The Journey to Vienna Has Begun

I’m probably approaching 50 lifetime trips to/from Vienna. Amazingly I’ve never experienced any serious travel disturbances. About the worst that has happened so far is that I got into Syracuse at 2:45am instead of 10pm back when I was in college.

So maybe I’m due for some travel insanity. I just got on a New York Trailways bus heading to New York City. By the time this gets there around 1:30 a blizzard is supposed to have reached the city.

While the Austrian Airlines plane that I plan to take to Vienna is supposed to land at JFK around this time and will probably have no trouble doing so, the challenge is going to be dealing with the four-hours-worth of snow that will fall before the scheduled return trip to Vienna.

I plan on getting to the airport around 2:30pm. Hopefully I’ll be able to get out before the snow becomes overwhelming.

Lost in Translation Series: The Actual Information

Actual Information.jpgSpotted on a board at the Wien-Speising station of the Vienna S-Bahn that informs riders of service changes.

The text reads:

Dear Passengers,
Planning your travel please consider the actual information.

The actual is probably the result of a bad attempt by the ÖBB (which runs the S-Bahn) to translate aktuell, which means current. However, interestingly, the German version of the message doesn’t use that word.

I am happy to report, however, that, unlike last year, I didn’t see any signs by the Wiener Linien wishing everyone a “Happy New Jear” this New Year’s.

Handbills Banned on One Side of Mariahilfer Straße

Handbills on a street in MiamiDucking from and slipping on handbills is going to be a thing of the past on one side of Mariahilfer Straße, Vienna’s busiest shopping street. Why only one side? Because the street forms the border between two of Vienna’s districts, and only one of these has banned their distribution.
Mariahilf, Vienna’s 6th District, run by the Social Democratic Party, recently decided on this ban, to be enforced after a couple “information days.” Neubau, Vienna’s 7th District, run by the Green Alternative, has not voted on such a ban. Seeing that it’s the Green Party, however, it’s doubtful that handbills won’t also be banned on their side of the street soon, as otherwise it would be twice as littered as it is now.
I don’t really know why I mentioned this, but it seems like a humorous case of inner-Vienna politics. Additionally, I really hate handbills… Intensely. Especially on Saturdays, it’s impossible to walk down Mariahilfer Straße without having arms fly at you from every angle with some dumb handbills (often given out in sets of two or more so the distributor gets done quicker) advertising some junk you’re not interested in. I’m pretty sure around 15 percent of the flyers end up in the nearest trashcan, and all but one percent or so of the remainder end up on the street. The end result is a scene like the one in the random photo of a street in Miami that I have attached to this entry (I couldn’t find one depicting the situation on Mariahilfer Straße).
Image Credit:

  1. “Image:Flyers sobe 2.jpg”. Author: Wikipedia user Ld. Modified by Wikipedia user ArtMechanic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts.

Vienna is Slowly Cooling Down

As a part of my annual whining about how air-conditioning is nearly non-existant in Austria, I’d like to present you with the following facts:
The first air-conditioned subway cars in New York City began operation in 1967. The Vienna subway opened twelve years later, in 1979, and none of its brand-new cars were air-conditioned. In 1987 the next generation of subway cars were rolled out (they look almost identical to the first ones), but these weren’t air-conditioned either. Finally in 2000 a prototype of the third generation was rolled out, and it’s air-conditioned. It won’t be until late this year before more of these start rolling out, however.
So Vienna is 33 years behind in subway car technology, at least concerning air-conditioning. I can recommend the Austrian Federal Railways’ S45 line though, as it seems to now be run with brand new air-conditioned trains, as I experienced last night:


Inside a Talent Train on the S45 in Vienna