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change the angle of view…

lendplatz

lendplatz, summer 2009

Funny how a 1,39 million km large ball of fire can make such a difference.

Graz is nicer in summer. Everybody knows that, especially the ice-cream vendors and Megaphone salespeople.

There is a certain flair in the city around christmas, but the rest of the winter is pretty much cold and wet.

However, there are these rare sunny days, with no fog, no rain and, if you are very lucky, no work to do!
The sun is warming up the city from over 150 million kilometers away. These are the days you should put on a warm jacket and get out to try AND catch some of those warming rays.

Get some fresh, cold air, reload your batteries!

Schlossberg-view

I’m blue da ba dee da ba die…

Blau Tafel

this is a blank city…

You are right

p1010202-1.JPG

One problem solved!
Thank god that we don’t have to use floppies any more…
Ad for floppy discs on a paper store in Kopernikusgasse

Things I missed about Graz

I just got back from two months in the States; there seem to be so many things I have gotten used to here, even though I’ve only been a Grazer for nine months. Some of them are:

1) Civilized Urban Bicycling. Where I come from in the States, it is not unheard of for a passing driver to swerve toward a bicyclist or even throw a bottle or a piece of trash at him. Somehow drivers resent us bike riders on “their” roads. Here in Graz everyone rides bikes: Omas and Opas, businessmen and women, kids, street people. There are plenty of bike lanes, and drivers are usually quite patient and accomodating. It is one of life’s great pleasures to ride a bike through Graz on a pleasant summer day.

2) Civilized Urban Drivers. Again, American drivers are crazy MFs; they drive through red lights, speed, tailgate, honk their horns, yell and flip other drivers off. I became hyper-aware of the anger, rage, and impatience on the roads there. Rude, just rude. Now, Graz drivers are no angels but you won’t usually find city drivers so rude and impatient–that is, unless, they are driving a big sedan with a German license plate on the back-but, hey, they’re not Austrian.

3) Street Cafe Culture. Austrians seem to like nothing better than to plunk their butts down on a streetside cafe chair, take out their cigarettes, order a coffee and sit for hours talking about all manner of things. (I am assuming it is intelligent, cultured conversation but since my German sucks, it may just be gossip and bad jokes.) No one rushes them to move on, things are just very chill. Relax, watch the people, talk to your neighbors, eat an ice cream, and have another smoke. In the U.S., we’ve got to move those customers on so we can make more money on that table. Ugh.

4) European woman love high heels. I swear women here seem to love wearing high heels…everywhere: the mall, the park, work, school, walking down the street. American women like running shoes, sandles and flats–only wearing high heels on dressy occassions. Hey, I am sure it is uncomfortable but heels look darn good. Dankeschoen.

5) Other things: inexpensive super-quality cheese, beer and produce; Tribeca coffee; efficient public transportation; the green countryside; quiet Sundays; Spaziergehen; the Library.

6) What I missed most: my wife.

7) Things I didn’t miss at all: Austrian radio, German TV, smoking everywhere, no really good organic grocery stores, no real good vegetarian restaurants (sorry Mangolds), crummy Chinese food. And that certain kind of wonderful, crazy American energy that makes all things seem possible. Sometimes it is a little hard to step out of the box here in Austria and not have everyone yelling at you to get back inside.

Answer: Ausrians Abroad

Somehow, an Austrian couple settled in a little town in Ecuador (the woman reflected in the window is wearing a traditional Peruvian outfit) and opened this cafe (entry below) which, my vagabond daughter tells me, serves really good cafe lattes.

Cafe Austria?

The photo of Cafe Austria in the entry below was taken by my daughter, Zoe, when she was travelling this past Spring. Can anyone guess what country Cafe Austria is located in? There are clues in the photo. Look closely.

There is Life Out There!

The Graz Very Large Array (GVLA) went online a couple of days ago and I am happy to report that there was an immediate response from deep Austrian space: ping! We think there is intelligent life out there. Hurrah! Graz Metblog readers and bloggers have reason to celebrate.

Now for some serious business. I invite you bloggers out there to come and write for us. And I invite you readers to comment. Now, what about writing and commenting in German? Why Not?

cafe%20austria.jpg

Much of the Paris Metblog is written in French and there are several bloggers on the Berlin Metblog who write in German.

Our beloved Graz Metblog is slowly atrophying and I would hate to see it end. Please, German speakers, write for us….in German! We English writers will still contribute and I hope your contributions will get some energy going here, some excitement. Hey, we are a German-speaking city, why shouldn’t our web blog be in German? Makes sense, nein?

This could be so great: new blogs in German, new perspectives, new attitudes. The Graz Metblog can be a great resource for us. Let’s use it!

Lost in Santa Fe

I see I have been dropped from the author list on Graz Metblogs and that is probably justified. I have been out of town for a few months and haven’t written in a while. From the looks of it not many other people have been writing either. Bummer. This is a great forum and I wish it would catch on here.

So, I had to go to Santa Fe, New Mexico in the (scary) United States of Amerika. My daughter is going to University soon and I wanted to spend a little time with her. I will be back in Graz at the end of the month.

My wife tells me the snails have taken over our hoch beet. Although we seem to have plenty of zucchini, the eggplant and peppers are tiny, the brussels sprouts are non existent, and no one seems to want to eat our very nice broccoli. Crazy weather: yesterday as I talked to my wife, Reingard, for free via the computer on Skype, she was wearing sweat pants and a (pink) pullover. I, on the other hand, was burning up in 38 degree heat and sunny, dry skies.

Our street has been a mess for months; they are completing the end of the new part of the #6 line in St. Peter. They say it will be done by October. Thank the Gods. It has been dirty and dusty and noisy –not to mention the constant vibrations from the street machines.

Well, that’s enough for now. Will write more soon. By the Way, Is there Anyone out there, Anyone at all?

I’m drowing in mid-air

Here is an entry from my personal blog.

It’s so hot here. It’s so humid. Oh, how I miss those cold summer San Francisco days with the the chilly nordic breeze gently blowing off the ocean onto the shore.

The cooler nights, the dry days.

During the summer you often see San Franciscans shrugging against the wind and artfully throwing silk scarves and wool sweaters around their pale, white necks to stay warm.

It’s so hot in Graz, that you can smell the sidewalks seweating. It’s the smell of street dust getting heavy and wet. Everyone looks exhausted and annoyed. The residents are slumped against the humidity, their clothes are uncomfortably stuck to their body with musty sweat.
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