on the door of the bike room now for a wee while, and every time I take my trash down I’m greeted by it. We’ve had three break-ins since April, so I wasn’t exactly surprised when I saw it for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Well yes, I was: This is the first time that we’ve ever seen a note on the door afterwards! 😀 So, if any thieves are reading this post: OUR BIKE STORAGE IS PICKED CLEAN! There’s nothing of value in there anymore!! I have a bike that’s really cheap (paid 52 Euro on Ebay for it), and it has survived all the three raids. This makes me feel really proud somehow, haha. Bike thieves are abundant in Vienna, and really the best advice I can give is to make sure to get a cheap-ish bike (get a used one) and a MASSIVE lock for it. My friend had hers locked up outside for 3 weeks with a good lock, but then it too disappeared (it just looked too new).
I love my bike, because it enables me to move over a great distance, all by the power of my own steam. In case you’re wondering, I’ve never had a driver’s license, so I don’t know what it’s like to have a car. My bicycle therefore allows me some of the freedom that car-owners have, in moving where I want, when I want. The thought that someone might break in and steal it is therefore not a good one… Even if it was cheap!
The note from the police is pretty standard. I find it funny and slightly ironic somehow.. that they have no way of stopping the break-ins, once they even skipped investigating because when I called it in I was already at work, but still after the third break-in they write out a form that has the heading ‘Valued tenants.’
People of Vienna: Lock your bikes up with a huge lock, even when it’s in storage. I think that’s the only reason why I still have a bike – it’s cheap, with a huge, mean lock on it, that stays on when it’s parked in the bike storage.
So, I tried the cutest little Thai restaurant today. It was this really tiny place in the 3rd district not far from me – we went there on a whim, something that I cannot recommend! There were only four tables in the restaurant, and they were all reserved for the night. Apparently, it’s just the couple that works there, no one else to help cook, serve, cash up or clean. Thus, when people walked in from the street like we did, they were a bit overwhelmed. The general rule is to order takeaway one hour in advance, and make sure to book a table if you wanna eat there. However, we were lucky, got a table and ordered Pad Thai. Ok, a really standard meal, but it’s usually pretty good. But oh my gawd was the food good! The Pad Thai had this strange essence to it, that could possibly be fermented lemon (a wild guess), or some other kind of juicyness in the heart of its soul that my untrained palate could not place, but definitely loved! I swore to myself that I will definitely come back here.
Apart from having only four tables, there were also some rules for how to behave in the restaurant. We were told off because we were quite enthusiastically babbling away, but it says so clearly on the table that one should not talk loudly, not show affection openly (it’s a traditional Thai restaurant) and no children under 14 are allowed due to the open kitchen. Well, with food like that, it’s no wonder that the people don’t mind adhering to somewhat draconic restrictions. 🙂
Ok… so I love going to the cinema!
When I first arrived in Vienna, I was aware of the custom that German speaking countries have in dubbing movies. I suppose, that with globalisation and all I just figured that surely they would now be moving towards more original language movies. Boy, was I wrong… I’ve watched some movies in German, and to me it’s still extremely weird. The first movie I watched in German was Robin Hood, with Russel Crowe and Cate Blanchett leading. Speaking German… It wasn’t badly done or anything, but it just didn’t feel…. right. So, now I prefer to watch movies at Artis International or at Haydn English Cinema, where I am sure to get the original language. There are some large movie theatres around town which show original versions alongside dubbed ones, but that’s really only for the massive blockbusters. Otherwise, some of the small artsy movie theatres also play original language movies, but with subtitles. That’s really what I prefer… I grew up with subtitles, so I’m quite a fan of them. But I have many friends who just find them downright annoying. At Artis and Haydn, the movies are free of subtitles. 🙂
This is a piece that I’ve had a canvas made from. I really liked the artist’s expression; the soft touches and the slight resemblance to tikis. I had both this one and the one below printed on canvases, and they’re now hanging in my office to greet my students as they come to see mee. I haven’t been down to the canal for a while, but I know that the top one is gone already – covered by a new piece. Such is the life down there – any piece only lasts as long as it’s valued by the onlookers, and so nothing lasts forever…
(The two prints)
A lot of time during Autumn the world looks like this. Today was one, and the fog was actually at some points even thicker than this. I don’t particularly like those days.. I’d much rather have rain or wind or something. In the autumn, Kahlenberg can be stuck in fog for weeks.
Something that can be really frustrating for someone moving to Vienna/Austria from a somewhat ‘normal’ country where shops are open on Sunday, is just that: Shops are not open on Sunday. Not even supermarkets. Nix. Nada. Even though I grew up in a country where the situation is similar, I had become accustomed to do my grocery shopping on Sunday in New Zealand, when I finally could find the time to do so. Stress free, no fuss. So, I often ended up without food on Sundays when I first got here, and it took a while before I found the shops that are open on Sunday. There are five supermarkets that I know of: Billa Franz Josef Bahnhof (in the picture above), Westbahnhof supermarket (really small), Spar Pronto at Landstrasse (small), Spar Pronto at Hauptbahnhof (small to medium but pretty good), and Billa Praterstern (Quite decent even on a Sunday but crazy full of people). Perhaps you can detect a pattern there… (Train stations!). There are also Turkish supermarkets around the place that are open on Sundays, so you’re lucky if you end up living next to one of those.
The experience of Billa Franz Josef Bhof though is one that always fascinates me. The place is always full of bogans, with a lot of dogs. The proliferation of people with bright coloured hair, piercings and collections of dogs don’t always go well with the streams of people pouring into the supermarket on Sundays. I’ve never felt threatened or unconfortable, but I have seen those who have got into arguments with the bogans when they’re asking for money. Some people just don’t want to look at things that aren’t “pretty” when going shopping, I suppose. The worst thing that’s ever happened to me here was that someone asked me for 10 cents. Can’t say that that’s scared me off! 🙂
Pictures are from the Christmas market in Altes AKH, 8th district.
Already last week the Christmas markets opened here in Vienna. There is just about one Christmas market in every district, all with their own little flair. Mostly though the stands sell the same sort of things: Soaps, candles, christmas ornaments (of course), tribal decoration, purses…. and the fooood! That’s like the best part of it. Lebkuchen (<3), roasted nuts in many varieties, ham, potato wedges, sausages… more cookies, Brezen… so many things.. In December I’ll upload more shots from the markets, but this is the startup: Lebkuchen! yummy, delicious, Lebkuchen.
We were also completely overwhelmed by the choice in Punsch that we were faced with.. I had no idea that they could come up with so many various combos! Very happy friends in front of the Punsch Stadl (one of which has a very beautiful smile, but refuses to have pictures of her put online): The Punsch-Stadl is a pretty hilarious place. If you’ve ever gone skiing in Austria, you’ll know their after-ski party traditions: Terrible music, alcohol and traditional and/or terrible music. This place was just like an Apres-Ski party. Amusing!!