Archive for December, 2009


December 30 2009

On Saturday after we returned from our ski-trip, we did a bit of grocery shopping at a local market, and then met Amit for dinner at 1516.  1516 is owned by the Victory brewing company of Pennsylvania.  Amit likes this place because they have ribs and an IPA beer on tap (although the waitors do not know what IPA means if you order an IPA).  We sat in the non-smoking room – a room that used to be a closet, that is now a private room with one table, and windows on the hallway side so the only non-smokers in Austria can be gawked at by everyone who walks past on the way to the main dining area. 

For an appetizer, we ordered what was listed in the menu as “Buffalo wings” but described as “wings with BBQ sauce.”  Seeing this inconsistency, Dave asked if they were hot and the waitress said “yes.”  So, we ordered some … even though we were still very skeptical.  And yes, they came out smothered in a sweet BBQ sauce.  What are the Austrians thinking?  I call that false advertising.

Dave, Catie and Amit ordered three slabs of ribs … each.  Amit was the only champion who finished it all .. and we asked for a box to take the leftovers home.  When we asked, the watiress said “ok”, then left and never returned.  Over an hour later, we decided it was time to go.  We were going to just leave without paying, but Dave’s guilt gave in and he put a 50 down on the table.  Then, the bartender saw we were confused, brought us the check, but said “do you need sonething?” to which I responded “yes, the check!”  He made it seem like we were imposing on him to ask him for such an unusual thing.  Needless to say, we did not leave a tip.

Summary: I will not return to 1516.


Ski Trip in Bad Hofgastein

December 30 2009

We arrived at Bad Hofgastein with directions to “walk straight out of the train station for 100 meters, then we are the yellow house on the left with a nice garden.”  We had no address, just directions to “walk straight.”  Catie measured the 100 meters for us, but at 80 meters, we realized which house it was as there were some people standing on the porch looking fo r us.  The apartment  was very nice.  We used two of the three bedrooms in the apartment, and had a living room and kitchen.  In the mornings, we were served an Austrian breakfast of meat, bread and “fruehstruck ei” or “breakfast egg” which is a softboiled egg.  Even though I don’t eat soft boiled eggs, I showed Dave how to eat his egg by tapping on the top until it cracks.  At Grandpa Walter’s retreat, I mistakenly thought an egg was hardboiled, and rolled it on the table like you would for a hard boiled egg.  I made a mess.

On Christmas eve and Christmas day, we were skiing.  Christmas eve, the conditions were ok.   We liked to go up two chairlifts, then take a nice long trail (5k?) down and do it again.  Unfortunatly, not all of the lifts and slopes were open.  At one point we decided to ski over to Bad Gastein and explore that mountain (yes, another town).  That turned out to be a mistake, as we took a lift up only to discover all slopes except a black (difficult) one were open.  We had been doing green (easy) and red (intermediate) slopes all day.  So, we did the black slope as we had no other option.  As usual, I was  a slower then everyone else.  So, no one saw when anohter skiier jumped over me.  That nearly gave me a heart attack.  I was afraid of every skiier who came near me after that … and that particular slope was very crowded.  So, it took me a very long time to come to the bottom.  At the bottom, we had to take a cross country trail back to the lift.  This was not so fun for me, without poles, and Amit, who was on a snowboard.  When we got to the lift, we realized we had two options: (1) take this lift up and do the same (short) slope over and over again or (2) take a bus back to the town we started in.  We decided to go for option (2).  We did a couple of more runs, then headed home for the day.

That night, we had Christmas eve dinner at Maier, a restaurant and penison next door to our apartment.  As it was Christmas eve, the only thing we were allowed to do was order fish.  And so, we ordered fish.  The first course was a frittaten souppe, and the second an Austrian version of a salat.  Then, came the fish.  It was a whole fish with a couple of boiled potatoes.  Dave looked at me and said, “But, my mommy always does this for me.”  I think he was expecting me to excavate the meat from the fish for him.  I told him that he can figure it out, and so he started digging (literally) into the belly of the fish.   Then, I explained to him how to remove the fish scales by lifting them up then lightly pull the fish from the bones.  After that, he did a very good job eating the fish (although his fish did have signifigantly less bones at the end then anyone else’s fish).  After the meal, we get dessert.  I got schnaps, Amit got three large scoops of ice cream, and Dave and Catie got coffee.

The next morning, the conditions were not so great.  At the bottom of the long runs, the trails were very slushy, and even rocky and dirty at times.  After lunch, we watched a storm cloud move across  the mountain across the valley.  The next chairlift we were on, that cloud hit us, pelting us with freezing rain.  At the top of the lift, we decided that we were going to take a break.  So, we skiied half way down until we found a restaurant, and we got some hot chocolate, coffee, and tea.  When we came back out, the pelting rain had turned to fluffly snow.  I gave Catie my ski mask since she was not properly equipped for this weather.  When we reached the bottom of the slope, Catie decided to head back to return her heavy skis (they were not so helpful in the fresh snow, but worked great the day before).  Dave, Amit and I went for one more run.  At some point, I fell over a heap of fresh snow, face forward.  My ski came out, and I had to put it back on in the deep and steep slope.  Dave watched from the bottom, as I struggeld for almost ten minutes to get my ski back on.  Dave called up about 3 minutes into it “Brit? Are you ok?”  When I told him I was, I think he was just enjoying the comedy of me trying to get the ski back on.  When we reached the bottom, I was still worn out from trying to get the ski back on, but Dave and Amit were ready for another run.  I told them I would sit it out.  Excited to go back out, they told me to wait right there and play with the dog who happened to be there.  Well, ten minutes after they left, I realized it was ridiculous for Catie and I both to be waiting at different Bars, so I skiied down to meet her, hoping that they would figure out where I went.  I met Catie for a drink, and about 30-40 minutes later, the boys joined us.  We ate dinner that night at the same restaurant as the previous night.  This time, however, we  were allowed to order something besides the fish!

Catie’s Arrival

December 30 2009

The day after Dave made me a delicious meal, we were prepared for Catie’s arrival.  We woke up early so we could stop at Naschmarkt before picking her up at the CAT station at 9:30.  When Dave was doing his morning business in the bathroom, I checked my email and found out that instead of arriving that morning, Catie would be coming the next Day at 12 noon.  Her flight out of Durham was delayed by 3 hours, and so she missed her connection in Dulles that would have brought her to Vienna.  Thus, she was being re-routed through London the next day.

We took our time getting ready, made cookies, then I brought Dave into IST Austria.  Dave gave his talk that day.  We used the cookies and the beer to bribe people to come to it.  Nevertheless, only Amit, Chao, and I were at the talk.  (What did we expect 2 days before Christmas eve?)  Dave gave a very good presentation, and afterwards we had a coffee break.  We did a little work, then headed home for the day.  That night we met my friend Kati from lacrosse and went to dinner with her at an Italian restaurant on Margaretenstrasse.

The next day, we once again prepared for Catie’s arrival.  We went to the Nashmarket and a couple of stores in the morning.  We also stopped by the train station to pick up a schedule of trains going to Bad Hofgastein.  We had planned on leaving for our ski trip on that day.  Catie’s late arrival from the USA complicated matters, but was not going to interfere with our ski trip.  Then, we headed to the CAT station to meet up with Catie.  She was not on the train that we thought she would be on.  We sat for a little longer before I checked the board to see that her flight was two hours delayed.  So, Dave and I brought our shopping bags home and came back two hours later.  Again, she was not on the train I thought she would be on.  I checked the flight to make sure her plane had arrived when I thought it did.  Thinking that Catie probably had a stressful trip, we went to the store to buy some beer to kill time.  We also went to the S-bahn station to check the trainschedules again since we already missed the ones we thought that we could make.  Then, we waited for the next train … and she was not on it again.  This time, I was a little concerned.  So, I walked over to the Austrian Airlines counter to check if she was on the plane.  The lady behind the counter would tell me nothing, but gave me the Airports number.  So, I called the airport and began explaining that “My friend, who doesn’t speak german, might be lost in the airport.  She came in a couple of hours ago on an Austrian Airli-“ I was cut off as the lady quickly transferred me to Austrian Airlines.  I was a little annoyed, because the other Austrian Airlines rep would not tell me where Catie was.  But, try once again I did.  This time, the AA rep was able to confirm for me that Catie was on the plane.  Then, I ask her if she knows if her luggage was lost or anything, and the AA rep did not know.  So, the only thing we could do was wait.  It was after 4:00 at this point, and Amit was sitting at his apartment drinking wiskey waiting for us to call saying we have Catie and can head to the Westbahnhof.  To our relief, Catie was on the train that arrived at 4:25, but without her luggage.  We gave her a beer to calm her down, brought her back to my house to pick up some extra ski layers (since all of her ski gear was in the lost baggage), and headed to the Westbahnhof.  We made it to the 5:20 train, with less than 10 minutes to spare!

the Supermarket

December 21 2009

There are two things that I forgot to mention in the last post regarding the Opera:       (1) Hero and I made fun of Bei asking if there would be subtitles at the LIVE performance of the opera … but, there were subtitles!  Even in the standing room, we had our own little screens with the words in German or in English.  Although, I found it easier just to look on the screens of the old ladies sitting in front of me.  Those screens were in German, but I got the jist.     (2) When we lined up for Stehplatz (standing room tix), we lined up in the order in which we came, which also wound up being in age order.   There were the gray haired people in front of us, and the teenagers behind us.   Needless to say, we were quite far in front of the line (#14, 15 out of a couple hundred).

So, now I continue from where I left off.  Dave is supposed to start writing his dissertation.  I have commanded that he begin by writing for one hour a day. He did a little bargaining, and I have allowed for up to 45 minutes of that time to be reading papers for the survey of existing work that will create his introduction.  He has yet to do his hour of writing from four days ago … perhaps I need to be a bit more firm when I make rules, like send him to bed without dinner or something.  Although, I don’t want this to come back and hurt me when I finally get to the writing stage …

Today I had lacrosse practice. I asked Dave if he wanted to join, but he said that he wanted to make me dinner instead. I did not object.  To his grocery list, I added a few things so we can make cookies tonight.  I sent him to the grocery store as I went off to the U-bahn to go to practice.  Aparantly, I forgot to properly prepare him for the grocery store experience.  He arrived at Billa 20 minutes before they were closing with a grocery list written in english.  The german-speaking cashier did not appreciate this.  There was a nice english speaking man who happened to be shopping at the same time as Dave.  The nice man took pity on Dave and helped him collect his groceries: vanilla extract, three oranges, eggs, beer, chicken, mango juice, and rum.  They seemed to succeed in all categories except for vanilla extract.  Dave brought back vanilla sugar instead, but I think it will work for cookies.  I could only imagine the faces that the nice man was making as Dave was collecting the ecclectic assortment of groceries.  At one point, the man asked Dave if he spoke any german, and Dave’s reply was “nope.”  For a guy shopping in a residential non-touristy supermarket in Vienna for vanilla extract, this came as a suprise.  So, the man as asked Dave why he was there, and Dave said “to visit my girlfriend.”  The natural question then was “so, how did you two meet?” I guess he thought I was a REAL local, with citizenship or something.  haha.  Anyway, Dave got up to the counter to greet the not-so-happy casheir.  As usual, he probably had a huge smile on his chirpy face and nodded excitedly whenever the woman spoke German to him.  He was hoping for her to finally say some numbers that indicated the amount of money he was to fork over.  But, instead she stormed off to the produce section since Dave had forgotten to weigh the oranges that he picked up.  whoops!

Hero’s Visit

December 18 2009

Hero stopped by Vienna to visit me for a few days before going home to Cyprus.  He arrived on Monday evening, and left today around noon.  When he arrived on Monday, Hero, Amit, and I went to Cafe Dreschler, where Hero had his first Wiener Schnitzel.  This was after a failed attempt of ours to get Fladen mit Speck at the adventmarket at Karlsplatz (it was closed).

On Tuesday, Hero accompanied me into IST Austria, where he saw the pretty pictures of currents at Jeff’s talk, then decided to skip out in the afternoon talks and make some plans for our sightseeing in Vienna.  At one point, Herbert came into my office and asked Hero if he was giving a talk next week, and Hero said “no, you must have confused me with Dave.”  I was not around at that time, but when he told me this, I asked him if he told Herbert who he was, and Hero said “no, he didn’t ask.”  What an interesting encounter …   On the way back from IST Austria, we stopped by the Prater to see the reisenrad (ferris wheel) and met up with Karine.  We went to a mediterranean restaurant for dinner that night, since Hero kept talking about all the Gyros he saw in Vienna.  I had to stop him from getting a gross one from a street stand.

On Wednesday, we had a full day of sightseeing in Vienna.  We started by going to the Schonbrun palace.  We took the Grand tour, and saw all of the Rococo decor.  I enjoyed the tidbits of information that the tour gave us (we had audio tours), such as only one daughter (the favorite) was allowed to marry for love.  The rest married for political reasons  We toured Karlskirke, Stefansdom, and Peterskirke.  We (finally) ate the Fladen mit Speck at the adventmarket.  Touring Karlskirke was pretty neat, they have an elevator that brings you up to the dome, and then stairs you can climb into the lantern.  We were so close to the ceiling that we could touch the paiting … and in fact, I did just that!  The lantern had a wonderful view of Vienna.  unfortunately, it was snowing, so we could not see too far.  I brought Hero to Julius Meindl and to a Belgian chocolate store, where he bought some presents for his sister.  Then, we ended our tour at the back of the Hapsburg palace.  We had to head home to get ready for … the opera!

We saw Macbeth (Verdi) at the Staatoper.  We had standing room tickets, but we got there 2.5 hours early, so we were numbers 14 and 15 in line.  We were in the first row of the ground level standing tickets.  I think the best view in the house.  Conveniently, there were subtitles provided, even in the standing area!  For 4 euros, this was a great deal.  We read how the process worked on a blog that I found.  The description was very accurate, so we knew exactly what to expect, even though we had never done it before.  The opera was amazing.  The director added modern flare to Verdi’s opera.  Although I usually don’t like modern aspects added to Shakespeare, I liked most of the directors choices.  The only thing that I found distracting was when the witches were acting like paparazzi, taking photos (with a real flash) of Macbeth during the first act.  I also wish that the king of Scotland did not bear it all on stage.  However, it was worth seeing.  And, for 4 euros … you can’t beat the price.

After the opera, we went to a Beisl to get some dinner.  The kitchen was closing in 15 minutes, and the waitress decided to ignore us until the kitchen was closed.  When she arrived at the table, she told us that we were getting Schnitzel.  That made the decision of what to get a little easier.

Yesterday morning, we went to the Naschmarkt before picking Dave up from the CAT (City Airport Transit) station.  The three of us returned to my apartment, where we ate some lunch and tucked Dave in for an afternoon nap.  Then, Hero and I headed out for a tour of the crypt at Michaelerkirche.  unfortunately, the tours only happen on Wednesdays (and it was a Thursday).  So, instead, we went to a souvenir store to pick up some trinkets.  Then, we walked to Cafe Central, where we had a Sachertorte and another hazelnut dessert.  They were delicious, but we came no where close to finishing them, so we wrapped them up to go.  Then, Hero and I walked around the palace grounds, and then to the Rathaus and the Parliament.  Parliament has a very greek look, with the columns and statues outside.  The Rathaus is gothic.  But, they stand side by side.  It seems rather unfitting that you can see both vastly different architecture styles at the same time.

Last night, we went on a tour of the Vienna Schnapps Museum.  The tour was informative, and rather funny.  Herbert was heckling the schnapps maker which made it even funnier.  Then, the ladies had to leave the room so the men can talk about the Champagne (it is called Rene Pogel … you are supposed to read it backwards … the boys let the cat out of the bag by telling us this secret).  But, the girls got the first taste of the schnapps.  Bei just went right down the line.  By the time Jeff arrived in the tasting room, she was already bright red.  We all had our share of tasting the schnapps though.  My favorites were a red one, which has chili in it!  It has a slight kick that I like.  Another one is called “Schonbrunner Gold”, and it has real gold flakes in it.  Dave enjoyed the green one (no surprise).  I stayed away from trying the cream based ones, as I didn’t want to get sick from the experience.  Dave and I bought three bottles, and a t-shirt for me 🙂  Then, our entire group went to a restaurant near my house to have dinner.  I had the guloush, Dave had the schnitzel, and Hero had bakhendl (fried chicken).  Michael and Michaela had beer with coke (yes, in the same glass).  I was disgusted, but of course I tried a sip and it actually wasn’t that bad.  But, maybe that was a result of drinking schnapps beforehand.  After dinner, Amit joined Dave Hero and me for a little bit at my (now overcrowded) room.   We hung out for a little bit, then went to bed.

This morning, we slept in a bit, until almost 9:00.  Hero and I told Dave that there wasn’t enough hot water, so he kept turning the water off during his shower to conserve it.  When he got out, I informed him that doing that was unnecessary.  That’s what he gets for listening to me when I say ridiculous things like “5 liters of water for the shower”.  Then, we went to the Hundertwasserhaus, where Hero and Dave made their first stop on the peepee tour.  (There is actually a tour of the bathrooms in Vienna …. and you have to pay to use these toilets too…)  Dave and Hero both liked the Hundertwasser apartment buildings.  We had a bite to eat with Hero at a little restaurant (whose menu was written on a chalkboard only) and left when the restaurant filled with smoke.  We were sitting in the non-smoking section too.  Somehow they thing that small room dividers (with large gaping holes) can block the smoke between two tables.  Well, this is not true.  But, the food was good.

We said goodbye to Hero at the Ubahn.  Hero went one direction, and Dave and I went in the other direction.  When we got to Heilengenstadt, we had to run like the wind to catch the bus.  In fact, the bus started to take off, but saw us so the driver graciously opened the doors for us.  We arrived at IST Austria, and had a magnificent lunch (it was our christmas lunch today), and now we are back in the office.  Today, Dave is supposed to start writing his dissertation.

Ski Urlab!

December 13 2009

So, Amit and I went skiing/snowboarding at Stubai Gletscher this week.  It was quite an experience.

We took a train to Innsbruck.  From Vienna, this was a five hour Journey.  I occupied myself by reading “The Amber Spyglass”, although I should have been working on a paper or something else.  When we arrived in Innsbruck, we lugged  our ski equipment around the city until we found the christmas calendar that they called an inn.  (Literally, we lived in the windows marked 10 and 19.  Then, we took a walk for an hour and saw all that there was to the little town: the Golden roof , the arch that looks like the arc de triumph(in fact, i think it is called the triumphal arc), and another palace.  The entire center of the city was a giant Advent market.  Since we had enough of the markets in Vienna, we were not so pleased by all of the tourists!  We walked for a little along the river, then turned back to find a place to eat. 

Unfortunately, it was a Sunday and nothing was opened.  We went into a Best Western hotel to ask if they knew of any restaurants that were open.  The response we got was “my internet is not working, but you can go down the street to use the internet.”  As we were walking out, we realized that the receptionist must have misunderstood us.  So, we went back and asked again.  This time, she told us to go into the city center.   Finally, we found a nice little beer hall that reminded us of beer halls in Munich.  In fact, it served the Augistiner brews, so Amit was quite pleased.  I ate the guloush and Amit ate a fatty slab of pork.  Then, we went searching for the bars that he and Dmitriy had patronized less than a year ago.  We were successful in finding the Irish Pub that did not serve Harp (although they had a nice light up harp sign in the window).  After a drink, we called it an early night.  We were in bed by 11, resting up for the next day.

If we were to go to Stubai again, we would stay closer to the mountain.  Last time Amit was there, he took a free shuttle to the mountain.  This time, we had to pay 15 euros for each round trip.  That’s quite pricey when you add it to the price of the lift tickets.  But, as a bonus, we did get to explore all of innsbruck.

On Monday, we woke up around 7.  I took my time getting ready as Amit showered and suited up for the day ahead.  We were out the door at 10 to 8.   We stopped by the bakery below us to pick up our breakfast.  They generously filled little bags for us with fruit and bread.  They also gave us a tea and a coffee to take on the road.  So, we wobbled over to the train station carting skis, snowboad, and now breakfast.  The bus picked us up at 8:30.  We found ourselves among the group of local teenagers heading to the mountain on their day off from school.  About half way through the ride, an older generation of people joined us on the bus. 

The first day of skiing was absolutely AMAZING.  The best conditions that we could have asked for.  I was getting used to my new skis, and I must say that I am quite pleased.  I could feel every feature at work that the mad at the store told me about.  Turning was much easier than before because my weight was more balanced, my boots were comfortable becuase they were formed to my feet and legs, I could feel the soft wood of the ski bend as I went over patches of deep snow, and best of all, I felt like I was gliding.  I was a little slow on this day, as I could easily take off with these new skis … and everytime I did take off… I went over small bump and got some air under the skis.  But, Amit waited patiently for me at the end of every run.   A couple times we stopped just to admire the scenery here.  All you could see was mountain.  Nothing but mountain.  The slop was extremely wide … with extremely wide ungroomed shoulders on both sides.  As we would go up the lifts, the small winding rivier of people going down the mountain looked silly in proportion to the large mountainside that they were on.   I have a photo or two from that day, but I am telling you that no photo can due the beauty of the day justice.  It was just absolutely perfect for skiing and snowboarding.  At the end of the day, we took the 10k trail down to the bottom of the mountain.  Parts of the 10k were a little frightening, as we were on this small path and there was a “cliff” on the one side.  It wasn’t really a cliff … perhaps only a steep ledge, but intimidating for us as we were used to the wide open trails all day.  The bottom of the trail was a littel rocky, and I think I scratched my ski!  But, such is life.  It was an amazing day.

The next day, it was raining in Innsbruck.  In Stubai, however, it had been raining since 4 a.m.  By the time we arrived on the mountain, there was already a foot of fresh snow.  By the end of the day, there was at least a foot and a half of fresh snow.  As I was skiing, this was not a big deal.  It may be tiring to push through all that snow, but at least I can keep going.  But, Amit was snowboarding.  At one point, we decided to be adventerous and just go wherever the trail brought us.  Well, we went down a small slope and found a lift we had not been on yet.  We got on the lift, and started going down a red slope.  (Red is the intermediate level slope).  After about 100 meters, we were on ungroomed turf.  Perhaps this trail is usually groomed, but there was no way the staff could keep up with the rate at which the snow was falling here.  We were once again on the vast mountainside.  The edges of the main trail were marked by periodic red signs no bigger than mailboxes in front of homes.  This is where Amit had real problems wiht the snowboarding.  At some points, we were no more than 10 feet away from each other and I could not see him because it was snowing so hard.  It was a complete white out.  Although, it was really neat to ski into complete whiteness.  It was a remarkable thing to be surrounded by complete white.  I could not even see the trails left by my skis because snow had filled in the voids so quickly.  When we got almost to the bottom of the slope, we had to make a decision.  Go to the bottom, where there might be a continuation but if not there wa a pulley to go back up, or go to the right where we would have to shimmy our way over to anohter trail.  I decided to go test the hypothesis that the trail continued straight.  Amit sat in the snow and watched me go to the bottom.  Down there, I got stuck past my knees in snow!  (I am not kidding).  After the attendant at th pulley thing laughed at me, he told me that the trial did not continue in the direction that I pointed, so I took the pully to go join Amit.  We worked our way over to the new trail and made it down to the lodge.  We decided to take a break for a bit, and went in for lunch.

When we came out, we decided to do our favorite trail again.  Both days, our favorite trail was 1 followed by 1a.  We must have done that run at least a half a dozen times.  When it became time to leave, we decided to do this run one more time instead of doing the 10k.  Since the conditions of the day were not agreeing with Amit, and since the cliffs scared us the day before (yet alone thinking of going down it without being able to see the trail), we figured we would do something we enjoyed then go enjoy a nice Gluehwein at the bottom.  After the gluehwein, we also had a special pear schnapps … it had a real pear in it.  We were intrigued by the drink since everyone else was having one.  I must say, it was pretty tasty.

On our final night in Innsbruck, we went out to dinner at a Tirol restaurant.  (We enjoyed saying Tirol as though it were the name of a football player: Ti-ROLLLL).  Tirol is the region of Austria in which Stubai and Innsbruck are located.  I forget what we ate there, but I do know that the waitress kept forgetting to bring us things.  Or rather, forgetting to bring me things.  And, when we were finished, we were still hungry.  So, we went out to find some Speck.  Speck is similar to bacon, but it is cured.  It is pretty similar to prochutto, but has a very different taste.  Anyway, we ordered a plate of Speck and ate all of the Speck and Kren (Horseraddish) on the plate.   We left the bread behind.  The one annoying thing that happened was that the waiter was not going to give us a glass of water.  He said (thinking that we were foreigners) “well, in Austria we do not give out water in restaurants”.  I snapped back at him, “Well, in Vienna, I get water at restaurants all of the time”.  I am sure that they would have SOLD us some bottled water, but I just want tap water.  I drink too much water to pay for that stuff.  After my remark, he brought us the water (hopefully without spitting in it first).  At some places in Vienna (like Griffins on Naschmarkt) they pull the same trick on tourists, and it makes me mad.  But, most places do give you tap water when you ask for it.  The places that refuse to give me water have lost my business.

And that concludes our ski trip.  Although, we did eat two packages of Speck on the train ride home too.  Yummy!


December 5 2009

Tomorrow I leave for skiing in Innsbruck.  So, I decided to get a couple of things for my trip.  I stopped at Naschmarkt and picked up some apples and bananas and now I am at Blue Orange waiting for a sundried tomato bagel with Philly cream cheese 🙂  — don’t worry, I have lactaid here with me, so I will be able to digest it.  I think I’ll take a couple of the bagels to go with me too for tomorrow.

As I was walking from Naschmarkt to Blue Orange, I found this little shop called Babette’s.   Underneath the name, I saw “Spice and books for Cooks”.  I want to buy an Austrian cookbook while I am here, so I stepped in.  It is a really neat place.  Although there are a limited number of cookbooks in English, I spent some time browsing tthrough their collection.  They also have a test kitchen.  Next week, I hope to stop by there to try out some of the food.  The menu looked delicious!!!

Cafe Dreschler

December 2 2009

Our group is going out to dinner at Heurigen Redinger at 7p.m.  (45 min from now).  I’m hungry, so I can’t do any more work now; instead, I’ll post an update.

Yesterday I had lunch at Cafe Drechsler.  Amit told me that he had their Wiener Schnitzel, and it was the best one he had eaten.  So, I had totry it out.  And, I agree.  They have the best Wiener Schnitzel.  It was nice and tender, not tough like a lot of the places.  And, it was made from veal (instead of chicken or pork).

I was telling PK today about the paper (Sur la courbure totale d’une courbe gauche faisant un nœud) that I just finished translating.  I was looking up something and was being referred to a paper or two by Fary (a hungarian mathematician, wrote in french around the 1940s).  So, wikipedia gave me a link to the paper, and I was searching for the original phrasing of the theorem.  I wanted to know exactly what was proven.  So, I decided to translate the paper because it was impossible to “patch translate” (just translate in my head the places where I think the theorem appeared).  As I am translating, I am not seeing how this connects to what I wanted to find, although it was all related.  A couple days later, I realized that I was translating the wrong paper by Fary! Lesson learned: look before you translate.  But, I decided to complete the job since I had done so much work on translating it.  So, if you happen to want a translation of that paper, just ask me for it.  I might even put it on my website (I think it is no longer copyrighted, so I can do that … at least according to Srinivas).