Papal Bull

…in the unfortunate sense. CNN is reporting a general threat levied at anyone trying to ordain women to serve as priests.

You’d think that to counter-act the negative publicity from their sex abuse scandals recently they’d modernize their stance on this. I am, of course, in no way asserting that allowing the ordination of women would make up for the sex abuse that has occurred. I just think, in a PR/damage-control kind-of-way that allowing women priests would be a smart move; especially considering dwindling seminary enrollments and parish participation and all that.

But, Catholics among us, just out of curiosity — with what title would you address a female priest? “Mother So-and-so?” It feels little weird in my brain, but I guess I could get used to it. What’s the accepted abbreviation for that? I mean, corresponding to “Father” being abbreviated to “Fr.,” there’s probably a short form for “Mother.”

“Mr.?” Yikes.

Or can we just ask the Anglicans how they do it?

Welcome to Regensburg – have a beer!

We’re going to arrange a little get-together for the attendees (locals and out-of-towners) of the Regensburg Expat Meeting Weekend on the evening of June 20th. Here are a few suggestions for venues:

Bar & Café Schierstadt

View Larger Map

This is a nice place with good beer and indoor or outdoor seating. It’s never been overly loud, so it’s conducive to conversation.

Alte Linde

View Larger Map

A big, beautiful Biergarten with ample seating and Dom view. Kind of hard to miss as it’s in the middle of the bridge. Good Bavarian food, too, if you come hungry.


View Larger Map

Sorry, no link for this one. A nice, enclosed Biergarten on the Altstadt-side of the bridge. Spanish cuisine – in case you didn’t get that from the name.

Anyone who is interested in coming, please give me a heads-up and your preferred venue in the comments. All venues have an indoor option if the weather is not cooperative. After I get enough responses, we’ll settle on a place and time and I’ll e-mail my handy number to the attendees. Because it’s a Friday, I suggest we get started around 8. I know the baseball games go until later, but I don’t want to get shut out by a huge weekend bar crowd. If you want to stay for the later games, let me know and I’ll give out my handy so you can meet up with the group if we end up moving to another bar.

Hope to see you there!

Vienna City Flats — Praterstr. 78

The Joint

Praterstraße 78
1020 Leopoldstadt

web site


Sarah found this place for us online and she did a great job. It’s just a hop (no skip or jump required) to the Praterstern (a.k.a. Wien Nord) train station, which last time (Thanksgiving 2006) was merely a tram and subway stop. Now it’s a full-service train station. Simply put, the location of this apartment was an ideal compromise between accessibility and price. It was well-equipped, meeting all our basic requirements:

  • shower consisting of more than just a hose in the tub
  • generous kitchen with stove and fridge
  • accomodations for four

My only beef: they had one of those IKEA sofabed things that rolls out to unfold into a mattress, but it was either broken or we couldn’t figure out how to get it to remain a couch — it kept rolling itself out (good idea, bad implementation).

Nice touch: offering to let us stow the luggage at the apartment while it was being cleaned after our check-out until departing Vienna later that day. Could have saved us luggage lockers and airport/train station schlep and hassle.


I love the location of this place. Located right across the street from the spankin’ new Praterstern/Wien Nord U-bahn, tram and ÖBB station, it’s a great base of operations for getting out and searching Vienna. For our purposes, it was pretty well equipped and the landlord and administrator were easy to get a hold of for when we had questions. In light of what a generally nice apartment it was, the thing with the rolling couch was kind of disappointing.

The neighborhood that the apartment is in might be an issue for some people. It’s definitely not posh. It looks like there’s a good mix of native middle-class Viennese and immigrants. There were a few drunks and beggars wandering around (plus lots of drunks at the train station, but that’s kind of par for the course), but no more than would be expected for a major European city. There is easy access on foot to grocery stores, bakeries and pharmacies – plus the bonus of the nearby train station is that there is some shopping available on Sunday.

Hotel Lasserhof

The Joint

Lasserstrasse 47
Tel. +43-(0)662-873388
Fax +43-(0)662-8733886


I am pretty disappointed with the Lasserhof. Last time I stayed here, with buds Potter and Gabe, when we did the Sound of Music tour back in November 2005, we thought the place was great. This time, we got stuck in a poorly-lit room with its only openable window in the bathroom. It’s pretty easy to get to from the train station and the pricing was reasonable, but maybe next time we’ll spend a little more and get a better place (the NH, with their 14€ breakfast buffet and 24-hour Sound of Music channel, comes to mind). More disappointments from Sarah’s perspective below…


What the hell happened here? Cliff was nearly glowing in his review of this place from his first trip to Salzburg, so I was pretty excited about trying it out myself. The reservations staff was very helpful when I got conflicting information about availability back in February during the trip-planning stages. Check-in was a breeze, but after that things started to go wrong. The minifridges in the rooms weren’t actually cold, and yes, we did check to see if they were plugged in. What’s more, the TV in my parents’ room had a bad picture and the volume was unchangeable. And then the window issue in our room made it muggy and stifling. Plus, the guy at the desk gave my dad a hard time about getting a spare key for his room, however, I think this guy was just having a bad day, because he ALSO tried to give my parents’ room to some other guests. I managed to get the issue cleared up, but he wasn’t real pleasant about it. The breakfast was pretty adequate and other than the keymaster, the staff was very helpful and accomodating, but the cons outweigh the pros, so I don’t think we’ll be going back.

couple more pics and tips from the Austrian Odyssey

Susie, annoyed... Po on the train
Here are a couple more. We got back into town last night and were exhausted. Taking the plane back to Nuremberg and train from there to Regensburg cost us a little less in terms of money, but not much in terms of time, and probably exact the same amount of effort. The extra steps of U-Bahn, DB, along with the typical airport stuff at both ends really eats up any time advantage you might think you’re getting by flying.

On a gastrointestinal note: I’m feeling better. Visited the doctor this morning (nice of them to squeeze me in without an appointment) and he prescribed some pills, but I suspect I am/was already on the road to recovery. I still get winded by our staircase more than I’ve come to expect, but my appetite’s returning, which is good.

Other good things to know, or things we maybe should have remembered:

  • Luggage lockers are out of service at Landstraße / Wien Mitte while it’s under construction! This totally goofed up our slick plan of attack for checking out of the apartment and spending a luggage-free afternoon bopping around Vienna.
  • Vienna is a dirty place. I don’t mean sexually or corruption-wise; I mean street filth. At least compared to places in Germany we’ve visited. More like London, I guess, though at least the Brits could blame it on the IRA.
  • Don’t forget that Vienna International Airport’s Terminal 1A sucks. Too many people, not enough chairs for waiting around in. Oops, forgot that from last time.
  • the Café Leopold in the Leopold Museum is a pretty hip joint — much hipper than you’d expect. Sure the requisite retirees were there, but the staff, muzak, and menu selections were very groovy. We’d go back there for a meal independent of the museum visit any time. Here’s a sample of what they were playing:


  • Read up on coffee varieties available in Vienna before you go — especially if you’re taking first-timers with you. The selection and terminology can be daunting and if you just sit down and ask for a coffee, you get the smile and nod and whatever they decide you probably meant. It’s in no way condescending (except perhaps at the Café Central), but you’re denying yourself the variety that way.
  • Don’t forget: you can’t buy a BayernTicket at the Nuremberg Airport. You either have to have bought it in advance (perhaps even well in advance) or suck it up and pay for an U-Bahn ticket to get from the airport to the Hauptbahnhof. We forgot this from last time, too.

just in time for a little Nachtmusik

Thanks for all the well-wishing after the last post. I’m feeling better today and may even attempt a Viennese Verlängerten and a pastry or two!

Yesterday, after wimping out on Schönbrunn, I displayed my gumption and attended a concert of Strauss and Mozart stuff with the peeps at the Kursalon about five minutes away from our rental apartment by taxi. I was exhausted by the end, but glad I stuck it out. It was fun! There was a good mix of well-recognized favorites and stuff that was new to me. I probably could have done without the singing and dancing numbers, but the rest of the crowd seemed to enjoy them.

I didn’t take any pictures, because I didn’t bring my camera with me. I thought for sure that they’d have made me check it at the coat check (you know, recording performances and all) but the management gave their blessing on photography during the applause, which surprised me somewhat. Here are some remaining pictures from Salzburg instead:

Below the fortress, behind the cathedral Looking down from the fortress Po in the Mirabell Gardens ahh, the magic...

not quite bed-ridden in Vienna

I’m writing this from our neato rental apartment (complete with free WLAN) in Vienna while Po and Susie and Sarah are out exploring the Schönbrunn Palace and museum complex. I tried to go with them, but the sad fact of the matter is that I have been nearly incapacitated since the night of our arrival in Salzburg three nights ago. I don’t know what I picked up or where, but this has been nasty. I’ll spare you the details; they’re pretty disgusting (even for me). There have been a couple factors at work here: our itinerary, weekend Apotheke hours, and my own stubborn belief that I’m slowly getting better (and I really am, but you’d need the details to be sure).

So, on the one hand, I’m disappointed that I am missing out on some of the stuff that I said I’d do next time (like Schönbrunn) but on the other hand I guess I’m glad I’m not missing out on a completely new city if I’m stuck here in the apartment being sick. If I had a third hand, I’d be glad on it that none of the rest of our party appears to have contracted whatever I did.

I’m back from Iasi

It was a good trip — we got some important stuff done, planning some short-term projects to get us over the hump we’re expecting in the coming months. It was nice to get to know my team’s local boss better, show my own boss around town a bit, and get to see Iasi what Iasi is like outside of extreme weather conditions — I’ve been during the hot spells and one of the few snowstorms in recent memory.

lunch breakApparently the food delivery service they used to use in Iasi in lieu of a canteen has started to declie in service but rise in price, so they go out for lunch much more often now. Here we are at Alila for pizza. It was pretty good!

container buildingWhat struck me on this visit (number 6 or 7 since November 2006…I’ve lost count) the most were are all the changes since July 2007. My team has moved to another building completely — one that took less than two months to construct. It’s made out of old shipping containers that have been hitched together. It sounded pretty terrible to me when they described it, but the interior is a completely modern and well-equipped office building.

Iasi office park When I first started visiting Iasi, all purchasing stuff was happening in the main building — with the goofy architecture. Then my department moved to the building on the right for a while, and since August last year, they’ve been in the one on the left. And the whole location is pretty much out of space at the moment. They’re looking for a new home in another part of town that will allow them to effective double their current head-count by this time next year.

Piaţa UniriiIt’s not just the office that’s changing though — the rest of the town appears to be in an upswing as well. We spotted a Mercedes-Benz Taxi, halied him and arranged for him to pick up my boss early Wednesday morning for an airport trip. He had good results, so I called an reserved a trip with him as well. This seems be the entreprenurial spirit that probably was lacking under the communist regime.