Sunday, August 30, 2009


Bjarni participating in his first Austrian race. Otherwise a very relaxed weekend.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Café Central

Vienna is among other things famous for its old traditional coffeehouses. The first coffeehouse opened according to popular history shortly after the Turkish siege in 1683. The Turks apparently left behind several bags of coffee beans, which a Polish guy figured out to process into coffee. Many years later the locals enjoy sitting around for hours reading the newspaper, drinking Wiener melange (the local version of cappuccino) and chat, while the waiters run around wearing jackets and bow-ties. Café Central is one of these old popular cafees in the city center that brags of old famous guests like Sigmund Freud and Leon Trotsky. We have been there several times to soak up the atmosphere along with a lot of other tourists. I went back Thursday afternoon to enjoy Apfelstrudel and the company of my good friend Signe's relatives, who was in town. Of course I forgot the camera, so these are pictures from a previous visit.

Cafe Central
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Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I was in the Austrian newspaper last week. They were doing an article on how public parks are used in Vienna, and I was again hanging out in a hammock with a book after class :)

Kurier 2
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Saturday, August 22, 2009


Today we received our boxes from the US, and has spent the whole afternoon unpacking. Ever since my dad randomly mentioned containers sometimes fall off cargoships, Bjarni has spent a great deal of time worrying about our stuff traveling across the Atlantic. But the boxes and the guitar made it all the way safely, and it feels great to unpack and put all the different things in place. Our Vienese home has has now emerged out of belongings from Denmark and the US, and it feels great to mix the two!

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Friday, August 21, 2009


Our good friends Jórunn and Baldur made a stop in Vienna on their travels through Europe, so we enjoyed hanging out with them for a couple of days. Bjarni got to know Baldur 10 years ago, when they were both working and learning German in Vienna, so those two were constantly struck by flashbacks of places and people from back in the day. "Oh, remember Frau Contento?!..." Our lovely guests treated us with Mexican food, which we haven't had since leaving LA, and it was so so good! We, in turn, were responsible for the margaritas, which turned out pretty good (and strong!) -- I think we should make that a habit, serving margaritas to whoever enters this apartment. Anyways, we hope to be able to go visit Jórunn and Baldur in Holland, where they are currently living. They have managed to visit us in LA and Vienna, so now we are way behind.
It seems like I was so occupied taking pictures of things (?) during their stay, that I forgot to take proper pictures of our guests, so here's an old one from LA.

Jórunn & Baldur

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Picnic in the Park

It's been so hot the last couple of days so we headed out to the park to enjoy dinner and a cold Stiegl on a blanket in the grass tonight. Very nice indeed.


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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hanging Around

After the German class ended yesterday afternoon I decided to walk to a nearby Asian supermarket. Still not knowing that part of town too well I ended up going in the wrong direction, but what a luck because I ended up in a park full of public hammocks! How neat is that? I simply couldn't resist and spent half an hour swaying in the shade listening to a podcast with Anders Lund Madsen & Anders Breinholt (Danish radio) and figured Vienna isn't that bad after all.
Tonight Jórunn & Baldur from Iceland are arriving, so the next couple of days should be full of sightseeing.

Bis bald.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

District 20

So, our apartment is located in the 20th district, which is home to an interesting mix of Turks, Austrians, Eastern Europeans and now an Icelander and a Dane... We are yet to explore our new neighborhood in details, but the local trams, the coffee places/bars and the canal with the incineration plant are some of the things we see whenever we head out.
First picture is our own street. Our building is on the right side.

Turkish Coffee

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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Happy Bubbles

As we walked through the city center the other night, we passed by some of the many street artists that are entertaining the extensive amount of tourists during the summer months. One of them was a guy, who was making giant soap bubbles for kids to pop. Dads were running around with kids on their shoulders to chase the bubbles, and the kids were shrieking with joy, when they managed to burst the big bubbles. It was so extremely simple and yet everybody in the international touristy crowd smiled and laughed by the scene. I was reminded how little it takes for people to laugh together of the same thing in spite of different languages, beliefs, etc.

Bubbles 2
Bubbles 3
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Friday, August 7, 2009


As we are getting more and more accustomed to our new life in Vienna, there are inevitably things we are missing from our "old" life. I think I can speak on behalf of both of us when I say that the number one thing that is missed is all our friends back in LA. (Not that we don't miss those of you in Denmark/Iceland, but it's different because we are used to being far away..) We are doing our best to get out there and meet people, because that is obviously what it takes in the beginning. Nobody will knock on our door and say: Hey, let's go and drink coffee and be best friends. And if somebody did, I'm not sure I would want to be friends with them anyway.
I miss my dear neighbors, but even though my new neighbors don't cook for me as Nazish and Kiss, I must say that I have quite a good impression so far. I have talked to three of them and that is more than I have ever talked with any of my neighbors back in Copenhagen. One has a dog and I of course had to mention that if he is ever out of town I will happily dogsit. He replied that I was also welcome to walk the dog anytime. Weeh! Then there's an old lady from Romania and another guy just knocked our door to ask if he could take the broken lamp we left outside and we chatted a bit (in German mind you...). Nice guy too.
Tonight we are going to a birthday party to practice our German and hopefully meet more people.

- Dorte


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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Learning German

Moving to Vienna has involved a new challenge compared with the LA experience: dealing with the language! Even though English was at times a challenge in the US we were able to communicate rather easily from the beginning. Both of us have learned German in school and our own mother tongues are derived from Germanic as is German. So speaking German shouldn't be that difficult, right? Well, it is! Actually it is not that bad. We can order coffee, ask for directions and a whole lot more, but it's simply impossible to express oneself as freely as we are used to. Bjarni has been through all this before when he moved to Denmark and had to learn Danish, but for me it's a new thing, which is both exciting and frustrating depending on the mood that I'm in. It's been my job here to order internet, call the electricity department and so on, where I have had the joy of talking German on the phone! It's a whole lot easier to talk a foreign language you are not too sure about, when you are standing in front of the person you are talking to and you can use your arms and body language to express yourself with, rather than talking over the phone. But I know I know, there is only one way to learn, and that is by trying and making mistakes. And hey, by using my broken German on and and off the phone I can proudly annouce that I've managed to get my hair cut, get registered at the gas and electricity company and I'm almost there with getting registered at the university (somehow that is dragging out because I'm not Austrian).
Usually if it's something important (like getting my hair cut..) I ask if the person speaks English. Often I get a no, and then there is no way around it but speaking German. And I suppose that is not too bad either when I have to learn the language. The sooner the better.
Today I have joined an intensive German course, so that I can improve more. I'll keep you posted on how I'm progressing.

New and shorter hair looks like this:


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Saturday, August 1, 2009


Last weekend we took the train across the Slovak border to visit Bratislava and my old IPC friend Eva. It was great to see a familiar face and to be shown around by a local. Besides a lot of catching up, we walked around the old charming part of town and walked up to see the castle and tried out the national dish bryndzove halusky.
Best thing is Bratislava is only an hour away by train, so I can easily visit Eva in the future!


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