My Diary

I've split my diary now to individual months - so - the default page will be the diary of the current month. Here are the links to the other entries so far:
May 2010 April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 January 2010 December 2009
November 2009 October 2009 September 2009 August 2009 July 2009 June 2009
May 2009 April 2009 March 2009 February 2009 January 2009 December 2008
November 2008 October 2008 September 2008 August 2008 July 2008 June 2008
May 2008 April 2008 March 2008 February 2008 January 2008 December 2007
November 2007 October 2007 September 2007 August 2007 July 2007 June 2007
May 2007 April 2007 March 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006
November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 August 2006 July 2006 June 2006
May 2006 April 2006 March 2006 February 2006 January 2006 December 2005
November 2005 October 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 June 2005
May 2005 April 2005 March 2005 February 2005 January 2005 December 2004

April 28th

Back in Boston - Busy as always :-)
I made it back to Boston after my extended stay in Linz - and I made it back with a smile on my face :-)
The trip back was smooth. I sat next to a japanese girl who studies in Boston. Talking with her a bit helped me getting "back on track with my english". It is always fascinating how fast I "loose" my english after being back home in Linz. Anyway - the 8 hours flight gave me time to practice my conversational english.
The cab ride back to Jamaica Plain was interesting. I tried to make a phone call but had troubles understanding the person on the other line because the cab driver was so loud on his phone that it was hard for me to understand anything in my conversation :-) - later on he told me the story and explained why he was yelling with the person that he was talking to :-)
Back in our house I was welcomed with a fridge full of beer and with a message that I better not eat too much because there will be dinner anyway -> Thanks Stephan for the great dinner you prepared that night.
Long story short: It seems I handle the jetlag pretty well this time. First night I went to bed at 9:30 and slept till 4AMish. Second night I went to bed at 11AM and slept till 5AMis. Tonight it seems like I am back on normal schedule - to bed around midnight - up at 6AMish. Great thing about tomorrow: its going to be a bike-commute day :-).
There has been no salsa this week so far for me as I am saving my energy for Havana Club on the weekend :-) - and of course for the bike-ride tomorrow morning.
Alright - thats it. Besides salsa on the weekend it seems the temperatures are also going back to normal. Today we had 2C in the morning - boy - that was cold. On the weekend we expect up to 25C - just as it should be :-)
Adios, Cioa, See you, Bis Bald
Stephan working on our dinner on monday night With friends & colleagues (Ardy & Kathy) out for dinner

April 25th

Casting my vote
The extra week I got to spend in Austria allowed me to cast my vote today at the Austrian Presidential Elections. Every 6 years the austrian people elect a new President who "mainly" has a representative role for Austria. The turnout of voters is suppossed to be minimum with an expected win of our current President - will know more tonight after the polls are closed.
I also got to run in the Linzer 3 Brückenlauf (3 Bridges Run). I didn't feel all the well on saturday morning. When Didi called me at 10 - telling me that he also wants to run - we decided to late-register for the event together. After that - at 11AM - it was time for "Austrian Breakfast": Beer and Leberkässemmerl - delicious :-) - but maybe not the best meal before a 6k run :-(. In the end the run was awesome - finished in 26:19.
On saturday night my friends in Gallneukirchen invited to the first Grillerei of the year. The weather was perfect - the food was delicious - and I was happy to see the group one last time before I board the plane on monday. Ulli - who is a passionated guitar player - grabbed his instrument and started playing great tunes later at night. Looking forward to seeing him in Boston in July as he is going to be there for a conference.
Alright - its sunday - its sunny and warm out there. Its time for a final bike ride - then time to return my car to Juergen and Barbara and time to drink a final beer with SAMOS-Crew :-)
If everything goes according to plan the next entry to my diary will be when I am back in Boston - Tschuess Linz - it was a great time - looking forward to September. Welcome Boston - been gone for a month now - looking forward to Jamaica Plain, Havana Club and many visitors over the sommer months. Adios
Before: Getting ready for the Race Yeah - we did it :-)
Smiling faces (well - my face looks more like roaring :-)) After: we all made it
Ulli playing us some rock classics Breakfast with the nephews and nieces

April 22nd

My Extra Week in Linz
Thanks to the Volcano (who's name I still can't pronounce) I got an extra week in Linz. Even though I am looking forward to be back in Boston I have to say that I really enjoy my extra time that I can spend with people that I really care about.
My first "extra" was monday night salsa @ Remembar. As I haven't posted any pictures of that night in a long long time I finally took some pictures of those salseros that usually make it to the very end of the night. Here is one thing to tell my fellow friends in Boston: Salsa mondays in Linz last from 9PM to 2AM!! - yeah - on a monday (awesome!!)
My second "extra" was a visit to the "Exxtrablatt". Barbara and I went there for beers and burgers (the burgers are really good - almost as good as in the states) and we checked out the list of movies that are played at the european film festival this week. Lets hope we get to see some of those we picked - seems that these movies are really popular and seats are rare.
Tonight - wednesday - I got to hang out with Alois. We went to Josef's - a local bar/restaurant that started to serve "Austrian Tapas". Basically they took the ideas of Tapas (small snacks) and applied it to austrian cuisine. I had Beuschl, Gramelknoedl and Blutwurst - delicious. While eating and drinking we watched the first half of the Champions League match Bayern Munich vs. Lyon - unfortunately no goals in the first half and besides a red card not too many exciting things going on.
Instead of going to bed early I hooked up with Kristina, Irene, Maria and Thomas to check out the Night Line Party at the OK-Center. It is a party hosted as part of the European Film Festival (at least thats what I believe). The music that was played by the DJ was something like rock and pop - but - who cares - Salsa moves definitely worked on the dancefloor :-)
What's coming up? Hopefully some movies shown at the festival. Then we have the "Long Shopping Night" in Linz on friday. For my US friends - shops usually close at 6PM (yeah - it is a curse - but it can also be a blessing). Anyway - this friday shops are open late and they have bands playing in the streets and I guess there are some additional attractions planned. On saturday I participate in the "3 Bruecken-Lauf" - it is a 6K run over 3 bridges in Linz - should be fun.
Alright - time to go - I hope you all enjoy the great weather we have right now (on both sides of the Atlantic). Adios and Good bye
Brita, Richi and Kristina - Salsa till the end of the night Kristina, Me and Brita - I still wear my Linz->Boston shirt :-)
Alois with his Beef Tapas I got Beuschel in the first round :-)

April 20th

Always listen to both sides of the story
Guess I learned several lessons the past couple of days. The biggest one was that it is always important to listen to both sides of the story - that makes it so much easier to understand why you end up in a situation that you can't really explain right away.
The other big lesson was that human nature can't do anything against an errupting volcano - which is probably a good thing. In my case it delays my return flight to Boston for at least one week. It didnt look too bad on monday morning when they re-opened the austrian airports - but - with all german airports still closed this didn't really help me to get to Frankfurt :-) Fortunately for me there is plenty to do in Linz - there is a lot of work - there are a lot of friends - and there is salsa dancing :-). Linz also hosts the European Film Festival Crossing Europe this week - I hope to catch the one or the other movie.
Greetings to my friends in Boston. As a famous Austrian used to say: "I WILL BE BACK" - just don't really know when it will happen (propably next monday).

April 18th

Last weekend in Austria before heading back - or maybe not??
If everything goes according to plan I board the plane to Boston tomorrow morning. As we all know - this plan is jeopardized by a Volcano (who's name I can't pronounce) in Iceland. All flights have been canceled and it seems there won't be any flights today. Even if they start flying again tomorrow at 2AM (thats the current proposed time) I doubt my flight will make it - I would assume that all those folks that are stranded right now will be transported first. Thats why this weekend may have not been the last before I make it back to Boston.
The weekend was great - only had a small flaw. It started on friday afternoon - playing soccer with my old soccer group in the Koernerschule. Then it was time to visit Barbara in Salzburg - checking out the Salsa-Scene in the Mozartstadt. Instead of "Sound of Music" the "Sound of Salsa" filled the air. Before heading back to Linz on saturday it was time for some sight-seeing in this beautiful city on the Salzach. The original plan for the afternoon - helping my friend Peter to move into his new appartment - got changed to a short bike trip as Peter had many helping hands in the morning that managed all the work before I got back to Linz.
At night it was time for Tanzcafe Hoppala - its the pub in my home town Gallneukirchen where we used to hang out a lot. It's closing its doors next month and invited one last time to the anual "Veteranentreffen". It was great meeting so many of my old friends from Gallneukirchen. It was time for old stories and updates (who is getting married, who is getting kids, ...).
Now its sunday morning. Already drove to my aunt and uncle to buy some "Austrian Water" - or Schnaps :-) - to bring back to Boston. Now we are getting ready for lunch - my mum is preparing chicken.
Alright - enough with the stories. I probably won't know until tomorrow morning whether I actually fly to Boston or not. An extra day would actually mean I get another monday night @ Remembar :-)
Festung Hohensalzburg at Night - view from the Salsa Place Salsa Action in Salzburg
More salsa Interesting effects with long shutter time :-)
Breakfast at the Republic Cafe Getreidegasse in Salzbug
Even McDonals has their own "Zunftsign" in the Getreidegasse The Salzach down south
The Salzach up north Biking around Linz - Looking down to the Poestlingberg
Somewhere down there is Linz :-) Old friends at the Veterananetreffen: Christian
Didi Elke - getting married in July!!
Doris - maybe getting married at some point in time :-) ?? (sorry cant think of your name right now), Stefan and Andi
The whole gang Last Veteranentreffen in Hoppala :-(

April 14th

Old Aching Body
The days after a race like the half-marathon on sunday are always the worst. Stepping stairs was brutal on monday. Sitting down was a blessing - but getting up was a curse - legs burned like hell :-(. Despite all the pain I had an awesome salsa dancing night at Remembar. It was my last salsa monday night before flying back to Boston next monday - and it was a good one. Danced until they closed the bar at 2AM - despite the pain in my legs which I didn't feel as long as I didn't walk the stairs that led to the bathroom :-)
Yesterday evening I got the chance to meet Andreas. This is "The Other Andreas" that used to live in Boston for quite a while but moved back to Linz earlier this year. He had interesting stories to tell about what is going on with him right now and told me about his adventures in Romania. For those of you who know him - I can asure you that he hasn't lost his "colorful" language :-)
Today was time for soccer - twice actually: played soccer with the guys from work and then I watched soccer on TV with Didi. While watching TV I noticed my hurting ankle from playing soccer in the afternoon. Thanks to Didi and Sandra I got taken good care of -> the sports gel really helped to linder my pain.
Whats coming up? 2 more days in the office - and a fully planned weekend: salsa dancing in Salzburg on friday, helping Peter to move into his new appartment (2 floors above my appartment), going to the "Veterans Party" of my old favorite pub in Gallneukirchen on satuday and a final day with friends and family on sunday before I hop on the plane to Boston on monday morning.

April 12th

"Spanish Doping" for my Half-Marathon
Sunday - 7:30AM in Linz, Austria. With only 3C (that is 40F) degrees outside and the chances of rain or even snow showers I wondered if it was a good idea to sign up for the Half-Marathon as part of the OMV Linz-Marathon. It turned out to be a good idea :-)
My preparation for the race was - well - a bit unconventional. I only went out for a run once last week - and that for only 30 minutes as I felt my legs burning too much for me to keep going. So - there was no real practice for me although I knew that all my biking and salsa dancing should help me regardless of any special training. I also had the best intentions of going to bed early on saturday. After watching an awesome movie - New York, I Love You - we went out for a drink. We ended up in a Tapas Bar where we had two delicious spanish white wines and some tapas. With about 6 or so hours of sleep I strongly believe that this "spanish doping method" definitely did it for me :-) - I finished the 21km in 1:37:08 :-)
My legs burn like hell today - stepping stairs hurts - but I am so much looking forward to salsa dancing tonight :-) Its my last salsa night @ Remembar before I go back to Boston next monday.
Here are some impressions from the Marathon. Adios
The dynaTrace Running Team Getting closer to the start line (which was on the Autobahnbridge)
Final picture with Hans-Peter at about 5 minutes before the start 14000 or so runners getting ready to run
Met Hubbo at the end of the start line - just as every year :-) Finish Line at the Linzer Hauptplatz
Sweaty, exhausted - but happy :-) A little snack at Walker - Debreziner - yummie

April 10th

Week 2 in Austria is over - one more week to go
Time is flying by. I am two weeks into my trip to Austria with 9 more days to go. Its been an "interesting" trip - with lots of great moments and lots of lessons learned.
Monday was Easter Monday - a public holiday here in Austria. The Grabner family gathered at my parents place - thats 3 kids and 6 grand children for my parents. I really love my nephews and nieces - but - 6 in one place not only means joy and fun but sometimes tears and fights too (yeah - who would have guessed? :-)).
Tuesday was movie time. We got to see Bounty Hunter in the original version - great for me as I just love movies in english -> good to know that the cinema in Pasching is still playing movies in OV.
Thanks to Juergen and Barbara I got invited for dinner on wednesday - AWESOME!! - Didnt know that you can prepare the meat in that way - and - the desert - really cool :-) - Sandro joined us as well and so we ended up talking till midnight -> Thank You my Friends!!! --> SAMOS!!! (thats an insider)
Yesterday night I discovered something in Linz that I didnt know exist -> a smoke-free restaurant!!!! Bigoli on the OK Platz. Amazing italian food (and I am talking about real italian food and not Pizza). Thanks to Irene and her boyfriend Thomas for picking this place.
Well - and tonight - friday night - it was time for the last Ball in the season in the Palais Kaufmännischer Verein. Ballroom dancing until 1:30AM. It was a bit odd because the ball was basically a Prom - so most of the "kids" were around 18 or 19. But - it was still a lot of fun. Unfortunately I had no real dance partner with me - but fortunately - Peter allowed me to "share" Brita - so I also got my dances tonight.
Alright - well - that was my week. Tomorrow should be quite - getting ready for the half-marathon on sunday. Unfortunately the weather forecast is not really promising. Rain and temperatures below 10 degrees - brrrrr.
Good Night Everybody
Maximilian getting ready to use the Mentos Geyser I brought him from Boston Here we go - works prefectly with Coke :-)
Kids showing off their biking skills to their "Uncle from America" :-) Eierpecken with Maximilian - in the end I lost :-(
Disco-Sam-Sa in the Vereinshaus with Brita Peter doing a better job with the ballroom dances
Ballroom Action in the beautiful Main Ballroom Reka and Richi also enjoyed a night outside the salsa scene

April 5th

Biking along the Pferdeeisenbahn
Finally got out for an extended bike ride. Yesterday - after driving back to Linz from my parents I decided to hop on the bike and get some excercise. Headed towards St. Magdalena where we biked along the path where the old Pferdeeisenbahn (horse carriage train) used to be that connected Gmunden, Linz and Budweis (in Czech Republic). Here is an old map that shows the original tracks. Somewhere near Treffling I explored some new territory: Via Niederkulm and Altenberg back to Gallneukirchen and then up through the woods to my sister in Grasbach. From there - after an extended stay back via Gallneukirchen to Linz right before the rain started :-)
Here are some pictures from my trip. Adios
Towards St. Magdalena Hopping on the Pferdebahnpromenade in St. Magdalena
Great path - spring is definitely here :-) Pit Stop - somewhere near Treffling

April 4th

Spring Skiing on the Easter Weekend
Up at 5:25AM - on the road by 6AM - on the slopes at 8:45AM -> great idea from Didi :-)
Well - I think the pictures tell the whole story that it has been an awesome day in Obertauern. We chose this ski town as compared to our "usual spots" (like Hinterstoder) because of its high elevation and therefore making sure that there is enough snow. Its really late in the season - can't even think of any time where I went skiing that late in the season. Well - it was a good decision. Snow was great - weather was perfect - and there were hardly any people on the slopes :-). We also met my friend Peter who happened to be in Obertauern as well.
After a perfect day in the sun it was time to meet my friends in Gallneukirchen. After a good Jause - long talks and some drinks my body showed the first signs of the long day. I am sorry that I spent the last hour on the couch - sleeping :-). I stayed over with my parents who were still up when I got home shortly after midnight. 3 hours or so later we finally decided to go to bed after having some really interesting and cool conversations with them!!
Getting up this morning was - well - not that easy :-). As always, when I stay home with my parents, the kids in our hours don't care whether anybody would like to sleep a bit longer :-(
Well - time for Formula One now. The race is already in progress. Haven't seen a race in a long time as they usually dont show it on US television - therefore I take advantage of the situation of being here in Austria right now.
What's coming up? Some movies this week with friends in Linz - hopefully some dancing - hopefully some biking - and the half-marathon next sunday.
Happy Easter
The Tauern - awesome Panorama Enjoying the time on the slopes
We challenged us by going down some steeper slopes Perfect: A Wheat Beer in 2300m :-)
Ripperl for Lunch Guess I was too aggressive with my carving :-)
Didi did a better job Prost - A Koenig Ludwig Weissbier
Just breathtaking - WELCOME TO AUSTRIA!! Peter enjoying his time in the sun

April 2nd

A busy week is ending - here comes Easter
Guess it must have been a busy week as I havent updated this site in the last 5 days! Well - there is always lots to do when I am travelling to Linz. First of all it is a business trip which means I work monday - friday. But then there is of course the social aspect of my trip, meaning that I try to meet up with friends.
Its friday night and I am getting ready for an early start tomorrow morning - 6AM to be precise. Didi and I decided to drive to Obertauern for a day on the ski slopes. If the weather forecast is correct we should get some sun and not too cold temperatures :-)
Salsa monday was great - of course :-). Tuesday night it was time to discuss the sailing trip in September - yeah - its time for a trip to Greece with my closest friends Martin, Juergen and Sandro. We did the same trip 2 years ago -> A LOTS OF GOOD MEMORIES (as far as I remember :-)).
Wednesday night was Champions League night. Got to see Barcelona vs. Arsenal. What a game - good, but with an unexpected final result. And finally last night. I had the best intentions to stay home and just do nothing. But fortunately there are friends like Udo who happen to be at a bar in my neighbourhood - PROST!! :-)
Easter is coming up. Time for family - time for my nephews and nieces - time for friends. I didnt really take pictures this week. The only ones I took was this morning on my bike commute to work. Hard to believe but there was snow on the hills around Linz and it was kind of foggy and wintry on the bike trail.
Happy Easter
On the bike trail towards Pleschinger See pretty much the same shot :-)