Back home in Vienna

So, my daughter and I back home in Vienna after 6 1/2 weeks travelling through North-America and 3 weeks relaxing in Klagenfurt, my hometown, in Carinthia, a southern state of Austria.

Though back in Vienna a great change is going to happen next week: My son – nearly 20 years old – will be moving out!!! Nothing will be again as it used to be….

It’s great and important for him to leave the parent’s home and though such an incredible impact for me, his mother. I’m glad for him but also weeping silently from time to time… can’t believe it…

North-America

Yes, we have been there – in North-America 😉

New York – Champaign, IL – Chicago – Milwaukee – Billings – Seattle – San Francisco – Los Angeles – Venice Beach – Newport – Phoenix – Albuquerque :)))) – Santa Fe – Denver – Chicago – Mount Pleasant, MI – Sleeping Bear dunes, MI – Detroit – Toronto – Ottawa – Montreal and back to NY…

And yes, we did it – the whole route by Greyhound 🙂

see me in Albuquerque, my dream coming true 😉

Going West: Greyhound, Albuquerque and other idées fixes ;)

Lots of people asked me why I planned to take just the greyhound bus for touring through North America and advised me to consider the Amtrak train instead. The Amtrak were more comfortable and faster and moreover travelling by greyhound were just foolish, unusual and a real torture.

So let me explain a bit about my reasons for my decision: I’ve been travelling on my own for over 30 years, mostly by train; I got to know more or less whole Europe. Here it’s quite common to take the train, and I’ve always loved the train though it’s nothing new for me. I had all sorts of trains and all adventures in trains you can encounter in Europe. I don’t think a North American train will offer new perspectives. Of course, when I’m going finally to India next year I’ll take the train and I’m looking forward to all new experiences there.

For us Europeans „Greyhound“ bears a fascinating magical sense – it’s exactly what I want to discover: This experience of a very special road movie. And although I’ve been a bit in a turmoil what to do I’m now convinced I’m doing the right thing. Even if it’s less comfortable we will be more flexible on greyhound, we will get and breath the American air at stop-overs, even on a high-way it’s more sensual than just seeing the landscape passing by through a train window like a movie which doesn’t affect you. Sometimes the effort and the uneasiness is just the way to appreciate things…

Albuquerque. For many many years it has been an idée fixe of me to see Albuquerque. Not New York nor Los Angeles nor Chicago nor San Francisco nor Miami nor New Orleans – – but Albuquerque. I guess it’s the fascination for nearly deserted countysides, the emptiness, the vast land. But also for its population and the native culture. The region around Albuquerque never meant U.S. to me but was associated with an exotic and very amazing place. Perhaps also scary for it’s vastness and solitude, a town midst endless void landscape: just „awesome“ in both senses, a bit frightening and also wonderful. That type of place attracts me; I searched it in the Sahara, and also in the white endless snowfields of Lower Austria 😉 I even made a film about it, which is to be continued 😉

Our travel plans have got a clearer shape since my last blog. We (= my daughter and me) will stay first some days in New York City with my husband’s school friend Joanna, then at the very begin of July we will take the greyhound line to Montreal, stay there one days or two, my daughter will love it, as her best French friend is of Montreal’ish origin. Moreover my daughter doesn’t speak English but quite good French 😉 From they’re to Toronto and the Niagara Falls. After that we plan some relaxing days in Michigan, Mount Pleasant, with Dave and his wife Agnes who invited us to stay with them and show us around (we are looking forward to hiking across the dunes).

After that Chicago, staying with my auntie Anni (my mum’s sis), this will we around the 9th, hoping to stay there also the 11th of July which is my birthday – and of course also my redhead twin sis’ birthday, hoping to meet her there ☺ My twin sis is great, she helped me a lot preparing my trip and taking off my nervousness 😉 we are not biologically related though it seems we have a lot in common – Wahlverwandschaft: a relative you choose. The next stop will be a small place near Champaign to stay with my (biological) cousin Grazia; she was born in Austria and only 6 months old when my aunt emigrated to the states – taking the Andrea Doria in 1955 – whereas my cousins Silvia and John were born in the States.

I guess about the 15th we will start our second greyhound tour – this time the really great and exhausting one 😉 From Chicago or St. Louis to Salt Lake City, from there I would like to go to San Francisco, perhaps L.A. meeting Bee, though if we feel it may be too tiring so we’ll skip the west coast and stay just in the „wild west“ ☺without crossing the Rocky Mountains, go from there south to my mentioned dream: Albuquerque. Then towards New Orleans, again a bit French 😉 and farther to the east coast. I don’t know yet if we will go to Florida, it depends of friends of friends are there at the moment and if we have some time left. At the End of July we will arrive in Savannah, Georgia, where Liz and Abdel invited us to stay with them ☺ Abdel is Moroccan what is great as my daughter and I visited this amazing country last year – and again a French speaking person 😉
That’s more or less the end of our trip – we have our flight back on 11th of August from NYC and will spend some days before our return again in this famous city.

I want to thank all my friends in the States inviting and encouraging me! Since I decided to visit the States I encountered such warmth, which overwhelmed me – I’m really looking forward to meet you all personally 😉
I’ll post my travel diary on multiply by e-mail as often as possible; you are also invited to follow me on twitter for daily updates in form of a kind of mini blog.

Alban Berg Quartett – Farewell concert in Vienna

Yesterday the ingenious Alban Berg Quartett gave it’s last concert in Vienna at the Konzerthaus;
the Ensemble, founded in Vienna in 1971, has been one of the most amazing string quartets in the world and many contemporary composeres dedicated them special works: so e.g. Berio, Lutoslawski, Schnittke, Urbanner and Rihm

read more about the ABQ here

and listen to ABQ’s phantastic interpretation of Schubert, String Quintett C Major
ABQ:
Günter Pichler: Violine
Gerhard Schulz: Violine
Isabel Charisius: Viola
Valentin Erben: Violoncello

together with Heinrich Schiff: Violoncello

This was the farewell concert:

Alban Berg Quartett
Freitag, 20. Juni 2008, 19:30 – ca. 21:40 Uhr
Konzerthaus, Großer Saal

Interpreten
Alban Berg Quartett, Streichquartett
Heinrich Schiff, Violoncello
Alois Posch, Kontrabass
Elisabeth Leonskaja, Klavier

Programm
Franz Schubert
Klavierquintett A-Dur D 667 «Forellenquintett» (1819)
***
Streichquintett C-Dur D 956 (1828)

Afterwards we were not only invited to the after concert reception but had also the great pleasure to talk personally with the ensemble leader Günter Pichler as we are long years friends with his daughter in law; it was so nice to see also his 9 years old grandson there 😉

Song Saturday is hosted by Anne

Dag’s Nightly Visit – Video

My new camcorder: a canon HF 100!

Just great, see it’s first video 😉




Saturday relaxing at a wine tavern

Weekend afternoons and evenings lot’s of Viennese people use to spend at a typical new wine tavern in the outskirts of Vienna, midst of vineyards and in full nature. We are lucky to live in such an area and so we meet quite often with friends at such a “Heurigen” as we call those taverns in german – which literally means “wine of this year” and gave those typical taverns their name – which btw must be run by the wine farmers themselves offering only their own products. So you relax in the nice gardens, drink very good wine and eat Austrian plain fare.

The pics were taken last weekend, when we went with long years friends to a Heurigen tavern in a little village called Perchtoldsdorf (Lower Austria) – just 5 minutes from our house… a very good distance for the way home which is usually undertaken in a more or less dizzy state of mind 😉

There is a woman going from one tavern to another selling fruits covered with chocolate – she is always very impatiently awaited 🙂

Our friends in love – a Heurigen can be very romantic, too 😉 He just bought her a lovely flower bunch…

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in a strange mood

Is that me… am I lost…
do signs
stay between being and needs
does communication really mean sharing
or do words interfere the immediate feeling
what is intermediate?

are we getting more and more
remote
from the essential…
being driven apart
from us and us

Smoky’s Barbecue

On weekends my husbands loves to barbecue…

see for yourself 😉

The first new tortoise eggs of this year :)

Today our greek tortoise layed 6 eggs!

Last week our female tortoise Beaubeau (about 30 years old) has been running around being somehow quite nervous and restless – a sure sign she was about laying her eggs soon. It had been rainy and quite cold those days, to cold to lay eggs, as warm temperatures and bright weather are needed to do so. So, finally today, saturday, it became quite hot again here in Vienna and in the afternoon the right time had come: our Beaubeau started digging!

It takes about one or even two hours to dig a hole of the right size and depth, the egg laying takes about 10 or 15 minutes and then it lasts another three quarters of an hour to close the hole in a way you wouldn‘t see any sign of a previous digging and egg laying. It‘s amazing.

My work – as the climate in Vienna is too cold for eggs to hatch – is now to dig out all eggs with caution (the position of reptile eggs must not be changed) and put them into a incubator at a temperature of about 32-33 degrees Celsius for 55-62 days.

See my last years blog with an egg laying video at http://tinyurl.com/3kxmwb
and its egg hatching with photo album here http://tinyurl.com/3j6b98

A very special diary of a very special daughter :)

Mon petit ange est de retour de la France! Bien arrivée ce soir, après été allée de Nantes en TGV à Paris, puis en avion à Vienne; elle semble d’être très heureuse et un peu moins enfant qu’au départ…

SHE IS BACK! My little daughter, my special angel, is back from Nantes in France! Happiness everywhere, laughing and crying parents, dancing kids on the airport.

Enfin enfin… elle est revenue saine et sauve, avec un tout petit journal de bord dans son nouveau (!) sac et une tête pleine de souvenirs… et elle raconte et raconte sans cesse…

Mother‘s Day in Ljubljana

Last sunday was Pentecost what means a long holiday weekend with holidays from Saturday until Monday, schools even until Tuesday. As I was invited to a so-called network meeting (see photo below) in Ljubljana on saturday evening we decided to spend our vacancies there.

As it happened to be the second in May that Sunday was not only Pentecost but also mother‘s day. I was looking forward to spending it in Ljubljana, as I‘m born and grown up in Klagenfurt, a town only a hundred kilometers away. So – at that time, many many years ago – my parents used quite often to undertake a day trip to Ljubljana and so this time the 3 days’ stay was also a nice reflection of my childhood.

Tomorrow morning my daughter is going to leave for France for one week, she will be staying in Nantes, a quite strange feeling knowing my little baby so far away (nearly) on her own… it a school activity, so she will be with her class mates, strange all the same…

So it seems from one day to the other it‘s me being a little girl visiting with my parents Ljubljana and the next moment it‘s my little girl who is travelling on her own so far away…

post scriptum: bon, j’ai pitié avec les francophones, alors voilà un sommaire:
Le weekend passé j’étais avec ma famille a Ljubljana (Slovénie) en vacances de Pentecôte pour 3 jours; avant tout pour relaxer et aussi parce que le samedi soir il y avait un “network meeting”.
Le dimanche était la fête des Mères et j’étais très contente de la passer cette fois a Ljubljana – une ville où j’étais très souvent dans mon enfance avec mes parents comme Klagenfurt est tres proche. A l’époque c’était moi l’enfant et maintenant déjà ma propre fille commence à mener sa propre vie comme elle va partir en France pour une semaine avec sa classe et sans ces parents…

Soft guitar sounds

What could be more amazing than listening to inspiring music?

So, follow me to a lonely beach, lean back, relax and enjoy

Rodrigo’s Concerto de Aranjuez, played by Paco de Lucia

Mon rêve de la mer du nord

Could there be anything more romantic
than the North sea and it’s dunes,
the low deep sky and its western wind?
Let’s dream together, mes amis 😉

Ce plat pays, la mer du nord,
les dunes et le vent d’ouest
– rien de plus fascinant et romantique dans le monde!
Un rêve de beauté…

Listen to Brel’s wonderful lovesong for his flat land
Jacques Brel – Le plat pays

And even more impressive the dutch version, again by Brel himself

Dans ce cas là le son de la langue flamande est incroyablement onomatopéique…
ècoutez donc
Jacques Brel – Mijn vlakke land (with English subtitles)

Typical Austrian spring: winter says hello!

Have a wonderful new spring my friends – je vous souhaite des merveilleuse journées en ce printemps, mes ami(e)s!

Chez nous en Autriche l’hiver nous fait signe de ne pas l’oublier en envoyant encore de la neige. Mais les fleurs, ici on voit des perce-neige dans mon jardin, les messagers du printemps nous chuchotent que le journées printanières ne vont pas tarder…

There is still some snow falling over Austria, winter says hello – but the new blossoms and early flowers bravely deliver their message: Spring can’t be held back! Coming soon 😉

The little white flowers you see above are SNOWDROPS – in Austria one says they are the first sign of spring. Actually they are growing THROUGH the snow, they have a sort of peak on their heads and only when they are through the snow cover they unfold their leaves and blossom. Austria and especially Carinthia is an alpine country and we use to have snow until April!
read more about those wonderful snowdrops here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowdrop