Tuesday, November 25, 2008

No knock-out punch. No Loco-motion.

Last weekend winter has arrived in Vienna - just as the weatherfrogs have predicted. While friday was super-unfriendly, with some 3 degrees and heavy rainfall, saturday morning presented itself as a fantastic day with blue sky and crispy cold temperatures. A few hours later the sky darkened and when looking out of the window one felt like on a movie-set: the aircondition was turned down massively, the wind-machines were running on full-throttle and the guy on the roof emptied huge bags of tiny polystyrene-balls. We have never seen such funny and strange snowflakes before. After roughly 1 hour the snowflakes had againthe normal and usual shape one expects and our terraces as well the Prater put on a beautiful white winter-outfit. Luckily temperatures stayed low so that the snow did not disappear immediately. Unfortunately though the wind prevailed as well and not only made the temperatures feel much lower but also forced Markus' scooter into a horizontal position 3 times over the weekend.

The new week started of cold but nicely with stockmarkets all over the world being pretty strong. Not because Austria has a new government (or a t least new faces and new responsibilities), but because Citigroup, on of the largest financial institutions, has been bailed out over the weekend with a 20bn USD cash injection and a 306bn USD guarantee and investors were relieved and had enough of falling prices. How long will the euphoria last? Could be anything from 1 day to a couple of weeks. I would not get over-excited and not chase markets for short term profits, but clearly in the long run levels are attractive.

We are moderate and therefore did not celebrate the positive Monday with a Kylie-gig, huge fireworks and champagne like the opening of Atlantis - The Palm hotel in Dubai but with mulled wine and punch at the christmas market outside Schoenbrunn castle in Vienna with Viki and Stefan, Markus' brother. The four of us have not met for more than a months now and it was a nice, though a little bit wet-cold evening concluded with some snack and warm tea in their flat which is pretty close to Schoenbrunn.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Same Same, But Different

So far we were pretty lucky with the weather as it was relatively mild for November and actually also pretty dry. If you would not see live-broadcasts of ski-races instead of Formula 1 races on TV one would not guess its mid-November. But if the meteorologists are right, then we are heading for the first signs of winter and maybe the first snow.

We could return there every year without getting bored!

We can't imagine a better thing to do than to catch a car to the airport, get on a plane and flee to a sunny destination. Hence we are pretty envious on but at the same time very happy for our friends Lini and Peter, who have delayed their honeymoon from August to November and are heading to Thailand for a three week holiday next weekend. We used the last opportunity yesterday for a nice brunch with them and the rest of the Bella Familia - including special guests from Hamburg: Moni, the exile-Austrian and Tim, the photographer.

We are looking forward to the pictures from the trip and accompany Lini and Peter in mind to Bangkok, 30+degrees, sunshine and the warm waters of the Gulf of Thailand. Have fun, enjoy it and come back safe!

Kerstin & Markus

Sunday, November 9, 2008

We together - The race

Last week Saturday Kerstin came back from a week in Gran Canaria where she has visited her cousing Katrin and her friend Dipak together with Sandra. It was a great break from the grey (though warm) Vienna as temperatures during the day ranged between 20 and 30 degrees depending on whether they went to the south of the island or stayed in Las Palmas. Even short but heavy rain did not cool off the days a lot and only during the evenings temperature levels droppped. The sunshine allowed for hours on the beach (be it "normal" or nude), walks on the dunes and hiking tours to the mountains and in the evenings the 4 had great spanish dinner an met with their friends.

Unfortunately the wind in Gran Canaria was preventing Kerstin to use the time as training camp for today's big race: the 25th Cricket Sie-Er-Lauf in the Prater - a relay race over 2x 4km where almost 1200 couple-teams were participating. We obviously were adding training sessions during the past week, but the missed unites were very hard to make up for and we have had a big challenge to overcoe: our private race between Maria & Mirko, Lissi & Christoph and ourselves. The big favourites were clearly Lissi & Christoph (especially after learning that Christoph finished the 4km Vienna Nightrun in ca. 14 minutes!!).

Big excitement before the race

Sunday morning at 0945 the three teams + our two cheerleaders Evi and Valentin met in our flat to get prepared for the race which was started at 1100 not far from our place. The excitement was big when the girls started off and fighted hard - after 2 km they were level. Unfortunately on the second 2km Kerstin was outdistanced slightly by Maria and Lissi and so Markus had the almost undoable task to chase Christoph. The task could not be fulfilled at all, but Markus and Mirko crossed the finishing line together. Whatever the result - it was big fun and we were very happy that we have signed up for that event! We will be working on our pace for next time! So be warned ;-)

Kerstin & Markus