Category Archives: Enjoying Vienna

Mission ’24k’ aborted

If I were superstitiuous, I might not even have left the bed: a cramp in my right calve woke me up in the dead of night and could be interpreted as a bad omen.

Missing the bus, then being dropped off at a substitute stop somewhere I’ve never been, could also stop some people from trying to walk 24 km with a 7 kg backpack. But I wanted to do it!

So after our group was finally complete, we set off to hike from Rodaun to Altes Landgut. I didn’t feel good from the start, most likely from the night-time cramp. But also all the muscles down my back, not being used to the weight of the backpack, started to ache. It was really hot, and after one hour, I decided to have a break. Another hour and a bit later, shortly before Altes Landgut, we arrived at a Rastplatz with a fountain and nice picknick tables in the shadow, and settled down for our lunch break. At this point, Ben, who had joined me for a couple of walks already, said something that made my decision for the rest of the day clear: “I’ve never seen you so tired during a hike yet”.

That was the point where I personally decided to skip the second hike that was planned for the day. 12 km with the pack were definitely enough for me – at least that day.

And it turned out to be a good idea: after arriving back home, I put down my pack, sat down on the couch, and slept for 10 minutes. After that, I took off my shoes, and slept for another 20 minutes. After that, I finally made it to my bed to sleep another 3 hours. And only after that did I feel good enough to take a shower.

Next try: Stadtwanderweg 8 at Sofienalpe, about 11 km, which will mean about 3 hours walking time. I will bring my backpack again, this time not as heavy.

I know I can do it.

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.

Hiking around Vienna, alone

To prepare for the long walk to Graz in September, I decided to do some hiking around Vienna. The city’s administration maintains 11 routes called “Stadtwanderwege” (city hiking trails), which are circle routes starting and ending at the same points and can be finished within 3-4 hours each, and 5 routes that consist of multiple stages each. In sum, the city offers about 500 km of hiking trails of easy and medium difficulty.

I did not have any preferences concerning the hiking routes or their areas, so I just decided to check them off according to their numbers, starting of course with number 1 – on the hottest day in June.

Although I had set up a meeting on Couchsurfing, and although I had announced it early enough, nobody joined me – I guess it was because of the weather reports. For once they were completely right …

When I started at 8 am, it was already damn hot. Still, I managed to finish the hike, without taking too many breaks, in under 3 hours. To be completely honest, I took an unintended short-cut somewhere, but only noticed that when I was back on the right track again. I had a great view from Kahlenberg down onto the city, and managed to walk by at least 3 geocache hideouts without remembering to check the app. The way back through the vineyards of Kahlenberg was also nice, but totally exposed to the sun…

The next hike, 3 days later, was number 1a, which shares some parts same with number 1. On this hike too, nobody joined me. One person had signed up for the event, but canceled last-minute – again due to the weather πŸ™‚ Β  I took this opportunity to make up for the shortcut I had taken before and this time took the long way around. The ascent to Leopoldsberg was incredibly exhausting – due to the rain in the morning, and the rapidly raising temperature, I felt like walking in a sauna. For my efforts, I was rewarded with great views on Kahlenbergerdorf and Vienna. With breaks, this hike took me 4 hours.

Big Plans

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

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ˜‰ ), 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 πŸ™‚

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

Museum recap: Technical Museum

To accomplish one of the many exercises IT students have to complete for a positive grade in “Gesellschaftliche Spannungsfelder der Informatik” (roughly “Areas of conflict in between Society and IT”), we had to pay a visit to the Technical Museum in Vienna. We, that’s me and a couple of friends from University, and we had a great time at the Museum on April 20th.

Enjoy the pictures of some grown-up nerds, childishly exploring and enjoying the museum!

Vienna Calling 2012: Recap

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

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 πŸ™‚Β  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 πŸ™‚

Also, this time, I finally really hosted Imre, not only his bags πŸ™‚Β  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 πŸ™‚ “. 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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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!

Museum recap: Museum of Natural History

On May 12th, Georg and I decided to pay a visit to the Museum of Natural History in Vienna.

It is situated close to the city center of vienna, just 2 minutes from Heldenplatz, and right opposite the Museum of Fine Arts. The special thing about these two musems is that they look the same from the outside, except for some details as statues on the facade and the dedication over the main doors.

The entry fee for students is € 5, so if you don’t plan on going to the NHM (German short for the museum that I will use now) at least 6 times within a year’s time, and you’re a student with a valid student’s ID, it’s better for you to just stick to the normal day passes. Awesome, in my point of view!

The NHM was built in order to host the “k. u. k. Naturalienkabinett”, the huge collections the Habsburg emperors had accumulated through years and decades of exploring our world.

Because of the Habsburg’s acquisitiveness and the hard work of the museum curators, in the last 250 years, over 25 million objects (!) have found their way to the museum. Of course, only a fractional amount of this collections can be shown in the museum itself – and still, some rooms seem to be crowded with exhibits πŸ™‚

Also, the exhibits are not the only thing to be amazed by. Just like the Museum of Fine Arts on the other side of the square, NHM is a masterpiece by itself. Take time to take in the frescoes, the stucco works, the busts and so on. You won’t regret it πŸ™‚

I didn’t take too many pictures, but let me assure you: the 5 to 10 Euros you will spend on the ticket, depending on if you’re a student or not, are totally worth it. Just make sure to be well rested, wear comfy shoes and have something to drink with you. The geological collections alone can keep you staring for hours.