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nostromos bLog






* all entries (445)
* concerts (28)
* misc (120)
* techtalk (18)
* travel (241)
  `-bruxelles_07 (8)
  `-canada_14 (22)
  `-hongkong_09 (13)
  `-iceland_10 (14)
  `-ireland_16 (7)
  `-japan_13 (22)
  `-paris_06 (1)
  `-poland_10 (3)
  `-russia_10 (12)
  `-scotland_15 (11)
  `-sweden_09 (10)
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  `-tokyo_08 (14)
  `-usa_09 (10)
* zoo (38)
  `-abroad (8)
  `-linz (3)
  `-misc (11)
  `-schoenbrunn (16)


08(01), 07(03), 06(03), 05(02), 04(02), 03(02)
12(02), 11(01), 10(08), 09(03), 07(17), 06(01), 05(04), 04(03), 03(02), 02(02), 01(06)
12(05), 11(02), 10(01), 09(01), 08(02), 07(04), 06(01), 05(02), 04(03), 03(02), 02(02), 01(01)
12(01), 11(02), 09(09), 08(16), 07(02), 06(03), 05(04), 04(03), 02(03), 01(02)
12(03), 11(01), 10(02), 09(01), 08(23), 07(03), 06(02), 05(01), 04(02), 03(02)
12(03), 11(02), 10(01), 09(01), 08(23), 05(02)
09(04), 08(01), 06(01), 05(02), 04(02), 03(01), 02(01)
11(01), 10(02), 09(15), 08(01), 07(02), 06(04), 04(12), 01(06)
12(05), 11(01), 10(06), 09(12), 08(02), 07(02), 06(01), 05(01), 04(10), 02(01), 01(05)
12(02), 08(01), 07(15), 06(02), 05(03), 02(02), 01(03)
12(05), 11(01), 07(24), 06(06), 05(03), 04(02), 01(01)
12(01), 11(01), 10(07), 09(01), 08(04), 07(05), 06(04), 05(06), 04(01), 03(04), 02(06), 01(04)
12(04), 11(02), 10(03), 09(04), 08(03), 07(04), 04(01)
07(01), 05(01)
08(01)
10(01)

Mon, 31 Dec 2007
atomium (0 comments)
since all museums are closed today and we didn't want to do a guided tour, we decided to have a relaxing day and drove to the atomium by tram. the atomium is located in the north of the town and it takes about 20 minutes to get there by tram. the area for the world-expo 1958 is pretty big, yet we were unsure what was all included 50 years ago. but for sure the atomium was, and a little history guide handed out at the entrance tells us, that actually it was planned to be destroyed after the expo (as all the other things built for each country), but due to it's popularity it is still standing today. there was a renovation in 2006, i guess they polished all the metal plates of the big scale (165.000.000:1) metal atom. the construction itself consists of nine bigger spheres, each of them is accessible by stairs or escalators. the two main spheres are additionally accessible by elevator.
the atomium's height is 102 metres. inside the spheres is a cafe, a restaurant, an exhibition of a designer that designed chairs (wtf?), a children's sphere (school classes can stay in this sphere over night), and the entrance hall. all in all it was nice and a little impressive. additionally we saw a cat there too. afterwards we had a good meal at a chinese restaurant that tasted pretty different from the usual chinese food one can get at those restaurants. having a nice after lunch stroll through the nicely illuminated city. they have a skyscraper too where one can send an SMS and then the message gets displayed along with a pattern one can choose too. though the idea is not new, the dimension of this one was new and impressive to me. see yourself:
and of course a happy new year to all the readers of this bLog! i for myself had a very great start of 2008 with zombiequeen :)

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Sun, 30 Dec 2007
tour 03 (0 comments)
first stop on our third tour brought us to the "galeries st hubert", one of the oldest roofed shopping malls of the world, and also pretty expensive, so we didn't buy anything there. instead we walked on to the comic museum, "centre belge de la bande dessinee". the exhibition was about belgian comic drawers mainly, but also a few french artists were shown. so we got to know all about lucky luke, tintin and milou, alix, marsupilami, and loads of other more or less famous comics.
passing the "place des martyrs" we came to the "saint jean baptiste au beguinage", an old and pretty ugly church from the outside. as it seems it is currently renovated, we did not go inside.
afterwards we were heading to the "tour noire" and "st. catherine", the black tower (though it was not really black at all) and another church, dedicated to holy catherine. in front of the church was another christmas market. located on the "marche aux poissons", the fish market, it had a cool round-about, with steampunk-like figures the children could sit, ride, and fly on.
loads of mulled wine, waffles, christmas stuff, arts and craft, and all the stuff one can find on a christmas market was there. additionally the citizens of bruxelles could ice skate on a big ice rink.
we decided to take a break, went home to our hotel room, were watching movies again, this time "le fabuleux destin d'amelie poulain" ("the fabulous destiny of amelie poulain") in the original french version. glad i've already seen it in german, so i knew what it was all about. later we had a pizza and took another walk through the center.
another exhausting but wonderful day has ended, and after watching "lord of the rings" in the french version, we went to bed.

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Sat, 29 Dec 2007
tour 02 (0 comments)
as planned we took tour two as suggested by our bruxelles guide. this tour started at the most famous citizen of bruxelles, namely "manequin pis", the little pissing boy. no idea why it's so famous, but our guide said it has over 600 costumes for all kind of occasions. and today it was dressed up in a strange costume too, guess it was some kind of christmas dress? so we paid the boy a visit just as everyone does, and i'm sure many others were asking themselves the same question i was asking myself: wtf is this all about? oh well, but we are kind and nice tourists, so we've been there. manequin pis: done. afterwards we went on passing by the "palais de justice", a really beautiful old building surrounded by run down and abandoned houses with broken windows and loads of waste in front of it - pretty strange scenery there.
next stop was again "grand'place", again pretty crowded and full of life. near there we saw the first cat in bruxelles. a talkative red tomcat. very cute and looking for someone to pet him - so lovely. additionally we went into a church that was along our tour. actually we don't know which one exactly it was or what it was called.
after that we took a break from our tour again and did another shopping trip through the shopping malls and streets of bruxelles. again we found pretty cool shops with all kind of wonderful stuff. after that i tried some burgers at "quick", the french (and belgian) version of mcdonald's. the burgers actually looked and tasted just like the ones from mcdonald's, but it's a bit cheaper. then we continued our tour. next stop was "cathedral st. michel". a quite big cathedral surrounded by some skyscrapers and modern buildings, mostly banks and the like.
taking the long tour made us pretty tired, so we went home, passing by "place de la bourse" again, but this time there were loads of projections on the building.
at the hotel we spent the rest of the evening watching tv series and movies in the original version with flemish subtitles.

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Fri, 28 Dec 2007
tour 01 (0 comments)
since our guide suggests various tours through bruxelles, with an average duration of three hours, we decided to take tour 01 today. this tour shows all the main tourist attractions one should see when going to bruxelles and is located right in the center of bruxelles. as we found out, bruxelles is rather small so one can go to most important places by foot. yet we considered buying a tourist bruxelles card, as it includes entry fees to some museums and the fees for the public transport system. the tour started at the "grand place", a huge place surrounded by very old and beautiful houses. most of them were old guild houses. of course loads of tourists were there, and we were right among them!
afterwards we were told to go to the "mont des arts", a little hill with loads of arts stuff (yep, that's what the translation means). since we both are not really into arts and crafts, we have passed this hill very fast, and came to the "place royal", which is the place for the royals (hard to guess, right?).
next to "place royal" is the "palais royal", the royal palace. those places are rather unspectacular, yet beautiful buildings.
afterwards we came by the stock market building and were drinking a mulled wine and a hot chocolate at the christmas market there. afterwards we moved on to the "parc de bruxelles", which is a huge park right in the center of the town. since it's winter it's not that beautiful as in summer i guess, nonetheless there was loads of trees, sculptures and shut down fountains.
located at the end of the park is the "palais de la nation", the house of parliament. next stop was "jardin de botanique", the botanic garden, which includes another big park we crossed.
then we came by several impressive buildings. since we already were a little exhausted, we didn't read on in our guide, but just were walking and enjoying what we saw. among the things we encountered was the pissing dog, another statue of the pissing beings series. our guide says there's a dog, a girl and of course the world famous little kid - all of them peeing. well, maybe those belgians have some weird fetish, who knows.
we didn't finish our tour as we didn't find the last spot to visit, namely the st. michel cathedral. but i guess we will have a look at it tomorrow, since tour two is in the same area as tour one. instead we returned to the stock market building and went shopping instead at a very crowded shopping street with loads of clothes shops (which zombiequeen enjoyed a lot).
finally we arrived at the hotel again and were pretty tired. so we spent the evening watching cool tv series in french, like knight rider, cartoon series and at prime time "lord of the rings" in german, since they offer one german tv channel.
day two done, we like bruxelles so far.

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Thu, 27 Dec 2007
going to bruxelles (0 comments)
so, today was the day zombiequeen (aka "karo") and i (aka "nostromo") were going to fly to bruxelles (aka "bruessel"). so i got up pretty early, wasted more than one hour with our water-heating system, since i wanted to take a shower. but it was in vain - no warm water for me that morning. ok, so i went to the railway station, bought a ticket to vienna and was going to vienna on the "EC - Europaeischer Computerfuehrerschein" train from linz to vienna - wohooo! zombiequeen fetched me from the central station in vienna and we drove to her parent's house. there we wanted to print out our flight- and hotel-reservation since the travel agency said we should do so. unfortunately zombiequeen got all the needed mails on her mail account from the university of applied science which, of course, had a planned downtime for maintenance. great - no mails, no information, no e-tickets for the airport. but we thought a passport should be sufficient to get our tickets. and luckily it was. the bigger problem was the hotel reservation. since we booked the hotel in september, we didn't even remember the name of the hotel. so, what to do? at first we called the booking agency, but lady in germany said she needed the booking-number to do any research. oh, guess what - we didn't have that one either, since it was in the email. ok, plan b was to ask michele to keep the sysadmins asking and annoying to finally get some access to the damn mail-server, so we could get the information we needed so desperately. our flight was scheduled for 17:55, the admins said it would be fixed at 17:00 by the latest. so we went to the airport and were hoping the admins could fix it and michele could get all the information for us. fortunately, both of them managed to do a great job, so we got the name and address (thanks again to michele and google-maps) of the hotel. so we finally were prepared and were boarding the plane happily. the flight itself was rather boring - the usual stuff one can expect from a flight to any destination within europe. so we arrived at the bruxelles airport and started the quest to seek our luggage. yeah, you know those signs with a piece of luggage showing you the way to those conveyor belt where you get your luggage back? yop, we followed them. and followed them. and followed them. and after a veeeery long walk through an almost empty airport (all shops were closed, and even "pizza hut" was closed) following those signs, we finally found our luggage. quest one solved! we decided to take the train to the town center, since it seemed less confusing to us then searching several bus-lines and the stations they are stopping at. the first surprising thing: the transfer from the airport to the city center was pretty cheap, 2.80EUR per person. if i remember correctly, this was the cheapest transfer i have ever had from an airport to the next town. it seems there are loads of railway stations in bruxelles, so we got off the train at the one that was closest to our hotel ("gare midi"). next quest was to find the exit of the train station. another pretty long walk through almost empty hallways and corridors. but of course we also finished this quest and got loads of experience points! on the map the distance from where we got off to our hotel seemed not that much, we decided to walk. so we saw very narrow houses, loads of africans, turkish, and other "foreign" people in this district. our bruxelles-guide (in paper form) said, that in the center of bruxelles loads of poor people (among them loads of immigrants) live. and that's exactly the impression we got. ok, admittedly, it was dark and already late when we were walking down those streets, so let's see what our impression will be tomorrow, seeing the scenery at daylight. as a side note: in austria it's just the other way round: people living in the center of a town are usually the richer ones, and around the town center are those ghettos with all the skyscrapers and the like. here it's the outer parts of the town where richer people prefer to live. day one is done. we are pretty tired and therefore are going to sleep now. we haven't made up any plans yet what we are going to do tomorrow, but i'm sure it will be interesting. so stay tuned!

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Fri, 16 Nov 2007
an entry after a long time... (0 comments)
after my trip to scandinavia, finally a bLog-entry again. this time with a thing that was confusing me already for quite a long time. but see yourself... i have long hair, and i have dread-locks. i usually have a hair tie to keep them in shape. lately i found out hair-bands are pretty convenient. so i bought one at "claire's" in my hometown. here's what i got along with my hair-band (which is actually really great):
as i wear my hairband (which is actually black, not red as the one on the label) almost every day, the rubber band got a little worn out. so i decided to buy another one of claire's hair-bands to have a spare one. but for a very long time they didn't have them in their shop, until one day... they offered it again. but this time, with this label:
see the difference? i'm really glad this finally got solved...

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Sat, 28 Jul 2007
day 22: going home (0 comments)
getting to the airport and flying home to austria. nothing else to report... here is the link to all the pictures we took. it was a great trip - thanks for those wonderful days, zombiequeen.

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Fri, 27 Jul 2007
day 21: helsinki (0 comments)
we enjoyed the good beds on the ferry (though the room was a bit loud since we were on the second deck, and below us was the machine room). yet we got up very early because on the information sheet it said breakfast is at 07:00. but once more the timezone tricked us. but - lucky us - the buffet opened at 07:30, and we had a delicious and ample breakfast. then we left the ferry, that did not sink, though there was so much celine dion, and drove to the camping ground we already had booked a place on our first day of our trip. afterwards we drove to town by metro again. this time helsinki was full of people, so just as one would expect it from a capital city. we had a look at the temppeliaukio church, that has been carved from solid rock. afterwards we were shopping since it's summer sale in almost all shops. but we only bought two things. a moomin puppet for zombiequeen in a moomin shop, and a kuroneko plush kitty from an awesome japan manga shop for me. afterwards we drove to the camping ground again and did all the boring stuff that has to be done at the end of a journey. cleaning the inside of the camper, packing our things and preparing the camper for return. this includes refilling the gas cartridge, and the tank. afterwards we were preparing a dinner from the rest of our food, and took a walk.

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Thu, 26 Jul 2007
day 20: leaving stockholm, on the ferry to helsinki (0 comments)
we got up at about 09:00 today and had breakfast with hanna, her mother, and the children. then we packed our stuff, prepared the camper, and left our "camping ground". at slussen there's a big ferry harbour for the viking line ferries. one of them, namely "mariella" was our ferry. so we checked in after our last few hours in stockholm city. the ferry itself is pretty big. there are (at least) eight floors, a huge park deck for truckers, campers, cars, and motorcycles. to find the deck your vehicle has been parked they used animals, beside a letter. i guess this is that children and analphabetics can find it too. what a coincidence, our animal is a moose! additionally there's a duty free shop. zombiequeen tried some wine and cheese they offer here (of course without being anything afterwards). we are steering along some coast for at least four hours now, and we're still not on the open sea, instead the course is along the archipelago islands. we wonder when we will finally end up on the open sea. for passengers' delight they play some songs on deck. and they played celine dion's "my heart will go on" twice! yes, they dare to play the titanic soundtrack here on the ferry. we really feel better now. well, maybe we don't get the scandinavian humour. if you read this blog entry, we survived (though with surely having a severe celine dion trauma). our cabin is small, but ok. there's even a shower and a toilet included. it's now 21:02 and we have passed the last lighthouse, and are now on the open sea.

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Wed, 25 Jul 2007
day 19: stockholm, skansen zoo and vasa museum (0 comments)
second try for the zoo in skansen with hanna and ana-clara. we left the second little child (actually she's a baby) at home at her father and her grandmother. this time it all worked out well and we arrived skansen on a sunny and warm day. as this day was the first without rain but sunshine in stockholm, loads of people were in the city and in skansen too. skansen is a big park, consisting of an amusement park, an open-air museum, and a zoo (and probably much more we've missed). the zoo itself is pretty big with loads of scandinavian animals, like wolverines, lynxes, brown bears, moose (including two baby-moose, and all of them were alive!), seals, peacocks, and many many more. after visiting the zoo we went through the open-air museum. it's similar to maihaugen in lillehammer. so there were a lot of old houses, but this time from sweden. within the open-air museum there was a little amusement park for children too, so we went there. ana-clara had loads of fun there going with merry-go-rounds (one with a horse she could ride, and another one with an airplane she could fly). we had an ice-cream in the meantime. after that hanna and ana-clara drove to town shopping while we paid a visit to the vasa museum. the museum is about the vasa, a ship that was built in 1628 and sank on her maiden voyage in the harbour of stockholm. the ship was lifted in the 50s and was then brought to the museum. the vasa is an impressive big ship and one can walk along the ship on four floors. besides the ship there are always additional exhibitions about building the vasa, people working and dying on the vasa, etc. we both really enjoyed this museum. after that we drove to hanna's house again where we finally met my godfather. we had some barbecue in the garden. he enjoyed austrian wine we brought him, and had a lot of fun. this was a really wonderful and great day.

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Tue, 24 Jul 2007
day 18: stockholm, moderna and east-asia museum (0 comments)
in the morning we left with hanna, ana-clara, and alice for the zoo in skansen, stockholm. but as soon as we got to the bus station, ana-clara suddenly refused to go there and was crying. so zombiequeen and me went to town alone. but since the weather was not that good for a visit to the zoo, and we said to hanna, that we will retry tomorrow again to go there, we went to the "moderna", a museum about modern art. on the flyer it says something about artwork by picasso, matisse, dali, and other famous artists. but the part of the exhibition about modern art was somehow beyond the comprehension of our sense of art. so we quickly tried to get to the part in the museum where they were showing all those artists named above. but for most of the artists, there was only one painting/picture shown. pretty disappointing, this was definitely not worth the 80SEK (about 8EUR) per person. so we tried the east-asia museum, that is located on the same island, amongst many other museums. the east-asia exhibition was very interesting, and our frustration about the first museum soon disappeared. one main part of the east-asia exhibition is about a photographer that went to a very famous chinese garden and took loads of pictures there. in the 90s another artist tried to find exactly the same places these pictures were taken, trying to preserve the same angle and point of view. thus one could see the changes done to the garden, the landscape, and the vegetation at this location. funny experiment. afterwards we took another walk through the center of stockholm. but since it started to rain (once more), we decided to go home. as the both of us were very tired (i think we are pretty exhausted now after two and a half week of travelling), we relaxed at the house of hanna.

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Mon, 23 Jul 2007
day 17: stockholm (0 comments)
after breakfast we drove to stockholm center. we are currently in aelta, which is about 20mins away from stockholm city by bus. when we have arrived we wanted to go to the "moderna museet", a museum for modern art. our guide says they have some pieces of warhole, picasso, matisse, and others. but unfortunately museums seem to be all closed on monday, so we will do that the day after tomorrow, as we planned a trip to the stockholm zoo with hanna and her two children for tomorrow. instead of going to the museum, we were walking through the center of stockholm, had a look at the "gamla stan" (old town), and were shopping in some shopping centers. we hope the weather will be better than today, because it was really bad weather today. it was raining for most of the time, and there was no sun. this is ok for museums and shopping, but not for zoos or sightseeing.

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Sun, 22 Jul 2007
day 16: oslo and stockholm (0 comments)
as planned we have been to the norwegian museum of science and technology. the museum was rather small compared to the technical museum in vienna or munich, yet it was fun and there was loads of stuff to try out. so we pushed loads of buttons, and pull many levers. after the fun stuff came the boring stuff - we drove about 500km eastwards to stockholm. the journey was very exhausting, and lasted about eight hours (we had some coffee breaks). 40km before stockholm there was an accident, so we got stuck in a traffic jam. at about 20:00 we arrived at stockholm, at my godfather's daughters house, where we parked our camper in the garden. the last time i saw hanna, was when she was 12 years old. this was back in 1990, when i had my trip to stockholm. today she has two children, but she still looks just as she did at that time (ok, she more or less looks the same). we will meet my godfather in a few days, since he's busy right now and is currently far away from where we are.

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Sat, 21 Jul 2007
day 15: oslo, and museums (0 comments)
after having spent the night at the most expensive and largest camping site up to now, we bought two oslo passes, that act as a 24 hours ticket for the public transport system, entrance card to approximately 30 museums, free parking ticket within the entire city, discount pass on sight-seeing tours, restaurants, and souvenir-shops. so this actually cheap little piece of paper came in very handy to us, and so we dedicated this day once more to visiting museums. the first one was the munch museum ("the scream"), which contains a broad selection of his works, which were testamentary gifts to the city of oslo by edvard munch. at the entrance we felt like being on an airport, due to all the security checks one had to undergo to enter the museum. no liquids, metal detectors and the like, and x-raying the bags. the exhibition itself was pretty interesting, and there were loads of other people (most likely tourists). afterwards we drove to the oslo reptile park, which was a small collection of living snakes, geckos, lizards, spiders, turtles, and other reptiles. the museum itself was on the fourth floor in an office complex. at first we did not find the entry, as we expected something more like a ... museum-entry. the animals were interesting, but the museum itself actually would have been a bit too expensive in our opinion (65NOK, 6.5EUR), but luckily the entrance was included in our oslo pass. the next and last museum for this day was the vigeland museum. gustav vigeland was a famous sculptor, and the museum showed loads of his works, including sketches and miniature models he used for the original ones later. this "making of" was especially impressive, as most of his sculptures were. his sculpture are spread over the whole town of oslo. we can definitely recommend this museum. unfortunately the natural history museum already had closed, and since we were tired anyway from walking around all day, we decided to go home, go to bed early and make the most of our oslo pass, since it's valid until 12:00 the next day. we planned to go to the norwegian museum of science and technology, and maybe we'll visit the natural history museum too. we'll see.

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Fri, 20 Jul 2007
day 14: lillehammer, maihaugen museum (0 comments)
at about 14:30 we arrived in the olympia town of 1994, lillehammer. lillehammer itself is a rather small town, and the legacy of the olympic games 13 years ago is still everywhere. and of course there's the olympia park with all the nordic sports things like ski jumps, ice-arena, etc. but we preferred the maihaugen open-air museum instead. this museum was founded by a dentist that started to collect various things, like houses, and put them in his garden. soon he lacked space for more houses, so the things were transferred to maihaugen. today there are 150 old houses on 40 hectare. it is divided into several parts, ranging from old rural farm houses, a stav church, a vicarage, and small fishing shacks in one part, to modern buildings in the other part. the most shocking things was an original house from the 1980s. at the entrance door a museum guide, dressed and styled in 80s look, was welcoming us and guided us through the basement of the house. it was as a time-journey, since so many items were familiar to me. i was so impressed, i forgot to take pictures. another part was dedicated to lillehammer from about 1930. original houses like a pharmacy, the post-office, a hairdresser, a bakery, and much more were shown. we left the museum at 17:00, because they were closing it. after spending hours in this really awesome museum we drove on to oslo, about 200km away from lillehammer. just one word about distances here in scandinavia (especially in norway), just in case you wonder why it takes us so long to get from one point to another: the maximum speed is 80, there are no highways. only occasionally the limit is 90km/h, more often the limit is at 60km/h or 70km/h. this results in an estimated duration of e.g. 7.5 hours for 500km, and tomtom does a generous calculation. especially the roads along the fjords are very steep and curvy, so with the camper we rarely drove the maximum speed. but the good thing about the speed limits are, that all kind of vehicles driving, from campers to trucks, are (in theory) able to go at that speed. additionally scandinavian people really drive disciplined (except for some bad manners of mercedes drivers, that seem to be independent to country and nationality). i think the limits make sense, especially in winter, and during summer one can at least enjoy the environment scrolling by - just as we do.

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Thu, 19 Jul 2007
day 13: namsen laksakvarium, trondheim, and vang (0 comments)
on our way further down norway we encountered the "namsen laksakvarium" (which means: "namsen salmon aquarium"). since zombiequeen did not feel too well this day and it was slightly raining i went there alone. this exhibition was mainly about salmon. how to breed them, how to catch them, how to eat them. additionally it showed an artificial salmon-ladder up the river namsen, right next to the water power plant, and the waterfall right afterwards. unfortunately no salmon was hopping up the ladder, but there was a room with a glass window, where one could see them rest at the end of the ladder, preparing for the next hop. at the restaurant there was an open WLAN, so we put some blog entries online. after that we drove on to trondheim. we finally arrived there at about 16:00. parking fees are tremendously high in scandinavia. one hour cost about 13NOK (1.30EUR). but trondheim was worth it. it's a wonderful, lovely, but small town. everything can be reached by foot within a reasonable time. so we left trondheim after a four hour walk, heading on southwards. three hours later we passed by vang, where we entered a viking burial site, with about 800 grave mourns. the first finds age back to the iron age, and the graveyard has been used by many generations. half an hour later we drove on and were searching for a parking place where we could spend the night. we found one next to a river.

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Wed, 18 Jul 2007
day 12: laksfossen (0 comments)
we got up late today, as the day before was very exhausting, and it was very late when we got to bed. on our way to trondheim we passed the maelstroms at saltstraumen again, this time in daylight. but this time it was rather disappointing, since there actually were no real big maelstroms as we have seen some hours before. lucky us, our ferry arrived that late. for the rest of the day we have been driving southwards, and between rognan and skonseng we crossed the arctic circle for the second time. the only stop we actually had was at laksfossen, a big waterfall ("fossen") where salmon ("laks") is trying to get further up the river. so the fish are facing a really big obstacle they are trying to get passed. the waterfall itself is pretty impressive, big, and loud. from time to time one could see the salmon fishes jump out of the water. for the rest of our trip we had a blocked road by goats, cows, and sheep - we are still missing the reindeer :( right now it's 23:26 and... it's getting dark! guess we have to get used to that again - fortunately we will adjust gradually.

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Tue, 17 Jul 2007
day 11: moskenes and moose (0 comments)
after getting up early we were heading for moskenes on the lofoten islands. on the way there we stopped at a viking museum. on a 1500m long walk one could see a reconstructed chieftains house, viking ship, smithy, charcoal kilns, and a boathouse. furthermore remains of original houses, boathouses, settlements, grave mounds, and a christian cemetery. the reconstructed ship and the chieftain house were very interesting, showing the daily lives of the viking people. an interesting fact: viking-helmets had no horns! afterwards we drove on to moskenes to get the ferry to bodoe. on our way we gave two couples a ride. the first one was french and got off after about 10 minutes at a bus station (we don't remember where they wanted to go), the second one was a swedish one. they wanted to go to the beach, and therefore were heading for the ferry in reine. so they got off our camper at a crossing. they asked if they could take a picture of us, since they were tramping and took a picture of everyone that gave them a ride. we agreed. i hope the picture does not end up being shown on the internet. when we arrived at moskenes it was a bit frustrating at first. the ferry left the harbour every four hours, we were waiting in the third lane to get on the ship. this was two hours before the ferry arrived. the people from the ferry company told us we will not make it on the first one. the second one left moskenes at 21:15. so all in all we were waiting for six and a half hour. but fortunately it was a sunny day, so we left our camper on the third lane (in pole position!), took a walk through moskenes (actually the entire village is centered around the ferry harbour, and besides that, there is only a church that was built 1865). but we saw a little cute cat, begging for food at the back-entrance of the cafe next to the ferry information center. finally, at 21:30 (yes, the ferry had 15 minutes delay), we left the lofoten islands. on the four hours ferry trip we enjoyed the landscapes scrolling by, tried another unknown candy bar at the ferry shop (every time we stop at a gas station we buy a candy bar that looks interesting, and are of course unknown to us. it's always a surprise what we get, since we don't understand the ingredients list. but up to now they were all really delicious). it was 00:30 when we arrived at bodoe. since most camping ground receptions are not opened anymore at that time we decided to spend another night on some parking lot. our scandinavian guide said there are wonderful maelstroms about 30km eastwards of bodoe. so we decided to go that direction as long as we are not too tired. driving at that time is actually no problem, since it's still as light as during the day. the only thing that is different to driving at daytime is, that one can see moose! yes, we saw them - plenty of them! all in all we saw about eight or nine moose, two of them were baby-moose. the young moose have tremendously long legs compared to their overall size. we found out, that moose are actually as dumb as they are tall. and they are _very_ tall. but fortunately they are also as cute as they are dumb. really lovely creatures. late in the night we arrived at the malstroems in saltstraumen. the maelstroms looked wonderful in the sunset light. we took some photos, and then stopped at some parking ground to finally get some sleep.

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Mon, 16 Jul 2007
day 10: lofoten (0 comments)
today nothing really exciting happened. we took another ferry from one island to the other on the lofoten islands. for the rest of the time we were driving, since we had to wait until noon to pay at the camping site. afterwards we were driving to get a little southwards. tomtom had some strange issues today, as he guided us to two non-existing camping-sites. pretty strange, maybe the information is outdated or tomtom needs a break. the camping site here has an open WLAN, so i can put some stuff online. unfortunately the signal is too weak in our camper, so i had to take my camping-chair and sit 20m next to it to get online.

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Sun, 15 Jul 2007
day 09: tromsoe and polar zoo (0 comments)
after getting up at the park ground next to tromsoe we drove to the center of the town. our first stop was at the church, but it was closed at that time in the morning. so we drove on to the tromsoe museum. the streets were totally empty and as in helsinki we were the only people on the street. tomtom guided us to the tromsoe museum. we thought we were just in time, since our paper guide said the museum opens at 09:00. so we sat there and were wondering why it's still closed at 09:15, until we found out that we are in another time zone again. so we adjusted our clocks to GMT +1. oh no, we got up one hour too early - it was 06:00 when the alarm clock rang. so we got back to our camper, i took a short nap, zombiequeen was reading, and we returned to the museum at 09:00 sharp - this time it really was 09:00! when the museum had opened its gates we went in, had a look at various exhibitions, like a special exhibition on fire (one could try to make fire themselves), of course a sami exhibition (this is a must to every museum to show political correctness, i guess), a special on climate changes, about the people living in the stone age, another exhibition on the aurora borealis (another must to every museum in north scandinavia). we were the only people there, which is pretty cool and very enjoyable. afterwards we drove to the polaria, a small but very nice museum on the fauna around the northern polar areas. a highlight were the living seals that had a big aquarium there they could swim in. one could get really close to them. unfortunately the light conditions were very very bad in there and the seals were moving very fast, so no sharp pictures were taken of those lovely creatures. besides seals there were all kind of living animals like sea-stars, fish, crabs, eels, etc. additionally we saw a film (again in 125 degree viewpoint angle, by the same company and technology as the one shown at the north cape - scandinavians seem to enjoy those techniques). it was about spitsbergen, over and under the sea, filmed in either a boat or a helicopter. great pictures again. we left the camper at the parking ground of the polaria and went to the center by foot. we saw the center and the harbour. very lovely town with beautiful houses, but again not very many people there, and the once we saw were most likely tourists. seems like norwegians are having holidays and they all flee to warmer countries, or they stay at home on sunday? we are not sure. another attraction we've been visiting was the arctic cathedral. there was an entrance fee of 25NOK (that's about 2.5EUR). the church itself was ok, but we were a bit puzzled about the entrance fee, because inside it looked like an ordinary church. ok, there was a nice, big, glass-painted window but this definitely was not worth the 2.5EUR. but, for the first time in my live, i've been to a toilet in a church. that was worth the entry. additionally we've seen another member of the "world's northernmost"-attractions: a brewery. so up to now this makes: the world's northernmost point that can be reached by street (north cape), town, catholic church community, university, ice-free harbour (all in hammerfest), afterwards we left the "paris of the north", heading for the lofoten. on the way there we saw an advertisement for the polar zoo (of course the world's northernmost one). spontaneously we decided to go there since the weather was really awesome, and we hoped to finally see a moose in full view. but we were very disappointed as we read a sign saying "we are sorry, but the moose is dead.". poor moose, poor us. besides the moose there are foxes (polar and red), lynxes, brown bears, badgers, domestic animals, wolves, musk, deer, reindeer, and wolverines. this zoo has very very large enclosure with wild growing plants in there. so it often happened, that we didn't see any animal at all. either because they were hiding somewhere within their large enclosures, or in their lair, lying around in the grass or bushes, or they were dead. but in summary we saw every second animal (badger, bear, wolves, polar foxes, domestic animals, deer). after spending two hours in the zoo we drove on southwards. but since it was already late camping grounds were crowded. after two full camping grounds we finally found a very beautiful one. besides the two of us there were only three other campers and five tents there. after having our camper plugged to an electricity outlet we took a walk around the camping site.

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Sat, 14 Jul 2007
day 08: alta-museum (0 comments)
after getting up and making some hot coffee we drove to the alta museum, in which one can see ancient rock carvings. the museum is located at hjemmeluft. additionally the rock carvings were placed on the unesco world heritage list in 1985. the whole area is divided into two areas, each of them showing several stone carvings. to reach them one has to walk on wooden paths. while walking the slopes we met a nice taiwanese woman that is currently living in munich, thus her german was very good, and we had lots of fun while examining the area. additionally the museum offers several other exhibitions too. mostly about the history of the local area, from the stone age to the second world war. after the museum we were heading for tromsoe. tomtom, our reliable navigator estimated the journey to take six hours. at first we were very puzzled and thought of some system failure, until, at one point, tomtom said: "after 300m take the ferry". so we got on the ferry in olderdalen and left it at lyngseidet. after some kilometre tomtom suggested to take another ferry. this time from svensby to breivikeidet. finally, at 20:00 we arrived at tromsoe. so, tomtom was absolutely right - impressive! tomorrow we planned to visit the tromsoe-museum, the polar museum, and a cathedral. a side note: today was our first day since we crossed the arctic circle without seeing a reindeer - we miss them :( additionally we are too lazy to search for a camping site, so we park our camper about 25km away from tromsoe. it turns out it is some kind of an end-station of a local bus line, since every 15 minutes there is a bus arriving, waiting a few minutes, then driving away. we are going to bed early, after taking a walk along the fjord beach.

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Fri, 13 Jul 2007
day 07: hammerfest and some snow (0 comments)
our first week on our scandinavia-trip is done. today we slept pretty long (we both forgot to set our alarm clock once more). after breakfast we went to the center of hammerfest (or at least we thought it was the center). since both of us already had a slight cold when we left and it was getting worse every day, we went to a "apoteke" (pharmacy) today. thanks to the great invention and copyright by bayer, acetylsalisyre is even known here in norway by the name of "aspirin" - so getting the right medication for us was quite easy. additionally we bought some "C-vitamin" (you guessed right, vitamin C). it seems the combination as we know it, namely vitamin C and aspirin ("aspirin plus C" of course copyright and produced by bayer) is unknown here - scandinavian people don't get ill anyway. some shops we visited too were "hennes" (we're still not sure if this is some split "H&M" shop, missing the "M"), an intersport shop (seems like this brand is operating world-wide too) and a coop supermarket, which was "konsum" in austria, if i remember correctly. on our way home we saw two cats! unfortunately the first one was too far away and didn't even notice us, the second one was too shy and hid under a car - too bad. then we started the engine of our camper and drove to alta. of course reindeer where standing next to, but most of the time on the road. so cute, and so stupid. additionally we found a very little snow-field next to the road. though there's still some snow left here and there, this time we could reach it very easily. so, on a very warm and sunny day we touched snow in july, surrounded by blooming flowers and lilac. tomorrow we will try to find some very ancient stone paintings near alta. they're estimated to be done by the, first scandinavian people, between 4000 and 500 b.c., according to our reliable scandinavia guide.

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Thu, 12 Jul 2007
day 06: north cape - we've been there! (0 comments)
this day we got up very early (yes, we've had two alarm clocks set to 07:00, just to make sure), heading for the north cape. on the way there, there's a toll charge to pay for using the road to the north cape island. the closer we got to the north cape, the foggier it was. after paying the entrance to the cape itself, and finally being at our destination point, we were enclosed by fog. due to the heavy fog we did not even find the right way at first. instead we ended at some cliff. after walking around more or less blindly we found the building next to the cape. in there, there's loads of stuff to see, like a very very small thai museum (aehem, there once was a king, namely chulalongkorn - no, not a rice brand, that was his name! and for that he got his own museum). in fact it was a very small room with a few old pictures of king chulalongkorn and some thai daemon-mask. then there were loads of dioramas showing the history of the north cape. another great thing was the "supervideograph" (yep, cool name!), showing a movie in wide-angle (125 degrees, on five screens) showing the landscape around north cape through the four seasons, partially under the sea. the movie was pretty fascinating and we got an impression of what it would look like if there's not a thick wall of fog. therefore we decided to go to a nearby small village (skarsvag). there we were below the fog. we climbed a small hill that gave a good overview of the village. later we drank tea, ate something at a parking ground where we had a good view to the north cape (and its horn). while the upper cape was still in the fog, the horn was not. so we waited several hours just to return to the cape again after the fog has lifted. this time, unfortunately, we were not alone anymore. tourists were around the place, but not as much as we had expected. guess this is the good thing about the fog - not too much tourists. this time we had a far better view from the cape and the platform. we were glad that we had returned there for a second time. first checkpoint on our journey done - yuhu! we've been to the most northern point of the world (that can be reached on a road)! afterwards we've been driving to hammerfest, the most northern town in the world, with the only ice free harbour during the winter in northern europe, and the most northern catholic church community in the world.

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Wed, 11 Jul 2007
day 05: norway and a moose (0 comments)
accidentally i switched off the alarm clock of my mobile phone. so we got up later than we had intended the night before. the funny thing was, we got up and it was still as light as when we went to bed. after checking out at the camping ground we were heading for inari (approximately 350km south of north cape), a little village focusing on tourists and selling sami clothing and other strange stuff. besides that, and a very bitter coffee (we guess the bowl with filter coffee stood there way too long), there's nothing really exciting about inari. so we drove on to karasjok in norway where we planned to leave finland and enter norway. on the way there, we spotted our first moose. yes, this time a real one! unfortunately we were not really prepared for this awesome encounter, so there are no photos of the moose - bad luck. well, maybe we'll see another one later during our trip, this time with the camera readied. later we crossed the finish norwegian border and one of the first things we had to do was to get some money, norwegian crowns (to bad they're not part of the EU). when heading for the camping site in lakselv at first we crossed a military area (no parking or taking photographs!), then zombiequeen cooled her feet in seawater in the porsangen fjord, and finally we were driving along the river karasjokka, which led us to our final destination, the camping site. for the first time (besides some moments in helsinki) we had really good weather (in austrian terms, this means no rain, no clouds, sun, and warm wind, and temperatures over 15 degrees celsius). therefore we made use of our "no bite" anti mosquito gels and had our first meal outdoor. though pretty effective, the gel does not keep the mosquito's off very long, so right after that, taking photos, and writing postcards we entered the camper again. after having finished this blog entry we're going to drink tea, then go to bed, to get to north cape early tomorrow.

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Tue, 10 Jul 2007
day 04: rovianiemi and santa park (0 comments)
after getting up in the morning i connected to the open WLAN at the camping site to do some important online-stuff (no, not porn-surfing but doing some real working stuff). after that we headed for rovaniemi, approximately 700km south of the north cape. in rovaniemi is the so called arktikum, which is a museum about the northern arctic regions of the world with a focus on lapland. in there was a stuffed moose. since this was the first "real" moose i saw (despite the ones on television and the like) i was rather impressed and now the moose signs along the roads make more sense to me. unfortunately no photographing was allowed in the entire museum area. after that we drove to santa park, joulupukin pajakylae, which is a park of concentrated disgust and horror. this park offers christmas flair all year long, 365 and a quarter days a year - pure horror! yet we were missing some reindeer and little costume-elves, and santa himself (i think they were afraid of acts of terror against santa or intruding hordes of wham-fans, singing "last christmas"). but at least we saw some female santa's helpers. cute, but of course tall and blond, finnish girls doing interesting stuff in santa's post office. additionally the park is located exactly along the polar circle, which we crossed when leaving this awful place. christmas horror will return in five months anyway, so it was enough for now. on the road to sodankylae we encountered two reindeer crossing, or actually standing on, the road. they seemed a bit confused at first, then ran a few metres along with our camper, and finally they decided it's better to leave the road at all, so they took a turn to the left and disappeared in the woods. after having arrived at the camping site in sodankylae we took a walk to a nearby lake and for the first we have seen the sun after 20:00. to be more precise it was about 22:15 when the sunlight came through the wall of clouds. we will be heading for inari tomorrow, about 350km south of north cape, and most probably we are leaving finland via karasjok tomorrow, entering norway.

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Mon, 09 Jul 2007
day 03: fixing some stuff, and ski jumpers (0 comments)
the third day of our trip was rainy again. therefore we focused on getting on north and drove almost all day long. our first stop was in tampere ("the liverpool of north europe", as our travel guide called it), where we wanted to have the lock of our cabin door to be fixed. so we drove to a shop that anna-maria gave us the address of. the guy there was very, very friendly and smart. he partially fixed the lock, so that we can at least leave the camper through the cabin door. that's a big improvement compared to the previous state of the lock, namely being jammed and rendering the cabin door totally unusable. so on the third day, for the first time, we could exit the camper through the cabin door. additionally we had duplicated the key for all the locks at the camper, since the one we got from the car rental service, was worn out and had a good chance to break within the next few days, which we really did not want to risk. we will try to sell it to anna-maria when we return the camper. after having all those rather annoying things done, we drove to kuopio, which is approximately 280km north of tampere. our travel guide said there's a 75m high tower that should give a good view on the surrounding. when we arrived there it was totally foggy so we decided not to go up the tower. instead we found some ski jump which we had a closer look at. there was even one young man doing jumps. we were not sure whether this guy was hired to entertain tourists like us, or if he was really training for some olympic games. well, we took pictures of him, so if he ever gets famous, we'll know for sure. last thing we did for this day was driving to oulu, another 280km going north, which is almost half the way to our first destination, namely the north cape.

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Sun, 08 Jul 2007
day 02: naantali (moomin-world) (0 comments)
on the second day of our scandinavia-tour we came to moomin-world, located in naantali, finland. in our tour guide (in paper-form, including tourist attractions and information for finland, sweden, norway, denmark, and iceland) it said "moomin-world" or "moomin-park", so we thought it's a park like disney-world, with all kind of stuff related to moomins, the tv series i enjoyed so much when i was a child, and zombiequeen had already seen a few times, including facts, news, background stories, making ofs, and dudes in cool costumes, acting as all the different moomin characters. well, it turned out it's more some kind of "hey, make my child tired please, that's what i pay (a pretty large amount of money) for"-park for parents. so we were the only couple there without kids. though not really the target group for this entertainment park, we at least enjoyed some theatre, showing some (most probably) funny moomin story. it was in finnish. or... we really think it was finnish, but maybe it was swedish. one character we enjoyed very much, which is some kind of a black furry troll, called "stinky". zombiequeen laughed out loud, and all other people - kids and parents - around, who most probably understood what the actors were talking about, stared at her in wonder. i guess the play was not intended to be funny at that moment, so no one else was laughing. the rest of the park was rather disappointing for adults (or, to be more precise, for austrian, childless moomin-loving adults), since all stuff was mainly for kids. although it was raining pretty hard all day long the park was rather crowded and loads of families were there. most of the kids did not care about the rain at all, and so did their parents. i think finnish people are not very influenced by the weather at all. i wonder what they wear in winter. afterwards we drove to tampere, which lies north to naantali. at the camp ground we saw our first cat on this trip. it was a cat that travelled in a camper and was outdoor on a leash. great idea, we could have taken lilo with us, meow!

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Sat, 07 Jul 2007
day 01: the arrival (0 comments)
after spending the night in munich at zombiequeen's (aka karo) aunt and uncle, we got a ride to the airport by them. there we bought a bottle of wine at the duty free shop for my godfather, which we will hopefully meet later in stockholm. the bottle of course got sealed in a transparent bag with special labels to prevent an act of terror. after the duty free shop we went to the gate where we were awaited to get on the plane. it seems we were a little late since they already announced a "very last and urgent" call for us. in fact it was the first call, i'm sure because whenever there was a call i was listening very carefully. but anyway, we hurried to get on the plane, which then had delay anyway because they were having troubles with loading the luggage. oh well. about three hours later we arrived at helsinki, again with a little delay since the landing lane was flooded due to heavy rain showers, and so the plane had to fly a round over the airport. for the first time ever there was someone waiting for me with a sign with my name on at the airport in the arrival hall! ok, finally i'm important - yuhu. it was the girl from the car rental company, called anna-maria, that fetched us there and drove us to the headquarter where we saw a fine video with a crash course on how to maintain and operate the camper that will be our home for the next three weeks. the instructions had strong visual support by a finnish girl - uh, she was blond and tall. one could definitely see she had great fun at the film shooting (or maybe she was just drunk)! thoroughly and well instructed we hopped on the camper, started the engine and drove to our first camping site where we parked our camper and took the metro to the capital of finland, namely helsinki. an absolutely beautiful, but small town with loads of parks and green areas. the strange thing about helsinki was, that there were absolutely no people on the streets, there were plenty of free parking lots and almost no cars (except for taxis) driving on the streets. and i'm talking about saturday evening/night on a warm, nice summer day. it almost felt like walking through a ghost-town. on our way home we passed by a super market (at approximately 22:30). quite exhausted we went to bed for our first night in a camper at about 00:30. fortunately we could keep out the lights with sunblinds, since it was still light outside - comparable to 21:00 in austria.

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Thu, 28 Jun 2007
wrapping up the past: pictures from around hagenberg and a picnic (0 comments)
it was time for some tests with my camera again. so i went to areas near hagenberg, on the 25th of april and 04th of may. the first shooting was done at the aist, a lovely small river in a wood near hagenberg. it's really worth a visit, either for rock face climbing, walking, hiking, or simply just taking pictures. that day i was alone and i spent about 2-1/2 hours, but it was really worth every minute, since this region is really awesome. pictures from aist...
...and around hagenberg
a few weeks later i did some test shoots again, again in an area near hagenberg. there were strange colours from the sky and the cereal field. furthermore it was pretty windy that day and there were loads of clouds. so i took a circuitous route home from work and took a walk along this particular field. on the 27th of april zombiequeen and i went to vienna to have a picnic at the prater with some friends. it was very relaxing (since all were a bit tired, either because they were ill, or had a hard party the night before, etc). everyone brought food like salads, cakes, or cookies. the mixture of various cooking/baking styles was very interesting and delicious. some guys also were playing with their diabolos, the rest of us was chilling and enjoying their spare time. a relaxing prater picnic in vienna
coming up next in the "wrapping up the past:"-series: more pictures of linz and loads of zoo pictures.

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Sun, 24 Jun 2007
wrapping up the past: mirjam's horses and zoo altenfelden (0 comments)
as my faithful readers already know, chicks dig... horses. yes, they really do! another example of this thesis is mirjam. she even has two horses. so, one day zombiequeen and i have been invited to go with mirjam to her horses. i had the honourable task of taking photos - yep, what else. so, on the 21st of april 2007 we drove to saint florian to the horse stable. there were several girls combing, petting, feeding, and riding their horses. zombiequeen and i had our bikes with us, so while mirjam was riding her horses we were riding our bikes. mirjam's horses in st.florian
it was another warm and sunny april day when we got to the zoo in altenfelden for the first time. there are two routes one can go. the short one takes two hours, the other longer one takes three hours. i guess this is estimated for very old people or families, since the two hour tour we took this day, took as way shorter and we were going at a really very low speed. since it was friday afternoon there were only a few people visiting the zoo. this came in extremely handy, as the animals were not pissed off by visitors and therefore spent their time in their outdoor, rather than in their roofed enclosures. especially the pumas were in a very good mood so i could take loads of pictures of them. unfortunately, after several minutes of being really very close to them - there were only about three or four metres between us - one of the two pumas got bored and started to hiss at us. pretty scary to hear a real hiss, not the cute 'chhhhhhr' from the little cat called lilo we have at home. as we are cat-lovers, zombiequeen and i of course went on, leaving the pumas, resting in the sun, behind. zoo in altenfelden
this zoo is really great, the enclosures have reasonable sizes, the admission is fair, and the amount of animals is really big. additionally it is a nice walk in nature, since all the animals are spread over a large area. we intended to come back to take the three hour tour soon... coming up next in the "wrapping up the past:"-series: pictures from the aist-tal and a picnic in the prater.

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Fri, 22 Jun 2007
wrapping up the past: klaudia and michele (0 comments)
michele booked the photo-"studio" at the university of applied science in hagenberg for the 12th of april 2007. we planned to try out portrait-photography. additionally we invited klaudia (yes, the girl with the horses and the new lens again), since she enjoys posing in front of the camera - a rare habit. but unfortunately michele got sick that afternoon, so klaudia and i went to the studio alone. inside the "hype"-studio (i wonder what the guy was thinking when he came up with that name for a studio) we had some hot lights with soft boxes, diffusers, and umbrellas. we did not make use of flash-lights (since there were no flashes anyway and i still don't know how to handle them to get good results). as michele was sick and i do not like to have pictures taken of me, klaudia had to be the model all the time - lucky me. i really learned a lot this day since i could try out many things and klaudia was a wonderful model. we planned to redo such a session, but this time with michele, klaudia, me and a model that will pose for the three of us. poor model... portraits with klaudia
two days later michele felt better again. in fact, he felt that good that he wanted to go to the traunsee to go kite-surfing. he invited me to join and of course i did so. the traunsee is a wonderful lake surrounded by mountains. i took my bike with me (yep, michele hat an old VW-bus that was big enough to carry all our stuff) and drove along the lakeside. i found a little road that led right to the place where michele was kite-surfing. so i had the opportunity to take some pictures of him. but suddenly a cord broke so michele lost control over his kite. you can see it on the pics at the URL below, slide 46 to 51. after getting back to the shore and getting back his board, it was drifted away from the beach, we drove back home again. although some things did not flow that smoothly it was a nice day at the traunsee. kite-surfing with michele
coming up next in the "wrapping up the past:"-series: yet another visit to a zoo and another chick that digs horses.

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Thu, 21 Jun 2007
wrapping up the past: new tamron lens and portraits (0 comments)
on the 5th of april i got my new tamron lens. some technical details can be found here. for the impatient ones, read this: SP AF 17-50mm F/2,8 XR Di II LD Aspherical [IF], with minimum aperture of 32, a minimum object distance of 0.27m, 67mm filter size and it weighs only 430g. ok, enough with the technical specs. the day i got the lens, klaudia (yes, the chick with the horse) and i went to the botanical garden in linz to test it. klaudia and i ordered a lens each at the same shop, so we both were looking forward to test the lenses. it was also the last day that the botanical garden had butterflies in their glass-houses. botanical garden with klaudia, in linz
i wanted to try some things out with gimp so i searched my picture archive for old "portraits" of friends. i found some pictures, actually all of them were more or less spontaneous shots with no intention of portrait photography. the one i like most is a picture of nipes. below you can see it, along with a picture of chris. on the left the gimped versions, on the right the original versions. the portraits series
coming up next in the "wrapping up the past:"-series: a more professional approach to portrait-photography and kite-surfing with michele (of course in spectator-mode).

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Sun, 10 Jun 2007
wrapping up the past: klaudia + esprit, and a photo-safari with michele (0 comments)
chicks dig... horses. and so does karmakiller (aka "klaudia" - there will be another wrapping up the past issue with her soon). so i made some pics of her horse "esprit", a real cutie-hottie (this is a horse-lover's insider-joke - don't worry if this is not funny to you). unfortunately the weather was not too good at all this evening - shady and sometimes a bit rainy too. additionally it was march, so the days are still short. therefore, the pictures i took for the most part are unfortunately too dark and blurry. nonetheless i think klaudia liked them (at least she said so). karmakiller and esprit, somewhere near linz
on the 4th of march michele and i did a photo-safari through linz again. it was on of the first warm and sunny days in march after a long (but not really cold) winter. we decided to take a closer look at various churches that are in linz. so we have been to several churches (actually, i really don't remember in how many we have been all together, because in some we didn't even start to take pictures as they actually were too boring, from a photographer's point of view). we finally came to one of the two cathedrals we have in linz. and what we found inside was awesome and breath-taking. the sunlight flooded the halls and because of the colourful glass-windows the walls were all colourful. all in all i think we took pictures for about one and a half hour. the both of us really enjoyed it. another wonderful photo-safari with michele. more visual impressions from the tour with michele through linz
coming up next in the "wrapping up the past:"-series: my new tamron-lens and some older pics i turned into portraits.

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Tue, 08 May 2007
wrapping up the past: icehockey match and wacom graphire 1 (0 comments)
on the 13th of february RISCSW employees had an icehockey match against the FAW employees in the icehockey-arena in linz. most of my co-workers have had only two, or three hours on skates some days before the match. this was all the training they had. and i have to say, they really were fighting very brave! unfortunately they lost - i think the final score was five for FAW and three for RISCSW. still i think all of them had real fun, no tooth or blood was spilled on the ice rink. a really fair and nice game, i guess some would call it "boring". icehockey match RISCSW vs. FAW in linz
i bought a second-hand wacom "graphire 1" tablet on eBay, i think around october 2006 for about 25EUR (incl. p&p). i kept it unused until 25th of november, when i started to do my first digital drawing. at first drawing with the tablet was pretty odd, but i soon got used to it, and after several hours of drawing, i became acquainted with it. i soon had an idea of what to draw and started with a sketch. several hours later my first drawing was done - yippieh! unfortunately it actually was several hours too late, as i wanted it to be finished by valentine's day, but i missed it - i finished seven days later. nonetheless, zombiequeen was very happy about it, and i think she really liked it (she said she wanted a printed version of it, to frame it and hang it up on the wall). all in all it took me 33 hours in a total of 13 sessions. i used gimp v2.2.13, and the original size is 3466x4000 pixels (WxH). the file itself takes up 36MB of hard disk space, the opened image (in it's final, cleaned up version) has 14 layers and allocates 485MB of virtual memory. though the drawing has several flaws, i'm pretty happy the way it turned out. i hope you like it too. there's a "making of" site, showing the outcome of each session. i already have an idea for the next drawing, let's see when i will start to draw again. since it's summer, i prefer being outside, rather than drawing in my room... the "making of" falling in love
coming up next in the "wrapping up the past:"-series: pics of klaudia and esprit, and another photo-safari with michele through linz.

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Mon, 07 May 2007
wrapping up the past: graz and ITnT2007 (0 comments)
from the 26th to the 28th of january i paid a visit to my brother's new house in graz. he and his wife have moved in only a few month before, and i had been there before only once, but at that time it was a construction site. so i was pretty curious about how it turned out. and i think it turned out pretty well. or, at least i liked it very much. the pics i took are not much of the house itself, but rather from a walk we took because of the fine weather (it was winter, and snow was all over the place, but it was rather warm this day, and there was loads of sunshine). so, here are the pics. images from the visit to my brother in graz
on the 30th of january some co-workers and me have been to the IT'n'T 2007 trade fair in vienna. well, the trade fair had - as every year, i guess - not really much to offer, but it was big fun - as every year too. this year, again, there were some very lovely women giving away various things, from cupcakes to apples (no, i mean the healthy, not the crappy stuff!) - actually the real high-light at this trade fair. see some of them and other strange stuff at the link (and pics) below. some visual impressions from the ITnT 2007 in vienna
coming up next in the "wrapping up the past:"-series: pics of an icehockey game of my co-workers and my first digital drawing with my wacom "graphire 1" tablet.

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Thu, 03 May 2007
wrapping up the past: hagenberg and pvnc's cats (0 comments)
on 10th of january i brought my cam with me to the office. this day there was a very beautiful sunset, so i was really lucky. since this was in winter, the sun set at about 18:30. additionally it was very cloudy this day, and the sun lit the bottom side of the clouds. so, to summarize it, this was the perfect day for taking pics. and here are two of the entire series, which you can have a look at at the link below. both images from the hagenberg photo session
two weeks later zombiequeen and i drove to wiener neudorf, which is close to vienna (such as gumpoldskirchen, both are located in lower austria). again, i had my camera with me to take pictures of pvnc's two lovely cats. pvnc went to ireland for one year in february and had to leave her cats in austria, so she wanted to have at least some pictures of her two cats she can take with her. since i love taking pics, and i love cats even more, this was pure fun for me. i think the cats also enjoyed it, at least they were not shy at all and even did some great posing. so, here are the pictures of sheila and simba. both images from the photo session with pvnc's cats
coming up next in the "wrapping up the past:"-series: pics of graz and a visit to the ITnT.

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Mon, 23 Apr 2007
wrapping up the past: lilo and linz 09 (0 comments)
it was time again to experiment with my camera and who would be a better model than the ever patient lilo. so on the 4th of january we had another photo-session. i really enjoyed it, i guess lilo did so too. but she got her award afterwards, the beloved whiskas crunch - yammi. both images from the lilo 09 photo session number 9
on the 7th of january i went on an outdoor photo trip through linz with michele. our tour took us from the riverbanks of the danube to pleschinger see, and ended at the VOEST area where we found two big gas containers, a sphere and a cylinder. i really enjoyed this trip! both images from the linz 09 tour
coming up next in the "wrapping up the past:"-series: pics of hagenberg and pvnc's two lovely cats - i'm sure you'll like them!

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Sun, 22 Apr 2007
wrapping up the past: hamburg (0 comments)
so, it has really been a very, very long time i had not been doing a bLog-entry. so i thought, hey, it's sunday, let's put some nice stuff on-line. ok, i already did this for the last few months, but H-nes said he did not get all those cool things i put on-line, because it's not in my bLog. oh nose!(!!) oh well, so here it is, and you are to get it all in a nice summary, one per day (hopefully). ok, according to my bLog-entries, the last picture-bLog entry has been made on the 27th of october, when zombiequeen and i had been to the zoo in linz. really a long time ago. let's start the time-machine... yes, we've been to hamburg to celebrate new year's day and have a nice time in this wonderful town. we stayed there from the 29th of december 2006 to the 3rd of january 2007. day one was driving around in hamburg from one end of the town to the other end. it was absolutely lovely, and very interesting! for the whole time we spent in hamburg, we had two very lovely guides. two natives, friends of zombiequeen's father. they seemed to enjoy the role of the tourist guide, and so did we enjoy the guidance! i think they told us more stories and facts than any other professional guide would have done. day two was walking around in the center of hamburg, but this time by foot and metro. in the evening we walked around in the "speicherstadt", a very famous part of the town. get some sample pics here, and more on the link to day two of our hamburg trip. day 01 in hamburg, day 02 in hamburg
on day three we have been to the hamburger fish market. a very fascinating place with funny market criers. furthermore we have climbed the "michel", a church in the center of hamburg. on top of it one has a very nice view over the town. afterwards we took a walk through the biggest cemetery of europe. in the evening we drove to the harbour again, to celebrate new year's eve there. we have been in a bar with a very good view on the streets and the river nearby. which is just where day four started, namely with rockets and fireworks. then we took a walk to our hotel through an absolutely crowded st.pauli/reeperbahn (yep, we had our hotel just around the corner of reeperbahn). for the rest of the day we slept and relaxed from the long exhausting night. in the evening we went to "jungfernsteg" a noble shopping street with loads of arcades. the funny thing was, there were no people at all. the night before it was so crowded, now it seemed more like a ghost town. i really enjoyed this. day 03 in hamburg, day 04 in hamburg
day five we have been to the speicherstadt again, but this time at daylight - still it's a very beautiful and fascinating place. oh, and we have been to a small coffee-museum too. very cute and the coffee there was really great! in the evening we went to "schmidt"'s theater, located on the reeperbahn in st.pauli district. very funny, and we both really liked it (though it was a musical). the story was about a little hot dog stall on the reeperbahn, with all kind of strange characters (from prostitutes to tourists) coming by there. on day six we have been to some museums (i actually don't remember which ones they were exactly). museums are a perfect place to chill, and since we were both quite exhausted from the days we already had spent in this town, this was the perfect time to go to museums. in the evening we flew back to linz again. wonderful trip, i love this town! day 05 in hamburg, day 06 in hamburg
some extra shots from the really very, very big cemetery that is more like a park with some (sometimes hidden) gravestones here and there. not like graveyards i used to know. both images are from the cemetery special in hamburg
thanks to zombiequeen for this very nice trip to hamburg - it was really great, and fun! coming up next in the "wrapping up the past:"-series: lilo, chapter nine. a short story on how to take pictures of a lovely little cute cat.

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Tue, 23 Jan 2007
happy birthday zombiequeen :) (0 comments)

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