Sunday, October 31, 2010

café central

whilst kev's family were visiting we went to café central for cake.
yep, mine was the vanilla cream slice! although, if i had to chose between this one and the one i ate at café diglas... i'd have to go with the diglas one.

happy halloween

i should be at a halloween party right now. instead i'm stuck in bed with flu. it really sucks and i'm feeling very sorry for myself! i love halloween and i love fancy dress. above are some pictures i took at our halloween party last year. it was SO much fun. i was magenta from the rocky horror picture show!

sunday in the city

some random and totally unrelated snaps from last sunday when we took kev's family out for a wander in the city.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

schönbrunn in autumn

before our little visit to the hospital.... here are some pictures i took of the gardens at schönbrunn...
kev's family are now on a plane on their way home. hopefully claire managed to get to and on the plane okay. we called easyjet to try and arrange some assistance at the airport but you have to book assistance at least 48 hours before departure. so what if you have an accident within the 48 hours? the whole point is that you can't predict accidents?! they said they will 'see what they can do'.

i've now gotta clean the apartment and do lots of washing before our friend hayley arrives tomorrow. its all go here at the moment!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

my first ever ride in an ambulance!

okay, so it has been quite a day today and i have a little story to tell about our adventures in an ambulance and an austrian hospital.

firstly, i should probably tell you that i am not the injured one. unfortunately kev's sister claire took a bad tumble over on her ankle today when we were at the tiergarten (the zoo at schönbrunn ). luckily we managed to stumble across the first aid station as we tried to get claire to the exit to hail a cab (after failed attempts to push claire in her 3 year old son's pushchair!). the first aiders looked thoroughly bored before we arrived (one was smoking outside) and seemed actually rather excited to have something to do! claire was in a lot of pain and could barely walk. they insisted on calling an ambulance to get her ankle x-rayed and so my first adventure in an ambulance began (note: i was the designated person to stay with claire whilst the others carried on around the zoo because i could speak the most german out of everyone. ha. that says a lot!).

but we waited and waited and the ladies in their bright red and yellow 'first aid' uniforms didn't seem to know what to do. claire started to feel quite sick but they couldn't find anything for her to be sick in... and eventually they dug out a HUGE white bin liner (but they then took another 5 minutes to find the opening). luckily claire wasn't actually sick!

two ambulance men finally arrived and then we waited some more. they seemed much more interested in chatting and laughing with the 'first aiders' (i was desperately trying to figure out what they were saying but my deutsch is abysmal and i could only understand a few words here and there). they wrapped claire's foot up rather oddly, got her in a funny wheelchair thing with her foot dangling awkwardly with nothing to rest it on and then we waited some more. it turns out (one of the ladies tried to explain) that you don't just drive to the local accident & emergency department here, the paramedics have to call (i assume) some central place and they call you back and tell you which hospital to drive to depending on who has space. 

anyway, at last we got in the ambulance (after everyone staring at us at the zoo. obviously someone being put in an ambulance was much more interesting than looking at some caged animals). i was strapped in the back with claire and off we went with the blue light flashing. (oh and by the way, they do put the siren on at red traffic lights even in a nonemergency. i always knew it!). 

we ended up in 14th district somewhere. as the ambulance arrived some other paramedics came over to laugh and joke with the guys who brought us to hospital whilst they took claire off the ambulance. i heard them mention something about sylvester stallone... and then a paramedic asked claire (whilst laughing) if she was a stunt woman?!

once in the hospital they made claire get on a wheeley bed (which she found highly embarrassing as a wheelchair would have been more than sufficient). they then wheeled her into a room and left us. i should point out here that unlike in england where you may wait 6 hours to see a nurse/doctor in accident and emergency a doctor appeared in a minute. the doctor spoke a little english (yes!) and asked if her leg hurt whilst prodding it... and now, i'm no doctor...but he then twisted her ankle round and said 'does that hurt'? (surely that can't be good?!). i think claire's scream gave him the answer.

she got wheeled down a corridor and left outside (what turned out to be) the x-ray room where there was a man sitting in a hospital gown with his legs wide open (thank goodness i was sat to the side of him and didn't have a front view). 

luckily the x-rays revealed that her ankle wasn't broken but they thought maybe some torn ligaments in the foot (and a bad sprain). the doctor came back with a prescription for pain killers and a rolled bandage and then left us in the corridor. just walked away. they didn't even bandage her ankle for her... and she couldn't even walk! so i ended up bandaging her ankle for her in the hospital in the corridor whilst she still sat on the wheeley bed. the two of us then struggled down the corridor to the exit with claire half hopping half trying to support herself on me because putting any weight on her foot was excruciatingly painful. 

so there you have it. two firsts. my first ride in an ambulance. and my first visit to an austrian hospital. quite an experience.

p.s. somehow i managed to be chosen as 'blog of the month' by ha. click here to see. hopefully i don't sound like too much of an idiot! welcome and hi to any new readers!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

awesome beef casserole

i made this on thursday for dinner... and we ate the other half on friday night. and i'm cooking it again tomorrow for kev's family. as you can tell, we rather liked it. mine doesn't quite look like the picture on the website or in the book.... but it tasted amazing!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


here are some random photos from my day yesterday. i had a lazy morning and then i went to meet a lovely lady who contacted me through an expat website. we went for tea and cake at café diglas (i had a chewy nut tart thing. was good) and then we wandered around the 1st district chatting. it was nice to have a chat and share my experiences of vienna with someone who is considering moving here.

and today i can't seem to get motivated to get out of bed or do anything. *sigh*

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

making new friends

i've had a quiet day at home today. our heating decided to pack up on friday and so i had to wait in for the plumber. but you know... plenty to do like pinning things on pinterest! i also made a roasted carrot and ginger soup.

i've been meeting a few new people recently which has been fun and lovely (if somewhat scary at the same time). a few weeks ago i went to an 'expat' get-together with marijana. it was called 'stylish after work drinks' which scared me before i'd even got there! and it was all rather scary. they handed us a complimentary glass of prosecco on arrival (which i immediately downed). it was a swanky modern bar and everyone appeared to be mingling (which i'm not very good at) but we joined a table and tried to make conversation. unfortunately at these things it appears the main topic of conversation is always 'so what do you do' or 'what line of work are you in'? but considering 1) i don't currently have a job and 2) i hate talking about work anyway... i don't really seem to fit in! i considered making up a fake life but thought i might get into a spot of bother as i'm not very good at lying. there was one guy who was schmoozing the ladies and when we got up to leave he handed me and marijana his card. seriously, i wish i could take a picture of the card to show you but its got his name and address on it and so it would be rather unfair. but basically it says 'secret' 'für frauen' (for women) and 'klassische massage' (which i'm sure you can figure out what that means)! we couldn't stop laughing.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

nothing like good food to raise the spirits

after the failed cookies, i attempted some more cooking for dinner.... but luckily this was more successful.
MOROCCAN MEATBALLS!!!! with herb couscous (although story of my life i couldn't find couscous at the local supermarket so we had to have bulgar wheat which for some bizarre reason went stodgy even though i followed the packet instructions exactly). anyway...
as you may have guessed, i love food and food makes me happy. and this dish on friday certainly made me very happy.
it really is so delicious and so easy to make. i used this recipe.

bad day

friday was a bad day. not really bad... like nothing terrible happened but i felt pretty crap. i got turned down for another job (working in an english speaking call centre - seriously) and it somehow just knocked me a bit. my confidence is low... and my frustration is rising. i keep trying to tell myself to not let it bother me... to enjoy all this amazing time i have to myself... but on friday it wasn't working.
i decided to bake cookies for something to do but i couldn't even get that right. i couldn't find muscovado sugar in the shops so i thought i'd wing it and substitute it with another kind of brown looking sugar. it didn't work... and somehow the failed cookies (no photos, they were terrible) reduced me to tears.
ah well. something will come up, right?

p.s. these photos were taken on my way to the shops. i found another building covered in amazing red leaves. and the colour of the berries was so vibrant.

Friday, October 15, 2010


more food. ha.
kantine is in the museumsquartier... and we went there for lunch last friday and soaked up some of the october sun. i'm guessing the outside seating area will be put away very soon until next year as its getting pretty nippy (i was really cold last night in the apartment with the heating on and its not even that cold yet! i'm a little scared about winter. wish we still had our open fire from our flat back in brighton).
anyway, i've been to kantine before... mainly to drink beer... but this time we ate and it was really good.
julia had a big hearty bowl of carrot and ginger soup which smelt lovely (and has now been added to my list of things i'd like to make).
sharron and i both had the halloumi and roasted vegetable pitta which had a really good yogurty dressing on it. would definitely go back for that again.
here is my half eaten one!
afterwards we went on a tram ride around the ring. was fun! (although we didn't really know where we were going. we just got on the number 1 and hoped for the best! luckily we ended up at prater. got off and got on another 1 back to where we started).
right, thinking about food has reminded me that we don't have i'd better get dressed and get to the supermarket.
oh, but before i leave here is a picture of my friends at the museumsquartier...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

lemon drizzle birthday cake!

it was julia's birthday on friday and i baked a lemon drizzle cake from this simple and great recipe.
it was pretty good (even though i still don't know how to replace self-raising flour which doesn't seem to exist here) and i forgot about it because i was too busy chatting to sharron! (luckily everyone seemed to like the crispy outside).

p.s. amazing sharron and julia brought with them lots of goodies from home including cans of strongbow, heinz tomato soup, walkers salt & vinegar crisps (only one bag left already. how did that happen?), and whole nut diary milk (which we just scoffed). YAY. we love you!

fun in grinzing (and a not so good italian)

on saturday the four of us got the bus to grinzing with the intention of just stopping off for lunch (we were hungry!) and then getting back on the bus to complete the journey up to kahlenberg. however, we got drinking sturm... and kinda didn't make it to kahlenberg! ah well.
it was the first time kev and i had made it to grinzing even though its really not that far away. i looked up a heuriger (traditional austrian wine tavern) in our guide book, but failed to notice that it didn't open until 3.30pm. oohps. anyway, it didn't matter because directly opposite was a nice brewery/restaurant (called grinzinger bräu according to the sign in my picture) with seating outside in the lovely sunshine. and the sturm was gooooood (its quite sweet for me but somehow very addictive).
i had a delicious meat and cheese board...
sharron had a cheese board....
and kev and julia both had the rocket pesto pasta (which i tried and it was yummy!)...
once the sun went down behind the houses and it had passed 3.30pm we decided to check out the heuriger (called reinprecht) that we intended to go to first.... which was all of about 30 steps away!
its a huge heuriger in a 300 year old former monastery. it looked like a great place. i'm guessing in the summer it probably gets really busy and touristy but i bet its really fun (its open until midnight). the wine was nice and the traditional buffet looked awesome (loads of choice although we didn't get to try it). and they had a HUGE collection of corkscrews!

in hindsight we probably should have just stayed there.... because our evening meal turned into a bit of a disaster! we were looking for a good vegetarian friendly place for dinner, somewhere relaxed (we didn't want anything too fancy) and not too far away. the few places we tried were fully booked so we took a wander through forth district and ended up at an italian called da gino e maria. i don't want to be mean but our meal was pretty terrible and the atmosphere in there was bizarre! it was a saturday night and you could probably hear a pin drop even though there were many diners. the couple running the restaurant appeared friendly enough... but the food for me really wasn't up to scratch. sharron's spaghetti pomodoro was tasteless and had about 5 bits of chopped tomato in it, julia's tortellini looked out of a packet and my lasagne tasted like a microwave meal (sorry gino if i'm wrong... but i can make lasagne a million times better myself). they had a hilarious old skool dessert trolley they wheeled around the restaurant. oh and my plate was chipped and my wine glass had bright red lipstick all around the rim (which wasn't mine). anyway, i can safely say i won't be returning! if nothing else, the experience certainly made us laugh. i only wish i'd taken some pictures!

oh and i forgot to tell you i lost the lens cap to our camera on saturday at the U-bahn station when i accidentally knocked it off and it rolled (almost in slow motion) along the platform and off the edge onto the tracks. i thought about trying to catch it but had visions of me sliding onto the tracks myself and i hardly thought the risk was worth it!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

is this art?

our friends sharron and julia arrived last week and stayed with us for 5 nights... so i've been a little quiet on the blog. we've been doing lots (so i've lots to tell you about) although, thinking about it we've mostly been drinking beer.

it was their last day here yesterday and so we decided to get up early and go to see some modern art at the MUMOK (the modern art museum) at the museumsquartier. unfortunately the museum is currently undergoing some renovations (until later in october 2010 i think) but we still got to see three floors.
i really enjoyed it. some of the art i liked... and some of it i thought was well, ridiculous (but highly amusing). it certainly made me wish i hadn't taken art so seriously as a student (and i know julia thought the same). now i'm not about to start a huge debate about 'what is art?' but when someone puts a sheet of clear perspex on the wall or sticks up some old cardboard boxes it does get me wondering. oh and there was one piece called 'brick' which was basically a brick in a clear box. anyway, we had fun and i'd like to go back again when the renovations are complete (although maybe not with kev, he would hate it!).

after some yummy lunch and some beers at the naschmarkt deli (i know, i really should try somewhere new!) we ended up walking through stadtpark and heading towards the innere stadt. it was a really beautiful sunny day.
we went for a beer stop at the kleines café on franziskanerplatz (which is a pretty picturesque square in the city). i really liked the look of this café. it was really busy inside so we sat outside (and got a little chilly) but it'll be good to return and find a little cosy corner now the weather is changing.
we decided that sharron and julia couldn't leave vienna without visiting a typical viennese coffeehouse to sample the cake and so we headed close by to café diglas.
(not sure why they had random things hanging from the chandeliers?)

it was also a first visit for me but it had been recommended several times (i had read that it was badger's favourite in the city) and i wasn't disappointed. look at the cakes! (it also happens to now be smoke free. bonus).
mine was the massive cream slice with loads of fresh cream goodness. it was amazing!