Sunday, June 28, 2009

A window to the perfect day for Sissi & Andi

The whole past week was dominated by heavy rainfalls – 240 l of rain/sqm- in parts of Austria which caused heavy floodings and also our friends Sissi & Andi had to fight the water and underwent a tough first week as married couple doing absolutely everything to enable the church wedding and big wedding party on Saturday. In contrast to Don Quijote’s battle against windmills, their full commitment as well as the support several of their friends was remunerated with a truly perfect day.

The rain clouds disappeared on Saturday (after still torrential rain on Friday) and the sun came out early afternoon to provide a nice setting for the wedding. The ceremony contained several moving moments like when the bride’s nephew broke out in tears when she was about to sing a song for the couple and was rewarded with standing ovations after not running away, but definitely the highlight was the vow sung by Sissi to her husband with huge emotions and a perfect voice. Once the married couple left the church in
Oberwart the sun was out completely and they were able to accept congratulations by many invited guests and spectators under blue sky.

Lateron we transferred in an old regional train to
Hannersdorf where the wedding party was planned in a huge tent on the hill overlooking the surrounding area. There were no obvious signs that a few hours ago this tent was still flooded and the party pretty much at risk. We all enjoyed the fact that the weather has opened the weather window so perfectly, enjoyed the sheer endless amount of wedding dishes - traditional for the Burgenland pancake strips- and liver dumpling soup, boiled beef with horseradish variation and potatoes, escalopes with salad and rice and roast pork with dumplings and kraut– celebrated the newly-wed couple, danced and had one or the other glass of wine, caipirinha or strawberry daiquiri.

Bubu the dancer - The opener of a long party night!

When we left the party at 0300 it was still running on full steam and rumour has it that it still went on until 0500 in the tent. The couple hopefully enjoyed an unforgettable wedding night and we wish Sissi & Andi once again all the best for their future together!

Kerstin & Markus

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Twin City Party-Weekend

The good thing about a friend's wedding is that prior to the wedding ceremony and -party a decent stag night is celebrated. The past weekend it was Andi's turn and rather than a one-night party the boys extended it to a stag weekend with a first leg on Friday night in Vienna and a transfer with the Twin City Liner on Saturday to Slovak Capital Bratislava for another night of partying.

The weekend started in
Fischerbraeu on Friday night with lots of singing and beer whereas the group of 25 had some decent singing competition from a neighbouring table and thus pushed the boys to the extreme. As a consequence the waiters tried to calm us down because of complaints by next door neighbours, but they have been successful only to a certain extent. Around midnight the stag-boys transferred to a of Vienna's newest and hottest nightclubs – The Box which the hardcore team left at 0500 when the sun was almost rising again. Andi did quite well and was still fit at the time - he has been treated though quite nicely throughout the night.

When meeting early Saturday afternoon for the 75-minute boat-ride the groom - who by the way has married already legally Friday morning! - was weak and refused to eat or drink, complained about feeling not good and almost spoiled the evening. Time though all kind of wounds and so later in the evening a
mojito was the final ice-breaker. From that point on the party picked up pace and ended very early in the morning in the recommendable City Hotel Bratislava right in the heart of the city (or was it a 10 minute taxi rode away?). The hotel seems to be an insider tip for stag weekends. Sunday lunchtime Andi realised how lucky he was when he saw two other grooms - both from the UK - one dressed in really cheap dessous and the other one in a gimp suit botth heading back to the town in taxis. Coming weekend we are going to celebrate again - this time at Sissi & Andi's wedding party.

Kerstin & Markus

Monday, June 15, 2009

The heat was finally on again

While the month of May has been very generous with warm weather and sunshine the past few weeks were rather cool, overcast and wet. Also the long weekend started like that and so we had to bury our plans to go to the Stadionbad on Thursday but at least our plan of a barbeque in the evening with Mirko, Maria & Valentin as well as Stefan & Viki worked out after a short shower.

On Saturday morning though clouds were gone and the morning was all blue sky and so we did use our season-ticket and met with the Haemmerles in the Stadionbad. As if we were jinxed, as soon as we got there, clouds appeared and covered the sun for the next 1,5 hours. Little Valentin, used the time efficiently and trained his gigolo skills by “chatting up” several girls on their towels and managed to squeeze in between two of them within minutes! Once the clouds disappeared and the sun warmed us nicely he let off the girls and went for a swim with mom & dad. We finished the day off at the
Wiener Eislaufverein, where “Sand in the city” offers food, drinks & music as well as playground for children with beach-flair right in the heart of the city throughout summer.

A worn-out race car was the main atrraction for Valentin on the city beach

Sunday morning the weather was even better than the day before - temperatures reached more than 30 degrees - and we yet again ventured out to the Stadionbad and enjoyed together with the Haemmerles as well as Claudia & Oliver the summer sun. Valentin followed the same procedure as the day before and flirted with several female bathers and he was already known by some of the crowd from the day before! After 2 days in the sun we dropped to bed in the evening rather dead and Markus’ plan to watch the decisive Game 5 of the NBA Finals – the Los Angeles Lakers beat Orlando Magic in Florida 99-86 and crowned themselves for the 15th time NBA champion (Lakers coach Phil Jackson is now the only coach to win 10 championships – were scratched. The sun gives you lots of energy during the day, but it takes its toll in the evening. We are not complaining though at all about being tired for that reason!

Kerstin & Markus

Monday, June 8, 2009

Ha det så bra, Goeteborg!

It was time, to say “Good-Bye” to Gothenburg, the sea and the Astro de l’Est on Sunday for Markus and his colleagues. The Polish team, Tomek, Sebastian and Zbigniew were the first ones to depart early morning while the rest was still sleeping and recovering from the night before. Singing along and dancing to ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” and other old classics did make everyone pretty tired and so it was no big surprise that Sunday was very slow. One can not really call it sightseeing what Staffan, Helen Nicole and Markus did in the afternoon in Gothenburg’s city centre after Fritz’s departure but it was rather a gentle walk and a few relaxed drinks in a nice Restaurant/Bar called SoHo close to the central station.

Not everything at Gothenburg's Poseidon statue is big...

The flight back home for Markus was unfortunately not a direct one, but he stopped over in Frankfurt and thus only arrived at the departed home around 2330 and he just managed to unpack all his stuff before falling pretty dead into bed. The sailing though was absolutely worth it, the experience to sail in relatively cold conditions with full gear on was special and not surprisingly the fun-factor with the people on the boat was as expected also very high. After having spent two nights together with 11 other people (incl. boat crew) on a 25m long yacht it felt very strange to be alone in the flat as Kerstin only comes back from Hoerbranz to Vienna by train on Monday and both are looking forward to seeing each other again Monday evening.

Kerstin & Markus

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunshine for the Swedes' National Day

Saturday marked the Swedish National Holiday, and this might have been the reason why the sailors have been witness of really crazy Swedes friday night. Hard to describe if someone has not seen or heard that. Shops in Marstrand were open no matter if holiday or not and so after breakfast the sailors went to buy sailing pullovers with special windbreak material as "crew outfit" in the local store and afterwards went for a walk in this 1600-inhabitant city with a beautiful fort overlooking the sea.

The preparations for the Volvo Ocean Race - one of the most prestigious round the world yacht races - are full under way as between June 10 and 15 the town hosts another stage of this race. The fact that a Swedish boat - the Ericsson - is currently up on the leaderboard makes this event very special for the locals. As for Markus and Co. the sailing on Saturday was less exciting as the breeze was very slow and even the Spinnaker did not help to get the boat going - 4 knots wind was simply not enough. With temperatures much more comfortable than the day before and the sun shining so they enjoyed most of the time on deck chilling.

No breeze but lots of sun invited for a nap

The dinner on boat consisted of local seafood bought fresh in the morning for a steal - 2 bags full of salmon, large and small shrimps, mackerels, herrings and other delicious stuff for less than 100 EUR would be unheard of in Vienna - not really surprising as the sea is not so close in Austria. The dinner was followed by a proper 90ies music party on the boat whereas competition from a nearby wedding party was literally smashed - thanks to Dr. Alban, Snap and Right Said Fred!

Kerstin & Markus

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Fish and other sea-animals need to eat as well

Gothenburg presented itself Friday morning slightly overcast, quite cold with 8 degrees and a slow breeze. After some decent breakfast close to Hotel Villan in which Markus and a few colleagues stayed they checked out and visited Gothenburg's oldtown while the crew, Rainer, Paul, Matthias and Felicia cleaned up the boat from the previous sailors and in the early afternoon they moved into the Astro de l'Est, a Swan 82 race yacht.

Full action sailing guaranteed on the Astro de l'Est

The weather forecast was not perfect for sailing as it was supposed to be only slow windspeed. When setting off there were quite a lot of dark clouds above the boat so that the whole team put on the hard weather gear, protecting perfectly from wind and water, as well as the life-vests. To the joy of all on board the wind sped up and also the clouds disappeared so that the sun could be enjoyed while cruising at up to 13 knots. A few hours into the sailing Nicole, one of Markus' colleagues had to give in to sea-sickness and spent the rest of the trip close to the water and feeding fish with her stomach content.

No sunset yet at 2100

The great thing about sailing so far in the North at this time of the year is that the sun is shining very long and thus we arrived in our destination, the little town Marstrand, at 2100 with the sun still well above the horizon. After a hot shower the team, in the meantime joined by Staffan, one of Markus's and Fritz's Swedish clients, headed towards Grand Hotell for a long dinner followed by drinks with many Swedes and Norwegians until late night.

Kerstin & Markus

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Looking for Vicky the Viking

During the past weekend it became finally obvious that our peaceful time on our roof terrace is over as one of our directly neighbouring flats has been sold and the new owner, a nice lady with a young Golden Retriever, is about to move in during the next few weeks. In order to get over this shock we decided to leave Vienna for a weekend and so on Thursday morning Kerstin hopped on a train to Vorarlberg for a final visit to her mom and sister without our little one and Markus boarded a plane towards Gothenburg for a weekend "on sea" just like the Vikings.

Sunshine up in the North

Markus' boss owns a stake in a Swan 82 race yacht and so a group of 8 decided to join him sailing around the islands near Gothenburg. Last year they cruised in Sardinia with blue skies, 35 degrees and a decent breeze, but this time around warm clothes, hats and windshields are a must as the temperatures are forecast at maximum 15 degrees during the days. Just like at work, one can say that the sunny days with warm wind are over and one has to face a tough climate and a cold breeze in which only the fittest survive. As Vicky the Viking already showed us, it might well be though that the smartest has the best chances to be successful.

Kerstin & Markus

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Orang revolution

The past few weeks were dominated by very warm and dry summer-like weather, which has motivated us already to take out a season ticket at close-by Stadionbad and enabled us to enjoy several beautiful hours on the roof terrace in the sun and excellent BBQ evenings. The most recent week brought some relief for the nature with some rain and cooler temperatures, but spoilt unfortunately our plans to have a nice afternoon somewhere in the green picknicking with Mirko, Maria and Valentin in order to life up to one of the "vows" we gave them togerther with Claudia and Oli for their wedding. Luckily we are spontaneous and flexible and so we changed plans to a day in the Schoenbrunn Zoo together with zilions of other people on Sunday.

We were not alone!

As Mirko has not yet had a season ticket for the zoo he queued for 15 minutes and once we were all inside we realised that it would be a good idea to have some food. Especially Michael, Mary's brother, and his daugther Mattilda were starving. Once we got our batteries re-charged we jumped into the masses at the feeding of the seals. We ended up in the sixth row hearing noise and laughter and seeing every now and then water splashing. Not a problem for us, as we know the procedure anyway. We then made our way via the icebears and the elephants to the lemurs, which had some offspring recently and it was absolutely gorgeous to see these young ones jumping around carefully and humble - more like frogs than lemurs.

Spot the monkey!

Afterwards we visited our predecessors in their new home. After years in the tiny monkey-house the Orang-Utans have (finally) received a new, modern and spacious territoty. Numerous ropes and branches offer them opportunities to climb, ample of space provides perfect setting for hide-and-seek and the outdoor area with green grass and more trees to climb are the bonus on top. We are sure that unlike during the orange revolution in the Ukraine a few years ago the media suport for thes renewal has not been given, but we definitely support the new bawn. After all we are related to the apes and need to suport each other.

Kerstin & Markus