"bLog means boring-Log"
survival training (0 comments)
we gave a special night out as a present to nina's brother and his girlfriend. for this we needed a bit of preparation and some special items in our luggage.
our destination was sittendorf, south-east of vienna, in the wienerwald. at a parking lot we met a few other guys, all waiting for our guide, who will teach us a lot of stuff for the next two days.
and soon he arrived and guided us to a nearby forest glade to start the lessons. and so the survival training
our first lessons were to think about what is most important for survival in nature. it came down to water, body temperature, shelter, and food - pretty much in this order.
although water is the most important thing, we started with building a shelter. we tried to build a bed made of stuff that is available in the forest that was around us. straight dry sticks, and tons of dried leaves to cover our skeleton tent and make it wind and a bit of waterproof. nina even could lie beneath the new roof, for me unfortunately it was a bit too short.
then we were taught about the ways one could get drinkable water. from charcoal cleaning to getting the exhaustion water from leaves we discussed the pros and cons of each method.
as one of the ways to purify water was to boil it, we then learned to make fire - in four different variations[02-10]
the first method was to set fire to a heap of dry leaves and wood sticks. to manage the fire we were handed out two matches in a matchbox. considering it was pretty windy, this was quite a challenge. but soon a few heaps were smoking and a few minutes later they were all burning brightly.
the second way to light a fire our guide called the "siberian fire", where you line up the dry wood and leaves with the wind, so the suction helps you to speed up the flames. again two matches had to do.
the third version was using flint and steel and hygiene products for women. while getting sparks to smoulder the wool, it was hard to get it to grow to a full flame. so this took a few tries, but we finally managed to do that too.
the last variant was a board of wood, a wooden stick and friction; and loads of it. this was really the most exhausting way to get a flame but after using a string to speed up the rotation of the wood stick nina and i could get it working[16-18]. puh... to bring a lighter is way easier and less strenuous, and keeps you from getting blisters on your hands, like we did.
this is also what our guide recommended - when you go into nature, bring a lighter, a knife and a special tinder. this special lighter i a piece of wool (again this can be a female hygiene product) drenched in vaseline. it does not take much of it, to get a nice fire going, and also it does not take up much weight or space in your rucksack.
so now that we had a shelter, and a fire going, the next thing to focus on, was getting something to eat.
besides herbs, fruits, mushrooms, and berries we also could opt for the opportunity to try out to eat insects. i wanted this to do the first time i read about it on the website
of our guide, nina was a bit sceptical at first but then also joined in. as did everyone else in the group. wow, we really were all surprised and impressed about ourselves.
so we went to a nearby meadow to catch grasshoppers and locust. at first we all were a bit clumsy, but there were so many grasshoppers on this meadow, we soon have caught a few to line them up on our skewers made out of stronger blades of grass. while nina and i felt sorry for killing the animals, and thus apologizing to them before killing them fast with a twist of the head, that also removes the head at the same time, others soon went on a killing spree, with a spark of bloodlust on their face.
when everybody had as many dead insects on their spits as they liked, we went back to the fireplace and roasted them like one would do with marshmallows over the open flames.
the insects were crunchy, and tasted nutty - not bad in taste, but also not really a delicacy. so for survival it would suffice, although catching them probably consumes more energy than you get out of eating them. so it is more for the variety of food you eat, rather than for lasting sustenance.
then it was time for our real beds. they were the mats and sleeping bags everyone brought. to cover from rain, we were handed out tarpaulins we had to put over tightened cords which went from tree to tree. we secured them on the ground with stones or more cords, whichever was available. once this was done, we gathered around the fireplace again, and had some herbal tea, with leaves we collected during the day when exploring the area and looking for water sources. the tea was really good.
then we also got "normal" food, as in bread and meat, fruits, and such.
once everyone was well fed, we got a lecture on properly handling and holding a knife, which different knives there are, and which ones are best suited for survival needs.
then we were invited to make our own wooden spoons with only a knife and fire. you start with a log that is split into the right size for a spoon and handle. then you start to outline the spoon with the knife. for the head we used glowing coals, that burns the shape of the bowl. once this is done, you start to smoothen things out with the knife again.
nina and i did not quite finish our spoons, but the shape was already there, so maybe we finish it at home, once we get a proper woodcarving knife.
later that evening, nina started to get sick (maybe because of the grasshoppers?). this did not get better during the night, so we had not much sleep under our tarpaulins. additionally it then started to rain, which was not helping either, but at least we did not get wet in our sleeping bags. the next day nina felt a little better. and after a breakfast with all participants of the course, we disassembled our camp, helped to bring all the stuff to the nearby cars, and then went home.
so, if a zombie-apocalypse would be taking place any time soon, we should be prepared to survive in the wilderness on our own. at least in theory. hehe.
visiting maya and miele again (0 comments)
oh, how wonderful, we could come and visit maya & miele
again. it has been over a month since the last time we saw them, and they have grown a lot for this short period of time. but they were still super cute little fluff balls.
and they have kept their playfulness too. so we had them chase sticks, strings, and toy mice all through the flat. but small kittens as they still are, they soon were exhausted and tired.
then it was time to feed them. and after eating they were even more tired.
so then came sleeping and cuddling time again. nina took miele to pet him, and i grabbed maya and put her on my lap. after a little purring they soon doze off and fell asleep.
aaaw, they are so cute. we are really lucky to have such lovely neighbours.
a visit to the prater (0 comments)
one week after my dad's visit, my brother and his family came for a visit, to stay over the weekend.
school is over, and since my nephew had excellent grades he wished for a visit to vienna and to the prater
, a big open amusement park, on sunday. since my brother and his wife also had to fetch their new car from vienna, this was a perfect time for a visit to vienna.
the weather was just right on this day. sunny, and maybe just a bit too hot. nonetheless my nephew was eager to try out a lot of attractions in the amusement park. so the adults split up, so each one of us gets their fair share of the... fun.
nina (thankfully) volunteered for a roller coaster and a water slide ride. while the water slide looked like fun, the roller coaster definitely is nothing for me.
nina and i had recently been watching the "wild mouse" from and with josef hader, so us and my nephew had a ride with that too; for this one i actually also volunteered. and i mean really voluntary.
my brother decided to go for some sort of flying simulator, and my sister-in-law went for the ghost train.
i chose some walking simulator through some kind of dinostopian park, but with elements of horror here and there. while to me it was mainly way too loud, to my nephew it must have been very scary, as he grabbed my hand and did not let go of it until we reached the exit again. not my pick or recommendation, but older kids might easily enjoy this, as partly it was really a nice reconstruction of how it would have looked like for the dinosaurs, if only one could skip those not really scary but just overly loud scare jump elements.
nina, my nephew, and me then did another water slide based attraction. i must admit i got very dizzy one i came out of it again.
all adults were pretty exhausted by the time we had done all those attractions, and i might even have forgotten a few to list here. my nephew on the other hand easily might have had some more, but they still had to fetch the new car and return home with two cars, so it was time to end the fun and go home.
as soon as they had packed all their stuff into the car and had left for the motor highway and we had just reached a metro station, it start raining cats and cats. and some dogs too.
perfect timing at the end of a lovely day with my brother's family.
a visit to the nhm vienna (0 comments)
for christmas i gave my father and his significant other vouchers for several activities in vienna as a present. one of those activities was a visit to the natural history museum
in vienna, including a tour on the roof of the museum. all of us had not seen that before. but first was a tour through the really huge building.
nina and i have been here recently to visit the special exhibition called "cat's cradle & lion's den" showing the influence of cats in different eras up to today; meow.
besides all the exhibits shown, the building itself is also very impressive. since everything is so big and would consume so much time if you would really take your time to see every little piece in detail, we did not get very far on the floor we started.
then we started the tour to the roof of the museum. the weather was perfect, and we were a group of about 15 people. our guide was leading us upstairs, and through hallways and corridors to doors, usually closed to visitors, we made our way up to the attic to get to the door that would lead us outside onto the roof.
once through the door, we went along the edge of the building, where loads of statues were placed. from below you notice there are some, but not that it is so many.
the guide picked out a few important ones to describe them in more detail; who they were, why they were important at the time of erecting this museum, and thus ended up here.
from the top of the museum one has a magnificent view over the surrounding area, as it is amongst the higher buildings here in the centre of the capital. we also got a glimpse into office rooms that seem to be located up here. i imagine having my desk here, would be pretty nice, although i can imagine it is getting pretty hot up here in summer with all the tin that is covering the roof. also, the wind was pretty strong, so opening the window might result in strong gusts, possibly wreaking havoc on ones desk.
unfortunately the tour ended way too fast, and we had to get into the building again. there we continued our tour through the museum and managed to look through a small portion of the exhibits on one half of the first floor.
we had a coffee in the cafe inside the museum, and then we decided to call it a day. nina and i considered buying an annual season ticket, since it is a good price to have a closer look and taking more time. i wonder if one year is enough to get really every little detail in here. well, maybe we will find out.
so, if you ever get a chance to take the roof top tour in the nhm, do it - it really is a great experience. and if you do not get a chance for the root top tour, go to the nhm anyways.
zoo run 2017 (0 comments)
after we did not participate in the zoo run
last year, we managed to enlist this year. and this year we even made it into the tiger starters block - so it was "team tiger", yeah.
i convinced a few of my co-workers to join me in the 6.4 kilometres long run that leads through the zoo in schoenbrunn, thus it was six people on our running team. our boss even had shirts printed with a cute tiger on it.
the tiger block is the last to start, but still it was very, very, very, very hot this day. so we took several breaks at the enclosures of lions, cheetahs, leopards, wolfs, and of course the tigers; since we were on their team, it was a must.
this year there were not that many costumes as the last time we ran. maybe because of the weather, or maybe it was because we were among the very last ones to cross the starting line, and therefore did not see that many other runners.
but what stayed the same as the last time was all the helpers that stood along the course and cheered and helped us to keep the motivation up - they really do a great job.
nina and i reached the finish line holding hands. again our rank was pretty bad, but it was fun and a unique way to do a tour through the zoological garden.
we had our favorite meal, namely chilli for nina, and sugared pancake for me. to drink we had beer. after everyone had renewed their strength a bit, we went to a nearby restaurant to have another drink to wind down after all the excitement and exhaustion.
great fun, so i am definitely looking forward to the zoo run 2018.
cats, a lake, and an escape room game in tyrol (0 comments)
we went to tyrol
again, and as usual we stayed at the place of nina's parents.
during the four day stay, we were accompanied by the two cats[01-03,14-19,25-27,29-34] of the house, bonnie and havanna.
we also did a trip to the berglsteiner lake[05-13] on the first day to have a nice hike around the lake there.
on the second day we went to innsbruck, to play an escape room game at perplexx
with nina's brother mario and his girlfriend maria. thus we drove to the location of the game, got a few instructions and a little background information on the story of the quest.
we made a very good team and had all the puzzles solved within the time limit of one hour. in the end we even had seven and a half minutes left and had no clue used. one could push a "clue"-button if the team runs out of ideas; but the button is only available three times, and there has to be a pause of at least ten minutes between each push. i think once all three hints were used, and the team would still be stuck it might be stopped and the door openes prematurely. but we had no need for a clue; quite amazing.
the scavenger hunt was very entertaining and made a lot of fun, and the puzzles had just the right balance between trickiness and being solvable, even if it was a first for all of us. also, the story was well elaborated throughout the game. and some jump scare elements, like some toy spiders falling on your head, because you were forced into a position right under a special drawer that had to be opened, were well placed and made us laugh. it also had rats, snakes, skulls, bugs, scary toy dolls and mystical electrical instruments - so all the fun stuff.
after the successful escape we had a drink in a nice rooftop bar[21-23] with a nice overview of the city. a good place to chill out, review and talk about all the clues, hints, props, and puzzles of the game.
this was really fun. nina and i considered to do more escape room games in the future.
maya and miele, revisited (0 comments)
yeah, we were invited again to come and see maya & miele
, our neighbour's newly adopted two kittens.
they had grown a little, but still they were so tiny and looked so fragile.
the two balls of fluff were again playing and active at first, but then soon got exhausted and fell asleep fast. the perfect time to pick them up and cuddle and pet them extensively.
while nina's darling is miele, i am inordinately fond of the little princess maya.
miele has pretty big paws, so we assumed he will still grow quite much. also he might be a main coon cat, which also have a tendency to get pretty huge.
same with maya, as norwegian forest cats also can get quite big; although her paws are of normal size.
are we not lucky to have such adorable neighbours? i think there might be a few follow-ups in the future about those two gorgeous creatures. and we wonder how big they will become.
our new neighbours maya and miele (0 comments)
our neighbour has two new kittens, and we were invited to get them to know. they are called maya & miele
maya is female, gray and seems to be a norwegian forest cat. miele is male, ginger and seems to be a main coon cat. they were adopted from the animal shelter, so little is known about them.
but who cares, they are so adorable, cute und fluffy all over. we were melting away at the sight of them.
maya seems to be more of a lady, acting shy at first, but then all cuddly and purring. i grabbed her and put her on my lap, where she spent the next half hour sleeping. aaaw, soooo cute.
miele seems to be more the play type, always active, always curious, always chasing and running through the flat. but then he also got a bit tired and also stayed on nina's lap and started to purr.
this really gave us a massive cuteness overload. i hope we can visit them again soon.
a visit to the zoo in schoenbrunn (0 comments)
nina and i have been to the zoo
at schoenbrunn once more. again it has been quite a while since the last time we were here. but today we were here for a special occasion, namely the opening of the new giraffe[001-006,058-068] house. after over two years of construction time, the new enclosure has been opened. it is much bigger and spacious, then the old one, and all new and shiny.
but besides the opening i had a special surprise for nina, which i had kept a secret for almost over a year now.
and as it happens, nina wanted to take a short break to change her camera lens. she put her bag right on a bench right in front of where my surprise was - so exactly where i wanted her to be; awesome.
as i had donated a little sum of money to support the funding of the giraffe enclosure, i was offered to have a name printed on a glass window of the newly giraffe house.
i initially asked them to print "ninsti & nostromo", but they said it can only be names, no "&", "+", or "und"; this was a bit frustrating. so, after a little negotiation with the staff in charge for the window printing at zoo vienna, i convinced them that "ninsti and nostromo" is actually one name, consisting of first-, middle-, and last-name, and "and." is the abbreviated form of nina's fictional nickname "andrea".
either they believed my outrageous story, or they just did not want to argue any more, i do not know; but i think the latter, because they even omitted the "." after the middle-name; so in the end, i got the text approved and printed - how marvellous.
it took nina a while to realise that this was indeed a text by me for us. she was confused, and amazed at first, but then she was impressed, all happy, and pretty surprised - totally worth the effort. i was happy she liked it.
after having revealed my surprise to her, we continued our tour through the zoo. we started at the bird house with fish, a sloth[008-009], turtles and monkeys[011-012] right in front of it, and the scarlet ibis right next to it.
the southern sea lions[015-030,031-034] were enjoying the warm weather and sun, while dozing off. the massive male sea lion was showing off, but the females did not seem very impressed, so he soon stopped and also rested.
the lions[035-036] and cheetahs[037-038] were also taking a nap, enjoying the sun - a cat does, what a cat has to do.
at least the giant panda[039-043] was - surprisingly - more active, which means it was feeding on bamboo. but at least we did not get the usual rear view of the panda, but this time we even got to see it in profile. a rare sight for us.
in the east africa house we spotted the southern ground hornbill[044-046] and a southern dwarf mongoose[047-057] gang, with one of the little guys doing the sentry duty.
then we visited the giraffe house once more, as the giraffes[058-068] were out again grabbing some hay.
next we went to the aquarium and terrarium house. there we were watching some reptiles, like the mexican crocodiles[069-072], or the black-chested spiny-tailed iguana[072-074], which was more colourful than i had anticipated a reptile to be.
then we came to one of nina's favourites, the jellyfish[075-086]. they have a vast amount of different jellyfish species, with all of them having one thing in common; they are extremely difficult to capture with the camera, as the light conditions are really horrible in the tanks, when it comes to taking pictures in the aquarium section.
but they are really beautiful when they float around in their water tanks, almost like they are not affected by gravity at all. also i always wonder how they manage to not entangle or knot their tentacles.
through a window in the aquarium and terrarium house one can look outside through a window, right into the flamingos[0889-096] area of the zoo. as they get special food here in the zoo, they are extremely colourful, and have that typical flamingo colour; really beautiful.
then we headed for the butterflies[097-102], another one of nina's favourites. but they are also hard to catch with the camera, because they almost never rest. and once they finally do, they have their wings folded most of the time. but i caught some while feeding or hatching out of their cocoon.
then there were also two aldabra giant tortoises[103-105] in the terrarium house - really big animals. they were also resting, and just lying there and enjoying their break from feeding.
to sum it up, the new giraffe house is way better than the old one, and also it has our names in it. we should come here more often again; nina and i agreed on that one.
a weekend trip to graz (0 comments)
a nice family meeting was taking place in graz
, so we drove to styria. it was also this weekend, that the "klanglicht 2017" took place. we had never attended to this event before, so it was a first for us. the whole event started on 28th, and ended on the 30th of april, but we only were there on the 29th.
the event takes place in the centre of graz, and the streets were closed for car traffic; yet, they were crowded with people.
a gloeckler run was one event we had just missed, but the huge lanterns the gloecklers were wearing on their heads were still on display, so we could get a closer look. these lanterns can get pretty heavy and enormous, and all of them were beautifully crafted.
we enjoyed the floating creatures[03-10] the most. they silently float through the air like whales in the water. filled with gas and a small motor attached to them, they could get steered through the air. this was really a wonderful spectacle to observe - very peaceful and relaxing.
although we did not see much of the entire festival unfortunately, we were delighted and impressed by all the stuff one got to see at the klanglicht 2017; maybe we get to see the one next year too.
a few days in tyrol (0 comments)
easter holidays were coming, and so we spent the few days in tyrol
, at the place of nina's parents.
we stayed from the 14th to the 16th of april. and the day before easter sunday we had fun with the two beautiful ragdoll cats[01-11] bonnie and havanna. they even got a chance to explore the garden, which they very much enjoy.
but once they are inside again, they are exhausted for the next 24 hours, and sometimes more. so many new things, so many exciting new impressions, smells, and animals; and also it is a rare occasion for them to get outside.
on saturday we made an easter bonfire[12-17] in the garden, then when everyone was asleep i placed the easter baskets all around the house. and on sunday there was much fun with the easter basket hunt.
after everyone had found their nests, we had marvellous dinner which was a rainbow trout.
unfortunately the holidays were very short this year, so we had to leave again soon. too bad.
a hike in the helenental (0 comments)
since it was getting warmer outside every day, we decided to do some hiking. so we picked a nice looking hike in the helenental
the helenental is south-west of vienna, and it roughly takes one 30 minutes to get there by car. fortunately this day we had a car, since two friends of ours, steffi and niko, joined us; and they happen to own a car. so we left vienna around noon, and soon arrived at the parking lot that leads right to the start of the round trip.
the trail is around ten kilometres long and rather easy. a few steeper sections are included, but they were no problem. the weather was mild, with temperatures around 15 degrees celsius, and plenty of sunshine.
as the trees still had not come into blossom, there was plenty of light reaching down to the ground; which in turn created a carpet of lush green, that was intensified by the sunlight; so the scenery was all brown and green. yes, it definitely is spring time.
since there was such a plethora of bear's garlic, we decided to pluck some leaves and take them home to make some pesto, or soup. after about half an hour later everyone came back with a big bag of wild garlic.
this was a wonderful tour to start the hiking season and welcome spring. there were almost no other hikers, and the tranquillity, peacefulness and seclusion was a treat to the loud and busy daily business in the city - what a nice refuge from the constant hectic in the capital.
tycho (0 comments)
^C: tycho (heathered pearls), flex