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:
November 2010 October 2010 September 2010 August 2010 July 2010 June 2010
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

October 31st

Kärnten is a Wahnsinn :-) (Carinthia is awesome!!)
This is the main slogan of Carinthia - the southern most province in Austria - with popular tourist areas on the Woerthersee or ski resorts in the Alps. The attraction this weekend was the Salsa Festival in Poertschach. It was a spontaneous decision to take the drive down south on saturday afternoon - and it was a good one :-). Besides lots of salsa (until 3AM - and that was after changing to winter time) - we got to do some sightseeing. While Ronnie and Judith attended the workshops today, Bela and I explored Poertschach, Klagenfurt and Villach.
Highlights of our tour:
* enjoy some sun on the Woerthersee and had a second breakfast on the lake
* explored the old town in Klagenfurt and realized that it is even tougher than in Linz to find a place to eat on a sunday
* walked through Villach and found a great Gasthaus with good local beer and food
Even though it was a long ride - about 3 hours in each direction - it was worth it - a good mixture between following our passion of dancing and exploring new places in Austria.
Tomorrow is All Saints Day - another holiday in Austria. It is the day where we remember our friends/family that already passed away by "visiting" their graves. The whole event also has a funny nick name: Friedhofsralley (Graveyard-Ralley).
Time for pictures
Bacha-Tango show by a german couple Awesome Salsa show from a bulgarian couple
Bela and Brita won the 2nd place in the Bachate competition 3AM in the morning - time to end the night
Indicator of a good dancing night: 4 shirts and 3 towels :-) Breakfast at Haus Irmgard in Velden
At the Congress House in Poertschach Woerthersee - too cold for humans - but not too cold for ducks to swim
Bela and I on the dock (not sure how this lady in the back made it into the picture) Havent had a feet picture in a while (this time with shoes though)
Soccer Stadium in Klagenfurt - built for the Euro 2008 Lindwurm in Klagenfurt (the towns landmark)
Theatre in Klagenfurt - built for Franz Josef I Gulasch and Villacher Beer at the end of our sightseeing tour

October 30th

Halloween made it to Austria - at least to some degree - and tomorrow is the day. Not sure how many trick and treaters we will see wondering through the streets - but I am sure there will be many kids trying to get lots of candy. What I am not sure yet is if "grownn ups" also celebrate Halloween with costume parties - but I rather think not as we have our costume time in Fasching - which is in February. Anyway - will be interesting to observe.
Its been a busy week - meeting old friends (Andreas) - checking a comedy show (Alfred Dorfer) and a company party to celebrate our latest release (awesome job).
What I am really looking forward to is what I am going to tonight: At 3PM I pick up 3 other Salseros from Linz and we will drive south to Poertschach to attend the Salsa Dance Festival. Its about time to see more of the austrian salsa scene. Linz I know by heart - Vienna I only explored once years ago - now its Carinthia - lets see if our southern most province knows how to move to latin music :-)
No pictures today - but hopefully after this weekend

October 26th

BRRRR - cold - but awesome time to bike
Whats the benefit of not sleeping well? It gets you out of bed early morning on a holiday allowing you to do stuff that clears mind and soul - for me that would be biking. It was +3 in Linz when I left and it was still freezing up at the GIS with some patches of snow that must have fallen yesterday.
It was really foggy half way up to the GIS but beautiful sunshine on top of the hill. I still call it a hill. Back in Boston we would have probably called it a small mountain :-) - the Giselawarte is on 928m altitude which makes it about 700m[~2300ft) in altitude difference when starting from Linz. Its an awesome ride with just so many options to get there. I learned my lesson on saturday when I picked a really rocky and damp trail. This time I picked my usual track - a little bit through the woods but mainly on the dry roads.
To my friends in Boston I have to say that on days like today I really enjoy being home. Its a public holiday - yeah - and therefore time to relax and enjoy. Lucky for us the next holiday is already next monday - another day off :-)
Enjoy the pictures - the views I get on my rides really help me in times where life has tough lessons to learn. Adios
Linz and the Danube waking up on a holiday like today The Poestlingberg in the back still covered in fog
Fall from its nice side But winter seems to be around the corner :-)
First time I noticed this sign :-) Downhill through the woods
Over Hill and Dale (hope that translation makes sense) Pöstlingberg

October 24th

City Lauf 2010 in Linz
I am glad that Didi talked me into doing the City Lauf Linz this year. A 10k road race through Linz and along the Danube. The weather was cold - but also perfect for the run. I finished the 10k race in 42:46 minutes - thanks to Christian who motivated me on the last meters when he started sprinting towards the Hauptplatzl.
The preparations for the run where almost optimal: A long salsa night with lots of chocolate and fruit :-).
Next road race: Sylvesterlauf in Linz
Next salsa night: Tomorrow at Remembar with a Live Band from Cuba :-)
Chocolate Fountain - really delicious - especially with dried coconut Getting ready for the race: Christian, Robert, Didi, I, Stefan
Runners walking toward the start line --
Last picture before the race First picture after the race: happy faces all over the place
WE DID IT What a treat: Beer to compensate the lost body fluid

October 23rd

I love the Mühlviertel - especially for Biking
The weatherman said: up to 15 degrees und sunny. Well - they should fire him - it was nowhere near 15 and it was not all that sunny. But - who cares - there is no excuse for not going on a bike ride on a saturday - it all depends on the clothes.
I love to ride up to the Giselwarte - cool thing is that there are so many different ways to get there - either on the road or through the woods. The lesson I learned today is that my bike is just not all that good through the woods and fields when it is cold and wet - dont remember how many times I had to get off the bike and push it over wet rocks or uphill on damp grass.
Pictures from my ride are below - could have been better with better weather - but - I was delighted to actually see the snow covered alps (if you look close on the pictures you should be able to spot them).
So it turns out to be a very active weekend. First soccer match with my old soccer group on friday - salsa at Maestro - a bike tour today and a 10k run tomorrow as Didi and I participate at the Linzer Citylauf.
Besides biking it was time to heat up the oven again and to cook my 3rd meal since I am back. I learned my lessons well after my "no so successful" attempts earlier this month. I got some recommendations and a great special ingredient from Juergen that made the rice dish I prepared today delicious enough that I would actually serve it to somebody else. The only downside of today was that I almost took a little bit too much of the special ingredient that Juergen gave me - almost set my mouth on fire :-)
Enjoy the pictures taken from the GIS, Pöstlingberg and Gramastetten:
A british telephone booth along the way - used to cover the garbage bin :-) From the GIS: Pöstlingberg and the Alps in the back
Its hilly in the Mühlviertel - perfect for some good rides From the Pöstlingberg down to Linz

October 21st

A cold night in Salzburg
It doesnt happen often - but from time to time it does: I forgot my camera tonight :-( - and I really wanted to take some panorama pictures in the Salzburg Arena where Salzburg played Turin in the European Soccer League. Fortunately I had my iPhone - so I at least have some pictures. And - as John and Sarah also joined us I can hopefully count on some pictures from them once they get a chance to upload them.
It was a cold night in Salzburg - almost freezing. First half of the game was a bit lame - although Salzburg scored the first goal - which was a surprise. 2nd half was much better - unfortunately Turin scored as well and the game ended 1:1.
As it is really late now - I just post 2 pictures and leave it with that. Cheers
Presenting the Teams Corner kick by Salzburg

October 19th

BOSTON is/was in the house ;-)
Only 4 weeks after leaving Boston I welcomed my first guests from Bean-Town. Sarah and her brother John are on a great tour through Europe with Austria being their 4th or 5th country already. Picked them up sunday evening at the train station, drove them to my place and introduced them to Mozartkugeln and Stiegl :-) To continue the austrian culinary experience we went to Josef. They serve "austrian tapas" - meaning - small portions of austrian dishes. So we ended up with Schnitzel, Gramelknoedel, Kasnudeln, Gebackenes Haenderl and Faschierte Laibchen. Unfortunately I told them what a Beuschl is before I got to order it :-) - The austrian experience is only a good experience if you go to a Wuerstelstand and eat a Bosner and drink beer from a can :-). We concluded the austrian culinary tour last night at Gelbes Krokodil with a Schnitzel for John and a Forelle for Sarah.
Besides the culinary experience it was time to check out the austrian salsa scene. Sarah and I used to dance a lot on the dancefloors in Boston - thats also where we met. Timing could not have been more perfect for them to show up on a monday where we have a great salsa night at Remembar (coincidence?? - NO!! :-)). As a nice surprise I got a great gift which extends my salsa shirt collection. When I moved to Boston I got a shirt saying "Linz > Boston" that I constantly used on the dancefloors over there. People usually read it as Linzer greater Boston - some as From Linz to Boston. Well - check out the pictures - seems the people in Linz have something now to figure out what it exactly means.
After two days it was time to say good bye to my first visitors - but - not for long. They headed down to Vienna for 2 days but I will see them again thursday night when they are going to be in Salzburg. I already had plans to watch Salzburg vs. Juventus. It turned out that John is a huge football (european football) fan and was excited to hear that there is a big match going on this week. So we got them tickets and will see them in the stadium.
Thanks for visiting - hope there is going to be more Boston in the house from now on - cheers
Welcome Sarah and John Austrian Tapas at Josef's
A quick stop at Walkers Time to show off my shirts :-)

October 17th

After Wedding Party with Roman and Marion
St. Peter am Wimberg - never been to this "remote" location in the heart of our lovely Muehlviertel before. But that was changed last night as I was invited to the After Wedding Party of Roman and Marion. Pretty cool idea to have a smaller wedding with the family and then a bigger party for the friends. Not only was it great to see Roman and Marion again but also their friends and family who I used to spend a lot of time with back in the days when we were all dancing in the same club (boy - that was 15 years ago).
Besides the crowd from the Muehlviertel Roman also invited his colleagues from Tirol - some of them "crazy" enough to drive home last night. Anyway - great party to catch up with friends and to meet new people.
Now its time to get everything ready for my first visitors from Boston. Sarah and her brother have been travelling through Europe for the past 4 weeks. Tonight their stop is going to be Linz. Tomorrow their stop will be Remembar :-) before the head east towards Vienna.
Time to drive to the train station - dont want them to wait in the cold and rainy weather. Cheers
Thanks for having me at your party Roman and me
With the newly wed Awesome band playing lots of funny local songs

October 13th

Getting used to my new life
"Have you settled in yet?" is a common question a get these days. My answer always is: yeah - its not been too hard. I've been back and forth all the time and I am back in my old place, got my car back and I know where to go dancing :-)
But there is also the other side of the story: the biggest change for me is that I am no longer living with a roommate - especially with a great roommate I had back in Boston. Fortunately my friends make up for this deficit - seems I can always easily find somebody to hang out with in case I dont want to be alone. Tonight though - after a long day in the office - I had to entertain myself. I was hungry when I came home but was not in the mood for preparing anything at home. So I walked the streets of Linz - found a sports bar - settled down - and enjoyed my food while watching some soccer and listening to a Live-Band (yeah - unbelievable - a live band on a wednesday in Linz :-)) - it was also unbelievable that they took 3.5 for a large saurer radler.
Back in my professional life it seems that I will have a busy fall - lots of travelling through Europe. London, Munich, Bern are the destinations I know so far. My first trip to Mainz this week was very pleasant as well. You have to love german public transit. After my touchdown in Frankfurt it only took 5 minutes after entering the Terminal until I was on the train that brought me to Mainz. Mainz itself - as far as I can tell (only had about an hour to walk through it) - looks like a city that is worth exploring again - check out the pictures.
Closing the entry with some really exciting news: there is going to be a new salsa club opening in Linz in mid November -> YEAH!!! :-)
Rheingoldhalle in Mainz - where I had my presentation The river Rhein in the morning
Mainz I Mainz II
Mainz III Mainz IV

October 10th

I LOVE my new camera :-)
My old PINK Casio did a great job over the last two years - but as she didnt survive the sailing trip it was time for a new one. I wanted to stay with the same model as I liked the handling and because I could reuse the batteries. But - habbits have to change from time to time. I changed model and I am really happy with it - because it has a great built-in panorama feature that works exceptionally well. When I made up my mind to buy it I asked the lady behind the counter: "So - what color options do I have?" - she said: "Blue, Silver, White and Black. I can order Pink for you - but I assume you wouldnt like that?" ;-) - Silver it is :-)
The highlights of the remaining weekend were: Cooking with Juergen and Barbara, Birthday-Party in Gallneukirchen, Lunch with my parents, lots of biking and running and the Black Wings match tonight in the Linzer Ice Arena. Our local hockey team has a really bad season so far. They were last in the standings after 9 games. Today they played number 2 - so - expectations were low. We (Didi, Didi and I) were therefore really surprised to find them 3:0 in the lead after the first period. Unfortunately they lost the game in the end after penalty shootout. But - it was a good game - good to hang out with friends - and a great place to test the panorama feature :-)
Time to hit the sack now. Its going to be a long day tomorrow. Flight to Frankfurt at 6AM - back to Linz in the evening - and hopefully a long salsa night at Remembar. Adios
Schaumrollen at the birthday party Introducing the Hockey Team
First panorama of my living room
Ice Arena in Linz: Black Wings vs. VSV

October 7th

Getting rid of my land sickness
Land Sickness? It happens when you are on a boat for too long and the equilibrium organ got used to a constantly moving ground. When you then get back on solid ground it continues to balance you although there is really nothing to balance. It is especially funny when you are in a small room (like a toilet) and you try to stare straight at a fix point -> everything starts moving again :-) - well - 3 days after the trip I am still struggling with it - but its getting better.
The exciting news of the day was a meeting with a guy who is going to help me remodel my apartment. My initial idea was to just get rid of a wall - but - now it seems that it is going to be a bigger project. It will take a while till we start - but it sounds very promising and exciting :-)
Now back to the sailing trip: we had several hightlights (unfortunately I cannot disclose all details):
* 7 days of warm and almost exclusively sunny weather
* acceptable wind - could have been more - but - it was enough for some good sailing - not good enough though for Martin's kite (more on that later)
* problems with the electric generator: this problem caused us some headache - but - it also helped us to a free cold case of beer - why? because the generator broke our fridge didnt cool anymore. we called the yacht charter company and told them about the problem and also told them that the biggest problem was us being out of cold beer. When they arrived they had the spare parts and a box of cold beer :-)
* more technical problems: the electric fix turned out to be a workaround that only worked for one night. thanks to martins mechanical skills we managed to start the engine with the radio backup battery and made it back to the marina where we the problem was finally fixed
* Chef Juergen: he enchanted us with Schnitzel and other delicious meals throughout the week. We forced him to one 3 course meal as part of a "test bachelor party". When he prepared the Schnitzel we learned that a pan is good - but not necessarily made to hammer the meat flat :-)
* Man over Board: not intentionally - but it happened. Under sails with up to 25knots of wind I tried to use the "outside toilet" - well - I misplaced a step and fell overboard. As I am writing this blog post we all know that my crew rescued me :-)
* Dolphins: We saw some - but not for long - but all that counts is that we saw some dolphins following our boat for a short while.
Picture time :-)
Breathtaking scenery Fixing the steering chain
Well - we were not the only boat Sailing between the Islands
Enjoying the wind Greek Appetizers
Little village where we spent the day waiting for the beer delivery :-) Breakfast in the morning sun
Handles of pans are not made for this type of usage ;-) The result - Schnitzel with Corn Flakes crusting - was delicious
Mr. Martin MacGyver - fixing the battery problem Sailors - THIS IS THE WAY :-)

October 5th

Kalimera, Ouzo, Mythos and Efkalisto
Vacation is always too short - isnt it? Especially when you really enjoy it. Our SAMOS Adventure was a great trip with great friends. Martin, Juergen, Sandro and I spent one week sailing in Greece. We started sunday afternoon and drove to a small village outside of Munich where we stayed overnight. Our flight was monday morning and in order to avoid monday morning traffic we decided to start our trip with a night in Bavaria.
At our last trip to Samos - a little more than 2 years ago - we had the most frustrating experience with flying to Greece (well documented on my diary entries :-)). This time it was "smooth as silk" :-). 4 hours after boarding the plane we steped on our boat - called "Magic". It was "A kind of Magic" what happened in the days after. We had good weather conditions, lots of things to celebrate and in the end I have to say it was one of the most relaxing trips I've ever done.
Well - there are of course lots of stories: Resl proofed himself as somebody that can repair lots of things, Juergen proofed that he can prepare a great meal out of everything, Sandro proofed that you can mess up a shirt really bad and I proofed that you can go on a trip like that and only use one shirt the whole week long.
There is only one sad thing to report: from time to time it is time to say good bye to good old friend. She has been with me for almost two years. She has brought me many strange looks from other people - but also brought me a lot of joy with the pictures she took: My Pink Casio Exilim. On the second to last day of the trip she stopped working - may she rest in peace :-)
Here are the first pictures from the trip - more will follow
Breakfast in Bavaria before heading to the Airport SAMOS - Ready to Board
The Marina in Pythagorio on Samos Sandro is hauling in the groceries for the week
Enjoying the first drink on the boat Ouzo and Mythos - a great combination
Well - what shall I say - in a hot climate like Greece you have to stay hydrated :-) Shopping for bread on the first morning we set sails
One of the fishermen getting his boat ready Martin and Juergen picking us up after our bread shopping tour
Our first of many bays were we spent the night Closely watched by goats that inhabit many of the greek islands