Category Archives: CouchSurfing

Two nutshells

I like recaps. They give me the possibility to think over stuff I’ve done. Also, I’m not one for blogging all the time, as you might have seen. It’s more like sitting down once a month (or every 6 weeks), thinking about what I’ve accomplished or what has happened since the last time I wrote – and then write about it.

So here is my 2012 in a nutshell.

I finished my first semester as a student at University. Not very successful, but also not without success.

We had an awesome winter with lots of snow, and I went skiing both with my parents and Georg, and there was terrific traffic chaos everywhere (I remember pictures of roads in Tirol and Vorarlberg, covered in 1-4 meters of snow!).

I spent 3 weeks in the US and Canada, making new friends and relishing every minute of it.

When I came back, I bought a bike, Maya, and set on discovering Vienna by bike. And: a cat cafรฉ had just opened in Vienna, and the BBC featured me in a fluff-piece about it ๐Ÿ™‚

I decided to go for a 10-day hike in my holidays.

I finished my 2nd semester as a student – again, not as successful as I could have, but good enough.

There was, of course, Vienna Calling 2012.

I did a lot of hikes in preparation for The Big Hike, and worked at Vienna Zoo during summer break. Also, in August I moved in a shared flat with Stefan, and had a lot of doubts about me being at University.

Then, autumn already. I was incredibly motivated, and did a lot of work for University. Georg moved in with us (yes!), and then … somehow … already it was Christmas.

There was big get-together with old school mates (from more than 10 years back), meeting and visiting relatives and friends, and after one week, I was happy to return back to Vienna.

So this was 2012 in a big nutshell (coconut like).

2012 in a smaller nutshell: it brought lots of new friends, finally seeing old friends again, discovering Vienna anew time and time again, seeing new things in Austria and also visiting new places all over the world. And of course, lots and lots of new things learned.

Let’s hope, 2013 will be like this – or even better.

Meeting my childhood star

Tuesday, August 14th: this was by far the coolest day working at the Zoo so far!

Why?

Easy. I could watch the film crew shooting a new episode of TOM TURBO, a series I loved to watch when I was a child. I remember going home with my best friend, Isabel, after school to watch the latest episode, spellbound by the newest adventures by children our age and a high-tech talking bike that can do awesome tricks.

Somehow I seemed to be the only one of my colleagues to be this intrigued by our “VIB” – but I did see some people who had asked if they could have a picture taken of themselves and the bike who were totally freaked out to have that possibility. They were my age ๐Ÿ™‚

As TOM TURBO’s garage is located at the Zoo (after the main entrance, turn right, pass the Terrarium/Aquarium house, it’s on the right side), there’s also a life size TOM TURBO to be found there all year round. No wonder I already have a picture of me with him, right? I even used it as my profile picture on CS for some time ๐Ÿ˜‰

Hiking around Vienna, with Couchsurfers

Stadtwanderweg 2 seemed to be more interesting for others than 1 and 1a. Or did they like the weatherforecast more? Anyways, a handful of people signed up for the event, and they even showed. Just like before, it was not always easy to find the route due to the strange placing of signs: they’re never where you need them. If there is a crossing of 2 or more routes, and you’re not sure which to take, when you just started, and have no idea in which direction to go, be sure there won’t be a sign. If there is only a joining of routes, or not even a forking anywhere to be seen, there will be a sign. And with any luck, it will point in the right direction, and only in that direction. It won’t point in between two routes, it will be intelligible, and will leave no unasked question unanswered.

Of course, we again took shortcuts (unintended, as always), and once or twice took the long way around. Still, we always managed to keep our walking time under the time stated in the information brochures.

As the last Stadtwanderweg, number 9, runs through Prater, I decided to skip that one. Prater is a great area, and I’m sure the route is nice, but I prefer to go (and also to move around) there by bike. So after Stadtwanderweg 7 (happening today), which will feature also a pre-hike hike from Rodaun to Altes Landgut, and number 8 (next week, at Sofienalpe), I will start to walk parts of the Rundumadum trail that goes all the way around Vienna. After walking 10-14 km every time until now, I want to get closer to the “real thing”, and hike 20-25 km per day.

Big Plans

I have big plans for September. Details will be published regularly here ๐Ÿ™‚

As a first “leak”, check out this activity I started on Couchsurfing. Also if you’re not registered on Couchsurfing, you’ll be able to see the content.

If you want to join me on one of these hikes, just send me an email or post a comment here. I will update the meeting available at the posted link with all upcoming dates.

The plan is to just work through the list from 1 to 9, including the variations 1a and 4a. I might not get through with them all because of my plans for September, but we’ll see. Once or twice I will also try to “check off” two at a time, but that will be announced on the meeting page – and I guess, also here.

Packing

I’m moving. Again. Since I moved to Vienna in November 2008, I have lived in 3 flats (including the current one). As our landlady needs the flat, our contract has expired and we have to leave by the end of August.

Everytime I move, I get pretty excited rather soon. This means that I already wanted to start looking for a flat in, like, March. But as nobody is as crazy as me, there are no offers for flats half a year in advance. So I had to wait. Until May came around, and I could finally start looking. I wrote a dozen emails, and even got some answers. I went to look at a couple of flats (and room mates, for that matter), but did not find anything fitting my needs, purse, and schedule.

Until Thursday, during Vienna Calling, at the Summer Nights Concert. I started talking with Stefan, a guy I got to know at the last Winter Camp (rumour has it I met him before, but I only recall Winter Camp to be our first encounter). And as life is funny, and the Lord moves in mysterious ways and so on, Stefan actually was looking for a room mate. I say WAS, because he’s not looking any more.

Because I’M moving in with him ๐Ÿ™‚

So now I’m packing. Because hey, it’s only about two months to go. And I like to pack my stuff, to see what I have hidden away in all the dark corners of my room, and then get rid of some of those things.

Yay ๐Ÿ™‚

Vienna Pride: Born this gay

Just to clear things up in case you’re wondering: no, I’m not gay. I’m straight, and I’m in a committed relationship. Still – equal rights for everybody are an important thing to me. In my opinion, LGBTs should have the same rights as everybody else. They should have the right to marry (not to just have a “ceremony” at the registry office), they should have the right to adopt children, they should have the right for IVF.

Since 1996, there is a demonstration taking place in Vienna every year. It’s a big demonstration, but also an aweseome parade, a great party and all in all a lot of fun. This year it took place on June 16, and I met up with some girls from couchsurfing to go see the parade and give away free hugs. It’s always a lot of fun to give free hugs. Usually the funniest parts are the faces of the people who just can’t believe anybody could be so crazy and just hug strangers because it’s fun and gives you a positive feeling.

But at the Vienna Pride Parade, it’s different: people are in a great mood and are having a good time, and they also like to hug strangers. Of course, there’s the occasional ass-grab (without and with the parade, but at the parade, more women are grabbing ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), but this time, there was a first-time: somebody tried to set me up with a friend of theirs.

Big fun.

Looking forward to next year ๐Ÿ™‚

free hugs including a “try to match”, and some grabs at my ass

Vienna Calling 2012: Recap

So, finally, nearly 2 weeks late, here is my personal recap of Couchsurfing Vienna Calling 2012 ๐Ÿ™‚

On Wednesday, our first Couchsurfer for the weekend, Verena from Berlin, arrived. She even brought presents: self-made jam made of rhubarb, combined with banana and strawberry. YUMMY ๐Ÿ™‚ย  In the evening, there was the Welcome Party close to my place. 3 different live bands were playing, and it was just great – a lot of people whom I met via Couchsurfing and who have become good friends, arrived in time for the party. It felt a little like a class reunion ๐Ÿ™‚

Also, this time, I finally really hosted Imre, not only his bags ๐Ÿ™‚ย  2 years ago, I last-minute hosted him on Sunday night and gave him my keys so he could go to the afterparty while I had to sleep because I had to work on Monday. When I got up Monday morning, he was lying on the couch, still dressed. His answer to my “When did you get home?” was – “Ahm… 10 minutes ago ๐Ÿ™‚ “. This time was different, he accepted my last-minute offer, came home a bit later than we did, and really did sleep on my couch ๐Ÿ™‚

On Thursday, after a short visit to the Base on Donauinsel, I last-minute decided on participating in the underground walk, which was REALLY cool. We even ran into another group taking a tour down there – only they did pay and only saw a little bit of the tunnels, and we got the tour for free and saw the whole thing. A little after lunch, Manu & Iris from Augsburg, a couple we met at last year’s “Sounds of Salzburg” meeting, and also at “Couchburg in Augsburg”, arrived. They also brought lovely gifts: 4 bottles of awesome bavarian beer. Also VERY yummy ๐Ÿ™‚

Manu and Iris went off for the Heurigen Tour (which was not that good, from what I heard), and we only met again during the free Sommernachtskonzert (Summer Nights concert) of the Vienna Philharmonics. We did not hear too much, because we were at the back of the stage, but we had an awesome view and a lot of fun with Stefan and Nathy.

On Friday, it was time for my Cemetery Tour. After touring Zentralfriedhof for over a dozen times in the last 2 years (and also twice during Vienna Calling ’10 and ’11), I had decided to go to another cemetery this year: St. Marx in Vienna’s 3rd district. It’s a lovely small, romantic and overgrown cemetery that hasn’t been in use for over 130 years. I didn’t have as many attendants as last year, but that might be because there was a city tour that ended just a little too late for some to make it to my meeting point. After the planned tour at St. Marx, I spontaneously decided to accompany some couchsurfers to Zentralfriedhof and give them a short tour there. Well – there is no such thing as a short trip to Zentralfriedhof, and we walked through there for about 2 hours.

On Friday evening, the plan was to stay at the Base, maybe go to Prater for some rides, and just relax. Unfortunately, the Prater plans had to be abandoned due to torrential rain that also doused the BBQ. We had to relocate that night’s meeting to Flying Pig, and also the next day’s location for the general meetings.

After a relaxing day and the Main Party on Saturday, I met with some couchsurfers on Sunday to go and give Free Hugs in the first district. All in all, it was a really exhausting weekend, and good fun ๐Ÿ™‚

Vienna Calling 2012: Status Update

Here comes a short update of the preparations for Vienna Calling (it starts TOMORROW, people!!):

  • clean the flat: done.
  • get my room organised and less chaotic: done.
  • update my meeting status to “no couch left”: done.

Please remember, everybody, to update your status according to if you need/can offer a couch or if you don’t any more! There are still a lot of people on the “looking for a couch”-list, but I’m not sure who still belongs there and who doesn’t ^^

I’m so much looking forward to my couchsurfers arriving on Wednesday and Thursday, and to great parties and lovely BBQs throughout the whole weekend!

Vienna Calling: Full House!

The couches in our flat are filled!

Only about 10 days ago, I received a couch request from Manuel, a couchsurfer from Augsburg whom Georg and I met at Salzburg’s “Sounds of Salzburg” last year. He and his girlfriend Iris asked if they could stay at our place during Vienna Calling – and of course they can!

So, we’ll have Verena from Berlin and Manuel and Iris from Augsburg staying here in less than 4 weeks – yay!