A Travellerspoint blog

August 2011

In Grein

semi-overcast 22 °C

Grein is a village in Apper Austria - about 60km from Linz. Well-preserved and quiet, even in high season, Grein is situated on Danube River and many of region bike-pathes going through. It's famous for the historic town theater (1791) and impressive Greinburg castle on the hill above.

That info that I found about the theatre. Unfortunatelly I only was in the lobby and didn't have time to visit it inside. What a pity!
"...The historic town theater of Grein (1791) is one of the outstanding sights of European importance. Here you can see many curiosities from olden times. Original seats that had to be locked/unlocked with a small key; a toilet that was separated from the auditorium only with a curtain; a prison from where the prisoners could watch the performances and were given food, drinks and tobacco by the audience; the Napoleon box and a lot more."


Deers near the schloss.

Greinburg is the oldest residential castle of Austria (was built from 1500 to 1700), and proudly save history of Dukes that lived and ruled there. It's interesting museum inside, but building itself even more impressive. : late Renaissance courtyard full of light, various rooms, arches, windows, painted ceilings, narror steps and wide balconies, beautiful furniture and art objects, etc.


But at the end of the courtyard, few steps down, here is Sala Terrena, which is refreshing surprise. This grotto room is unique in Austria as one of the earliest examples of such an interior room north of the Alps. Outstanding and unusual, very spacious room(s), all covered with figurative and ornamental mosaics, all made from Danube pebbles (riverstones).


Most of mosaics are monochrome, made in tones of gray, but here and there they flash with red pach or black line.
Beautiful. Guess when Sala Terrena was built?


From the castle we stepped down to the town (3,500 citizents - counted as a village or town?)

Oh, that's very sweet!
Many beautiful buildings, greenery and no crowd except of group on bicycles.

There r lovely Central Square and famous old theatre

Street barometr - for comfort of citizents, here and still works since 19th century.

and other signs. Between cafes and souvenir shops (standard crap to lure tourists) - it was something else that caught my eye.

It was a small shop of crafts that sold goods and souvenirs producted by ppl with special needs. When we entered - we seen them inside, working, because it's also workshop there. They were excited by appearance of visitors and watched us with interest. Most of these people are very uncovered emotionaly, just like kids, so I could see how pleasured they were when we made a choice and purchased semitransperent scarf in colors of autumn. I didn't take any photos inside as was not sure if it was ethical, but may be I should do.

Later, walking in the street, we seen cafe and bakery, where those people worked. They looked happy being involved in real production. I think community of Grein doing great thing, making it possible. I'm sure that behind of it - there is an organisation and professionals who help, but also citizents (don't forget that it's just a village!) need a heart to accept this everyday involve and interraction.

Posted by vanessa 05:43 Archived in Austria Tagged danube castle schloss dawn grein autism upper_austria special_needs Comments (1)

- Enns

Small, but it's a real gem!

semi-overcast 26 °C

Enns is charming! I loved it from the train station to the castel, I may say "from toe to top". I have been there twice: first I only had two poor hours to discover (because of complication with trains), so I rushed at a gallop through the old town, gaped in astonishment and out of breath, randomly shooting (with camera, not gun) all around. The second visit was planned and slow, mostly repeated the 1st glance path with a bit longer stay in the park.
Enns must be seen slow and patient. Enns must be seen alone. I still have a wish to come here once again, may be to stay to sleep there for a night, may be to draw there.

It seems that each second shop on the main shopping street was a lingerie shop.

Posted by vanessa 11:06 Archived in Austria Comments (0)


This the silliest ever clip runs on Austrian (or German?) TV each couple of hours. Maaaann... it's annoying!
Continuous repeating "KiKa Lounge...KiKa Lounge...KiKa Lounge..." and voice from behind (Probably of God?) almost drives me histerical.

Here is the link, if you want to take a look, and there are much more, because it's a serial...

P.S. The hero is Kika Brot ( = the bread!)

P.P.S. The first word he says is "Mist" ( = shit)

Posted by vanessa 11:48 Archived in Austria Tagged tv brot kika kika_brot Comments (0)

- Morning in Alte Donau and evening in Belvedere

sunny 24 °C

Night storm was very dramatic, but morning came washed and clear.
It's surprisely sunny today and pleasant 24C (thanks Goooodddd!!!) so survival week is ending, or at least taking a break. We spent morning walking in Alte Donau (near the Old Danube waters). In fact, Alte Donau is the dead end of former river branch of Danube, separated from the actual Danube by a dam. It's something like the sea of Viennese laubourers and the typical 1920th-working-class-pride. All this area is dedicated to water-sports and taken for lidos (~summer-houses and beach areas), mostly owned and run by trade unions (yes, yes, do not laugh!), which is quite typical for countries with socialist traditions. It's very interesting historical data about Vienna of 1910-1930th.
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Here is something nice. One of the summer-houses was hidden in the shadow of big tree. We mentioned company of young squirrels playing on the branch. Soon mother-squirrel appeared and youth huddled together in a heap and stayed at some distance from the mother, who wanted to make them jumping from banch to the roof of house. She jumped herself there and back several times and tried to force little ones, but they disagreed to risk, keeping distance. Mommy lost her patience, rounded the little one into the bagel and firmly grabbed it with her teeth, then she heavily jumped on the roof. Weight with the puppy was almost doubled and we heard a heavy blow of landing on the iron roof. "Oh my God! maybe they fell to death!" - I said in hope that Mother-Squirrel knew what she is doing. She dissapeared from the roof and we couldn't see what is going there, but it already a bunch of fans gathered around us. Two ladies begun a lively conversation about environmental protection, with no any doubt talking to us in German.

Then we returned home and prepared rich beef goulash with fresh mushrooms (yammy!) + bio-rice aside ;-) + good frutty local wine.
Then Andre was watching F1 - his great pleasure in Europe,
and then we gone out once again.

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Belvedere is not only an excellent museum, but a beautiful garden.
It's hard to take a panoramic photo of the garden with no being pathetic and making kind of royal-official shot - applauds to wealthiness.
So I would better concentrate on details.


In summer here are exceptional flower paradise,
September is less colorful, but finally sculpture and landscape architecture bold out.

Posted by vanessa 06:02 Archived in Austria Tagged belvedere Comments (0)

Week of mad weather (22-28/08/2011)

sunny 34 °C

Do you call it August?
Come on, it's the last summer week and supposed to be more cooler - kinda saying goodbye to the summer. Instead, it suddenly changed to crazy heath! If feels like a desert, I think it's over 40C in the sun and 34C (reported) in shadow. Nights are also warm. AC are not (not yet) popular here... maaannnn... it's too bad!
Brave and toned Austrians continue to bicycle and to make kms of nordic walk; more then this: they continue to dress elegant - it looks like they don't mind the weather and even enjoy it! Andre suffers and complains loudly. Usually I'm the one who moaning about the heath, but this time I manage... well,... it's kind of managing in conditions of toaster-oven. Ja, ja, I feel cooked! The clear benefit is warm river water. We are swimming daily. Also (we r) rollerblading almost daily - at the mornings, when it's not too hot. Once again we are living in the little apartment of my mom's: near Danube and in bridge distance from the 24km-long island, which is great for rollerblading. It would be a crime - to miss this perfect conditions, so I don't. Rollerblading gets around 2,5-3 hrs/ a day, includes swimming and some eventual sunbathing. Then return home - rush into cold shower and lunching. Afternoon can vary. Everyday we have another plan, going here and there, but at general just looking for escape into cooler place.

Posted by vanessa 00:50 Archived in Austria Tagged art vienna museum cafe hundertwasser klosterneuburg fake rollerblade Comments (0)

Dinner with K

No photos, unfortunately, but there are some closeups of conversation instead.

sunny 32 °C

Our meeting with K was delayed numerous times and then fault because of bunch of stupid reasons. But now we finally met!
We met for dinner in Cafe Latte in Neubau, 39 - another nice spot to eat and drink. Nice kitchen and reasonable prices. Also I really like this area, even more then Inner District. Except of heavy heath, which didn't lay down even at night, we had very pleasant time eating and chatting.

K says:

"... (I) have did army service in Germany. Fortunately exactly at this time Berlin Wall fault and both Germany(s) united. They didn't need so many soldiers and my army service became short. Huraaau!"

"... When moved from German Uni to Vienna - I had expectations: this specific cut of mathematics was extremely interesting to me. But I got disappointed very fast - all tutoring in Vienna is too academical, too far from modern science and real market."
and then: "... economy should not be learn in university but at practice - only market can teach this subject"

"... I was born in little place. Ja, that's right, this place where from rottweilers came."

"... My mothers Austrian family had mixed roots, but my father about 100% German blood. He knows languages, includes Hebrew - it's big Jewish community in the town where he lives and this community manages active cultural life, in which he (father) involved"

"... I prefer don't know history of my big family in details, especially not WWII part of - I know one who was involved in SS."

And also:

"When I was a child, I was studying in Catholic school"
" Ah, yea?"
- I smile, "That explains your determined atheism!"
"Oh yes, very much explains!"
- K agrees.
He continues: "Once school teacher (priest) visited families, and came also to our house. He was in the middle of sentence when he stopped talking, and probably also stopped to breath and his face changed colors. "What - is - this???" - asked the teacher, pointing on candlestick. "This one? It's family heirloom, the very old thing." - mother answered. Priest changed colors once again: "Jesus Christ! But it's Jewish Menora!" "Oh, yes, we have mix of bloods in our family, but we are Catholic in few generations..."- genuinely surprised mother. " Oh, no! Your son can't learn in our school then!" - almost sobbed the priest. " Oh, really? But why?" - continued to misunderstand mother...
I don't remember in details about results of this conversation, but as an adult K has allergy on religions. All of them.
Life is confusing thing, isn't it?

I just came from Netherlands a month ago. It was my 1st visit there and I am excited. I do not claim a complete understanding of the country, but having some conclusions and I'm dying to discuss them with one who understands. So I share with K my new theory about connection between landscape and national character. ("Open to the horizon spaces made them being human with wide open eyes") and also about discovery that Dutch are "so much German". (For details go to my blog "In Netherlands"
He agreed that it's a pleasure to deal with Duch ppl - he often goes there for business, and, when it comes to language, it appears that K understands and can speak as well. Talking about variety of German dialects and about native speakers, I mention that Austrian are so polite and nice. If I'm listening to their conversation, I only hear "Ja, ja" each few minutes. If they are not agree then it will b "ya, ya, but..... (explanation why not)", but it always begin positive.
We compare Dutch, Austrian and German "Ja, Ja" and he shows it in very artistic way:

"Ja, ja" - saying sincerely Dutch, and they mean what they say
"Ja-Ja" - singing Austrians, staying a bit meaning - you will never know what exactly they keep under polite smile. Oh, jaaaa, they are VERY polite people!
In Germany it's short "JA", like an army order. Or barking "NICHT", they don't even pretend being nice. Ja = ja, nicht = nicht, and it's not under discussion.

I laugh, cuz it performed cute and funny - seems he knows what he talking about.

K is a law-abiding citizen and not a bully, but an anarchist. He dislikes any government and idea of government itself. It delights me with his statement: " Look at Belgium - they don't have government for few years already, and they are doing great!" I love to hear this, because usually Belgian used as example of lousy people who don't success even to choose government. At my opinion, the nation that products the best chocolate in the world and 1/2 (or more) best beer in the world can't be lousy!

There were more interesting talks, may be I will remember later something else.

Posted by vanessa 05:53 Archived in Austria Tagged vienna dinner konstantin Comments (1)

- Museum of Art Fakes (Fälschermuseum)

sunny 36 °C

This small, privately run museum in the Landstraße (near my beloved Hundertwasser) opened in Vienna from 2005. There r not only the collection of Art Fakes + interesting facts and stories.
.... photos here...

Posted by vanessa 05:47 Archived in Austria Tagged art museum fake Comments (0)

Plachutta (heaven in the pot)

Meeting American friends near Monument of Russian Soldier

sunny 35 °C

What a surprise!
We met friends from States in Vienna's streets. Just as funny as it sounds, we didn't meet over 20 years, ocasionally keeping in touch on net, but not really planned anything together. And here they are, taking photos near monument of Russian Soldier and watching scateboarders at the platz near fontain.
Actually, this is a school-friend of A's brother, but A knows him for whole childhood.
They were going to dinner in Plachutta (too famous and expencive for us), bt we joined them and had lovely time together.
After a meal, which was really delicious, we had a walk in the center, showing to them our favorite places.


www.plachutta.at Wien, Wollzeile 38 Tel.: 01/512 15 77
Very popular, mentioned in every tourist guide, Plachutta symbolises all the best of typical Viennese cuisine. Definately it's a brand, but even being SO famous they are not spoiled. They keep exceptional cooking and perfect service.

Tenderest veal (who grew up in the alpine meadows, as stated in the menu), immersed in a fragrant broth, is fabulously delicious. The meat served in a gleaming copper pans /to keep it warm/; the waiter pours extra portions when you finished. Creamy spinach was emerald green and incredibly delicious, apple horseradish surpassed all expectations ... and foie gras, covered by a thin crust of transparent jelly ... was appropriate poetry or violin playing, but definately not eating of this masterpiece.

About the brain bone, from which the waiter took out the the gentlest content and carefully laid it out on toasted rye bread ... I would better shut up.

Posted by vanessa 15:42 Archived in Austria Tagged food wien plachutta Comments (0)

The Third Skin in the Third District

More of Hundertwasser (new exhibition)

sunny 34 °C

"Man is surrounded by three layers, his skin, his clothing and walls, the building. Clothing and the walls of buildings have in recent times undergone a development which is no longer in keeping with the individual's natural requirements."
F.Hundertwasser, April, 1991

Friedensreich Hundertwasser is one of my absolute favorites. Artist, architector and free soul - he was born in Vienna in 1928th and has gone in 2000. Unfortunately before I could met him occasionally - ppl say that he was coming downstairs of his hous (into public space) to chat with visitors. He was increadiably interesting person, going through life like through one long-term adventure, frequently changing countries and addapting places under his green-world theory. I like his waving architecture, his multilayered paintings, his texts and his personality. I accept some acting in his behaving, because it was just part of the project and also because his enormous talent.

Each year I'm in Vienna and each year I visit Kunsthaus at least once. There are always beautiful exhibitions, but also the permanent exhibition is great. His paintings never could be "learned", ur never "done" with it, because each single glance u watch them - u find new things there. Not only new objects and other colors, but new ideas and other mood.

Being here hundreds of times I only now paid attention on shape of pilars on the street side. What like is it looking to you?

Kunsthaus inside is forbidden for photography. First I wanted to share with you few pics of the building, but decided to stop on couple of odd and unfamous frames. Feeling his art as somewhat very human and private I would like you discover it alone. It's very friendly and colorful at the first glance, but there are so much deeper layers and phylosophy once you return visitor, and each time endless pleasure as well...

:-) Here is the door leading to WC of cafe.
Cafe itself is open-air in the courtyard.

Posted by vanessa 05:37 Archived in Austria Tagged vienna wien hundertwasser exhibition third Comments (0)

How we didn't meet

Feeling like I'm a villager

sunny 28 °C

Ouch.. was supposed to meet with friend (K) for lunch in very central place - at Neubau, but didnt.
I dont even know where from to begin, because all reasons of our no-meeting are silly (one sillier then another)
This lunch was delayed several times and finally came to this Sunday. Allright, we got ready and went there for advance - cuz were not sure how long the way takes. A while before the meeting mobile phone suddenly lost connection and, trying to repair, we switched it (device) off.
Here it begins...
At this point K sent SMS with update of time, but we didn't receive - mobile was locked, to open it need pin-code (it's common thing here, in Austria). We couldnt operate, because it's mobile of my mom and she - she wasn't avaliable: she is currently in US and moving apartment (no internet while moving). We stuck with no connection to the world for a while - which normaly doesnt bother us too much, but not today!
Aha, in this apartment we also didn't have internet and couldnt check up the place and location.

We came to Neubau earlier, because were not sure about location... went through and ... didn't find "Cafe Latte". What a shame! We were near nu 38 and turn back from there, and "Cafe Latte" is at nu 39..... I understood it near MariaHilfer (main shopping street), so we returned there, trying to figure which one it could be (in the case that i was wrong about name) and we decided that it only could b Cafe Ritter, which is at the entrance to Neubau and right against Neubau Underground entrance. (Only Starbucks was opened nearby, but it was said "it's nice restaurant", so Starbucks clearly couldnt be). Afer some waiting near Ritter I thought that may be K understood 2pm and not 1pm.. so we walked around a bit and returned to Neubau at 2pm. Waited for some more... walked among the street .. till Cafe Lambada at nu.38 ( almost got there!!!!!!!!!!!)... and returned home - confused and hungry.

While waiting near Ritter, we were evidents to unusual (for Austrians) behaving of retarded family: teenage girl yelled while crossing the street there and back, her little bro behaved annoying and their father smoked pipe, sitting on the bench of th bus stop. Everybody paid attention, some commented and waiters of Ritter even tried to stop their unsocial behaving.

Our mobile was not in use until night, when we received a pincode from US and got the update message from the noon...
Then, it took another couple of hours until telephone begun to work - it set on wrong ("additional") net and was not able to make a call...
Ufffffff..... What a mess!

Posted by vanessa 14:50 Archived in Austria Tagged meeting Comments (0)

The Lobau – Vienna’s jungle.

Jungle under own nose

sunny 33 °C

We found a national park (Donau-Auen National Park) just next to the door of my mom's apartment in Vienna!

That's me myself there.


The "water forest", lies in the east of Vienna (22th district) and continuous... to Bratislava.
It's one of the biggest European parks of this type. Hundreds of plants and animals, incl. beavers and huge fishes.


Posted by vanessa 15:23 Archived in Austria Tagged vienna nature national_park lobau Comments (2)

- Hadersdorf and Schloss Laudon

With Franz and Nina

sunny 28 °C

Lunch that comes into dinner in lovely garden of Franz and Nina, and then some "sightseeing" nearby.
Schloss Laudon - first mentioned in 12cent as a fort. Damaged with turkes (in 16th cent) and immediatelly restored, then damaged by turkes again (in 17th cent) and re-built once again in 18th cent as a baroque castle, the Laudon Castle is partly accessible to the public. Place of music festivals.

Posted by vanessa 15:42 Archived in Austria Tagged vienna schloss schloss_laudon laudon Comments (0)

Inner District

1st district of Vienna (= Inner District) - the heart of Vienna.

sunny 28 °C

You r wrong if you think you know it, it's never done.

House on Wipplinger Str - one which is just against the Altes Rathaus ( Altes Rathaus = The Old Cityhall)

This is Hohe Brucke (bruke = bridge). Ah, what a beautiful bridge! I know this area very well - it is in Mediveal part of Vienna, not far from my favorite church Maria am Gestade. But I discovered it just couple of days ago!

Am Hof is quite important square - the largest in the inner city of Vienna. History of the square goes back to the Roman era, when a garrison was built here. Then castle, built in 12th century and used as a residence of the dukes of Austria until 1220. Here is gothhic church under baroque facade (Kirche am Hof), Marian Column, with a statue of the Virgin Mary and figures of a lion, a serpent, a dragon and a basilisk (representing a fight against war, heresy, hunger and the Plague). Am Hof square is home for fire brigade (also novadays) & fire-brigade museum.

Parking carriage in somebody's private courtyard.

Unusual triangle flowerbed.

Fabrik of Imperial Linen - official supplier of linen to Imperial Family.

Sign of chimney sweep & vertical cloud.
BTW, meeting with with a chimney sweep should bring you luck!

This is very special.
The Ferstel Passage (also known as Freyung Passage), is an upscale arcade built by the Austrian architect Heinrich von Ferstel in 1860. It connects Freyung Str. with Herrengasse, coming at Herrengasse nearby to famous Cafe Central. Passage leads into small glass-covered courtyard of Ferstel Palace, with fontain in the center. Here is a Donaunixen (Danube waternymph), who holds a fish in her hand. Ferstel Palace was built for the Austro-Hungarian National Bank. Unlike other buildings of this time, the palace was named after the 27 years old architect, and not after the owners.


Three next photos (below) are taken in inner yard of Altes Rathaus (The Old City Hall). Here is Fontain of Andromeda, one of hidden jems of 1st district. Greek story says about brave Perseus who came to save Andromeda from evil animal. BTW, it happen in Jaffa (South Tel Aviv), historical stone is still there. I did couple of paintings of this place.

The second photo is a fragment: it's between Andromeda & dracoon - a while before arriving of Perseus.

But what the hell is this baroque angel is doing?


Click on the photo below - to see it large.
It's interesting one: plants near the doors are common, but tomatos are not really usual decoration - at least not in the city center.


Another interesting object is a Turkish cannonball from 1683!
(In Am Hof Square). Currently building is into the renovation and cannonball is hidden under building construction)


And finally, oh, those girls...


Posted by vanessa 17:00 Archived in Austria Tagged churches buildings vienna austria museum door window wien inner doors_and_windows churche 1th_district Comments (0)

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