Wednesday, September 29, 2010

On with the show.

I had this idea yesterday that I'd post a few pics and do some sort of update about what's been going on over the last few days,  but I guess I got sidetracked (and winded)  by the broken down elevator.
Plus I was in a bit of a sour mood,  and nobody really wants to hear me bitch and moan.

 I've also come to the uneasy realisation that I'm running out of zippy titles for each entry.   Today's entry is actually number 300,  but I'm going to try and resist the temptation to simply start using some sort of numerical system.

I mean, how much would it suck to tell everyone you went to P.S. #38 when you were a kid?  Couldn't the New Yorkers come up with a couple names?  Even though we might confuse General Brock High School with Brock University,  or Ryerson P.S. with Ryerson Poly-technical,  at least there's a name in there somewhere.

Concerning the elevator,  it still wasn't functioning by some point in the early evening.   Some time after five I was aware of my neighbour puffing his way up the stairs,  but then at some point around seven or so I heard it working.   Go figure.   They said it was to be fixed yesterday,  they just didn't say when.
 Good thing too,  since it's a tough slog for Travelling Companion to come up six flights,  what with her knee bones pretty much rubbing against each other.  One thing we always make sure to have on hand is plenty of Tylenol®.

We sort of left off at the Volksoper on Monday night,  and what happened after that is kinda blurry.
There was some hopping on and hopping off in there as well.
You may have to review.

 Tuesday night Travelling Companion was off to first Germany (Düsseldorf)  where she was picked up and driven on to Hengelo in the Netherlands,  stayed over night,  flew the next day from Düsseldorf to Vejle by way of Billund (Denmark in case you lost track)  and then returned to Vienna Friday night by way of Frankfurt.
 I'm not drawing any maps.    She had to do some sort of financial hocus pocus. (OK,  Balance Sheet reviews)
 I chose not to tell her about the out of order elevator until we were in the hallway down stairs late Friday night.  Just one of those things best kept to oneself.
Our guests had meanwhile been off touring this and that over those few days.  I did manage to get reservations at Plachutta for Saturday night,  and made sure the understanding was that we wanted to be in the non-smoking section.   Had to sort out a bit of a miscommunication the last time we were there.   (their smoking section is pretty ghastly) They still can't spell my last name right,  but as long as there was a table waiting,  it doesn't really matter.
Strange thing is,  they're starting to get to know us,  or at least recognise us.  I never thought that would happen in a city like Vienna,  but Travelling Companion has been there six times,  and I've been there three.  That's in the span of roughly six months.  I could be off on the number of times,  since I've sort of lost count.
She was back there again Monday night with a work associate who had come down from the UK.  I only volunteered to chauffeur.  Something to do with parking and Austria's very low tolerance for alcohol consumption and driving.

In Delden we became regulars at Het Witte Paard,  but Delden is kind of a small place,  and if you found a decent place to eat,  that's where you'd head off to,  if that was your plan for the evening.

I'm pretty easy to please.
Give me a decent meal,  don't rip me off,  come to the table once in a while,  and don't blow smoke in my face.
I'll be back.
It's that simple really.
 One of the things that I should mention that our two crazy Canucks went to visit on Friday was an underground lake that's about 15 kilometres south of Vienna.
In all my digging through web pages about Wienerland,  I hadn't come across this place yet.  It sounded like it was a little bit freaky,  since (and pardon me while I repeat this)  it's an underground lake.
That link takes you to the English page,  but there's also a wiki write up about it here .  There's a bit of an intriguing history there too....
There was some nasty business going on there in 1945 with forced labour,  which is only really hinted at in some of the articles about Hinterbrühl
I'll let you investigate that if you so choose.   Not so sure we'll ever be going there,  since hanging around underground isn't really one of my preferred pass times,  especially if it involves also being in a boat.
Maybe I just have too vivid an imagination.

Sunday we thought we'd drag our visitors off to church,  and went to the Augustinerkirche,  where we've been on several occasions.   Doesn't matter if you're catholic or not,  since they usually have a choir and orchestra,  and even if it were only the organ,  it would still be worth the visit.
The weather was not the best,  so we went with the car and I dropped everyone off in front of the Church so we could be sure and actually get seats.  We've learned the hard way, it's best to get there early.  I probably should have just come right back up Mariahilfer and put the car in the garage and jumped on the U-Bahn,  since the parking garage ended up costing me €12.

Plus I wasted all that time driving around the first district thinking I'd find a spot.

Again.  Idiot.

So between €5 for the collection,  another €15 in the "donation"  basket for the orchestra,  along with €3,50 to light some candles,  (and let's not forget parking!) our "free"  Sunday morning concert was kinda pricey.

Oh well.

Good thing we didn't go out for brunch.

And now for some random photos from after the service.

 Our visitors took the train yesterday to Salzburg,  and today they went on some sort of "Sound of Music"  tour,  which mean getting up early again.
I know they wanted to squeeze in a whack of stuff while they were here,  but Muggins here would be getting mighty tired of being on the go day after day.   I'm thinking they'll need a vacation after their vacation.  Maybe they'll get to sleep in on Saturday morning after they come back to Wienerland?
  That'll be their last chance,  since it's off to the airport on Sunday.

Then that's it!  No more visitors until we go home for Christmas!

I'll try not to count the days.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Climbing them stairs.

What was I saying about "the good life"?  
That'll teach me for being thankful.

I mean,  it's OK really.   But I do wish the elevator wouldn't crap out on the order of about once a month.  I know it worked fine there for most of the summer,  but it always seems to happen when we have guests that the damned thing decides to take a little rest.

Yesterday,  without trying too hard at all,  and even with some careful planning,  I had to climb the stairs six times. 

We're on the sixth floor.

That's 36 floors. 

I'm just saying.

I don't even mind climbing the stairs two or three times,  but I'd prefer to have a choice.

 Thankfully all the luggage was already taken up before the thing crapped out,  but our guests were off today to Salzburg for three days and had to bring their two smaller bags down the six flights.
 I do need to go out for a couple things,  and although it is supposed to be "fixed today",  it certainly wasn't when I went out with Travelling Companion this morning,  and I'm almost reluctant to find out if the Landlord is as good as their word.  (doubtful)
I'd just as soon not make that discovery, which would only be one more Austrian disappointment.  I was almost going to make a phone call yesterday,  and even though I do know how to chew someone out in German,  I'd just as soon not blow a gasket over some piece of junk that should be sold for scrap metal.   I mean really,  it's just some poor sap who is stuck with the nasty job of answering the phone when all the tenants call to bitch and complain.  I just figured I wasn't going to add my voice this time around.
 By the way,  if you look closely at that sign,  you'll notice someone added the word "wieder"  to the sign.   So now it doesn't just say "Elevator out of order",  but "again"  has been added.  Someone was in a bad mood.  Any guesses who that might have been?  I'm not admitting anything.  You can draw your own conclusions.  I do own a black marker though.

I'll fill in a few blanks here later for those who give a rat's tiny behind.


Keep your hands where I can see 'em.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Good Life.

I have to admit,  without really trying too hard,  we've been able to see a few things here in Wienerland that pretty much sum up the entire experience.

 Ahem.   Let's list them,  shall we?

Spanishe Hofreitschule

(on several occasions.  Concert,  buggy ride,  zoo....)

The State Opera

(twice,  once for Madame Butterfly and then for a Mozart Concert)

The Musikverein

(a Mozart Concert,  but I seem to think we went twice,  but my memory is dim)

....and then Monday night to the Volksoper to see
"Die Fledermaus".

Great fun,  even though it's in German (well,  Austrian German)  and a little hard to understand,  it was a blast.
Became abundantly clear why they started at 7:00 p.m. since the thing is in three acts,  and I was starting to zone out just ever so slightly by the third act.   No Wagner for me,  thanks.

Very hard to take photos in an opera house,  so that was just about the best I could muster.   The Volksoper  (or people's opera)  isn't quite as fancy as the State Opera,  but the performance was every bit as good.
I did not have any problems whatsoever with having relative pitch.

It can be a blessing or a curse.   It just depends.   There have been times when I've wished to be completely tone deaf.

Don't you just love all these links I'm putting in??

I even think at one point in time when the orchestra was still playing the overture I muttered under my breath,  "Man they're tight!"

It goes without saying that there have been a host of concerts we've attended at various churches around town,  but they're too numerous to mention.  Sorry.

  Our current guests are once again out and about seeing all the sights that we'll get around to seeing if we're here long enough,  but since they're doing the "touristy thing",  and they have the energy,  they're out there.    I quite enjoy getting the reports back at the end of the day,  since they bought tickets for the Hop on Hop off bus lines with which you can go all over the city...
 And I just realised that I can't seem to find a decent link,  since what I didn't know was,  with certain packages,  you have a choice of three different buses you can hop onto (or off of I suppose)  all three of which I've seen milling about in the city here and there.    I didn't realise they were all from the same company.   Our visitors got some sort of two day deal,  and today is day two.

 Since I have the car today (and for the rest of the week)  I volunteered to take them down to the main starting point this morning,  which just so happens to be the State Opera.  It's all fine and dandy to know the subway system and find one's way around,  but now and again getting chauffeured by car gives one a better sense of just where everything is.

 Turns out taking the car could very well have been fraught with frustration,  since it so happens that it's "International Car Free day"
or some such fresh air,  and at some point in time the Ring was going to be closed off to vehicular traffic.

 I guess they didn't think it would be all that wise to extend that concept all the way up Mariahilfer Strasse,  (since the cars tend to bring the shoppers)  as I can see and hear the usual chaos if I stick my head out the window.

There's talk of making Mariahilfer Strasse into a pedestrian zone,  but that's just as half baked as the car free day idea.  It's a great notion,  but totally impractical.   I'm presently the only one in this household who is willing to take my life in my hands and ride a bike in Vienna,  but just the same, I'd just as soon be in the car,  since using a bike as transportation is also fraught with half baked Viennese traffic management.  I don't want to get off on a rant here about a room full of monkeys,   since I know it would only go from bad to worse.  Suffice to say,  there's room for improvement.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

More guests tomorrow.

First of all,  I'd like to very quietly point out that Vienna airport on a Friday night is pretty much a nut house.

OK,  maybe not as bad as this....

or even this...

...but I did have to wait in the car just to get to the parking garage.  Not sure where everyone was going in the arrivals area,  since I thought only the cabbies were complete idiots,    but there were cars trying to squeeze into places where there normally shouldn't be any problem.   Mind you,  I complain under my breath every time I go to that airport,  since I figure they should just start a new one out in the field somewhere and tear that abomination down.  They've been renovating it for a couple years now,  and every so often there's a new revelation in the papers about how they're over budget and how all the planners should pretty much be send to some distant land far,  far away.   (OK,  I'm making up that last part,  but I think you can sense my scorn)

I just remind myself that it's close.   Not like the Netherlands (two hours)  or Puerto Rico (two and a half hours!)  Did that trip 18 times.   I ain't kiddin'.

 So the fifth and final call of the evening was the one I received while standing at my usual spot in the arrivals area,  letting me know that Travelling Companion was on the big white bus.   (again,  "no jet way for you!")

She's safely back home,  and presently out on Mariahilfer shopping for  doodads ....or something.   I don't know,  I wasn't really paying attention. 
 My focus has been on getting to which ever grocery store is necessary to make sure the larder is well stocked for the next set of guests.

Hopefully we'll be OK until Sunday night.   (I'm kidding,  really)

 But never hurts to cover all the bases.   Beer is in the other room.

And yes,  I did buy food.

  Could really use a second fridge.  Actually,  just a decent sized fridge would probably do the trick.  Usually it's just the two of us,  so there's very little point in getting a beer fridge for upstairs.   Better not think about that too much. 

 I also had a mild brain fart yesterday and thought I'd change around one of the bedrooms.
  Meh,  something to do.

Since these final guests of the season are two sisters,  who very likely would prefer not to be sleeping in the same bed,  I figured the bed could go up against the wall and provide so much more space.   I mean,  my God!  There's a whole extra metre there!

Wow,  really going to town on that decorating theme there,  aren't we?   Bare white walls with nothing on them.   Could be something you'd see in the Guggenheim,  now that I think of it.

Just maybe need a big pile of rags in the corner.  Or some big blobs of red wax.

Can't get a bigger image than that,  sorry.

 (saw this last weekend.   It was bizarre,  and also strangely mesmerizing.)

That's actually a huge room.  The cannon is as tall as you get the idea.

Since I couldn't very well leave well enough alone,  I figured another couple changes would add some excitement.
 Oh,  and if you squint really hard,  you can see the edge of an actual painting over there on the right. 
That's the extent of our decorating endeavours.

Hope everyone has a fine weekend.

 Keep those sticks on the ice.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Two phone calls*.

It's the usual Friday here in Wienerland,  with the exception that Travelling Companion is in Serbia.
 Friday's usually involve a certain amount of mucking about with the changing of the sheets, (done)  perhaps some dry cleaning to pick-up (done)  along with the usual grocery shop,  which today included a trip to the Naschmarkt to pick up some salmon for dinner.
 (done and done)
  Even filled up the car and got it washed.  Checked the oil and everything.  It's a diesel,  they tend to use a bit of oil.   This I know.

 In amongst this came the first phone call.   "I'm at the gate".

This is good,  since then I can do the mental countdown and know that I can leave at a certain time for the retrieval from the airport.  In this case around 6:00 p.m.

 Then came the second phone call.   (never a good sign)   "The flight has been cancelled".

 Wait a minute.   Wasn't the last piece of info "I'm at the gate"?
 Do I need to drive to Belgrade?   Cr*p!  I hope not.   It's seven freakin' hours!   I could get there by midnight I suppose.
 Hm....driving through Hungary and then into Serbia after dark.   Not sure about that.

I'm still of the opinion they need one of these......

 But hey,  what do I know?   Maybe there's some other mystery airline that flies from Belgrade to Vienna?

Stay tuned.

*Make that three.   Just an hour's delay is all.

*Wait. Make that four.

And now for the quote of the day:

"We're getting on the oldest plane I've ever seen in my life".



Thursday, September 16, 2010

The power of the Schwarz.

Sorry.   Can't help myself.

Travelling Companion came home with this bag yesterday after work,  containing a tiny bottle of water,  along with some political cr*p,  and I just find it hilarious.
 This was being handed out on the Gürtel on her way to work.  Most of the time it's a free newspaper.  As long as they're not looking for a handout,  like in Puerto Rico,  then it's all good.
It seems one of their main opponents is represented by red or something or other,  and they figure that black is the way to go.   It's the ÖVP,  which is the Austrian People's Party.   Not sure of their particular take on things, and you're certainly welcome to read the bla bla if you click the link.   Right wing nut jobs I'm thinking.   OK,  maybe just right wing.  The only bit of info they had in their little bag of tricks was basically a heavy handed view of all the road construction that went on in the city over the summer.
Not sure of any city on the planet that doesn't have some construction in the summer,  and when there's an economic belt tightening,  it's quite common for governments to spend money they don't have on infrastructure.
Apparently we're once again due for some more elections.  I swear they vote on something or other just about every year around here.   

Other than that I got nothin'.

Took Travelling Companion to the airport this morning at some ungodly hour.   I seem to recall waking up at around 4:20 and lying there waiting for the alarm to go off ten minutes later.  Her flight to Serbia was at 6:50.


 (I'm surprised I'm still awake)

 I guess if we were on the ball on one of these occasions we could put in a call to British Colombia or some such thing.  It would have been what?  7:30 or so last night there?  Timing those types of phone calls can be a challenge.

Not very chatty at that time of the morning however.

 This is how I (unfortunately)  spend a certain amount of my time.
  Getting ready for more guests.

 I had this notion to turn this bed completely around from the way it was,  but when I got about half way,  I had this idea to simply shove it against the wall,  since only one person is going to be using this one on this occasion.   After that,  we're done with guests for the foreseeable future.   Our flight for the trip home is already booked in December, and that will be the first time in many a month that we'll get to see any "kin folk".

May the Schwarz be with you.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Off to Spain!

OK I'll admit,  that sounds pretty damned pretentious,  but I never in my life would have thought I'd ever say such a thing. 
So just cut me a little slack.
 The thing is,  Travelling Companion had to be in Bilbao,  Spain at some point to do some sort of financial thing-ma-bob,  and we figured we'd go together and make a weekend of it.
I have photographic proof.  Well,  I suppose if you've been following along up to this point,  you'd realise I don't exactly make this stuff up.
 As you well know,  in spite of her having flown off to such exotic locations as Serbia and Romania,  I've been quite content to be left behind *sniff*,  so this was my turn to go along for the ride.
And if you don't recognise my particular brand of sarcasm by now,  you need to turn off your computer.

 Fortunately for us,  since we both have learned over the years how to travel "light",  we didn't have to check any luggage on the way,  since it turns out this mob scene in front of the terminal was all about checking in luggage.
It didn't take too long to determine that we didn't need to be there,  and we headed for the gate.

One of the slight disadvantages of not booking ones own ticket (this was a business trip after all)  is that there are sometimes these little surprises that come to light along the way.  The first leg of our flight over to Bilbao was on Fly Niki.
I'm not going to get into just who Niki Lauda is,  but flyniki is a discount airline based here in Austria that is only ever so slightly better than one such as Ryanair.
Can't say I would recommend Fly Niki all that much. Unless of course you're about five feet tall and weigh about 90 pounds, since any average sized person is going to find it very cramped.  Very cramped.
 Did I say very cramped?
 Thankfully,  we were on an Airbus A something or other,  and there was proper ventilation.  That made it at least bearable.  Plus they fire a sandwich in your general direction at some point along the way.  I thought I'd have to pay,  and even had some money out,  'cause I was getting a tad hungry,  but it was free.

 That came as a surprise.

 Now,  the other thing that happens with the discount airlines,  apart from that mob scene above,  since all the discount airlines get relegated to another terminal,   is that you also have the pleasure of being herded out to the tarmac on the big white bus.  Sorry,  no jet way for you!
I should admit that the "good news" about that part of the deal is that they then at least open up the rear doors of the plane and anyone who is sitting at the back then gets on by way of the back stairway.   We were back in the 20s somewhere.

First leg of the journey was to La Palma,  Mallorca.  

That was one of our first glimpses of Mallorca.

La Palma reminded my a bit of Puerto Rico,  except that it was pretty evident that a large portion of their economy was due to the flow of tourists that head there.
Nice roads,  buildings etc.

You'll also notice by the colour of that paint on the plane there,  that the second leg of the journey was with Air Berlin.
I had always thought of Air Berlin as being a discount airline,  so I was surprised that there was a good inch and half of extra leg room!   We were as giddy as school kids!  I was actually comfortable!

No food though.


Bilbao is situated in a valley in what might be considered the foothills of the Pyrenees
(and I know the geography "experts"  are going to disagree with me),  and they've had to put the airport over in the next  valley,   but thankfully all the roads in the area are of the modern four lane type,  with a handy dandy tunnel to get you into town.     I did take a drive on Monday on what would have been the "old way" to get from the airport to Bilbao,  and that was interesting to say the least. 
Gearing down and copious braking.  That's all I'm going to say.

We were still a few miles out on our descent at this point.

Did the touristy thing on Sunday,  with a visit to the Guggenheim,

  and then on out to check out the Viscaya Bridge.

 I'm putting in all these links just to cut down on my own verbal diarrhoea,  so you can go off and read to your hearts content.

No problems to speak of.   Rented a little BMW of some sort,  which was adequate.  Also helps to be able to drive standard,  and be able to start on a hill.   Many hills.
 The only slight annoyance that I had was trying to get to the underground parking for the hotel,  which due to the one way streets was just about impossible,  so I'd simply end up double parking and bringing the key to one of the folks at the desk.  There was no expectation that any foreigner to Bilbao would be able to master that one,  and I wasn't willing to put in the training.
 The only other issue that I could possibly mention would be one of language.   I don't mean Spanish.   It comes back.  Road signs and all that basic stuff are a piece of cake after a year in Puerto Rico.   I'm talking about the other "official"  language,  Basque. 


I foolishly thought it went back to some sort of Arabic root,  but it turns out that even the experts don't really know where the heck this language comes from.   So,  road signs are in Spanish,  Basque,  and then maybe English.    Too much information!    It took considerable practise for me to read a sign and be able to ignore the Basque,  since if I didn't,  then no information got processed in my pea brain at all.  
Thankfully one of the pleasant surprises was that whoever booked the car,  thought to reserve a GPS.   Nice touch,  and greatly appreciated,  trust me.

Time isn't on my side at the moment,  so I'll stop boring you now.   Have to go get dinner ready.  

Always nice to be "back home". 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Back to School.

Yesterday was the first day of school for the good folks across the pond.  The kids here have been back for a few days already.   That whole "Labour Day Weekend"  thing is pretty much unheard of around these parts.  I'm not sure of the exact day when the kids went back,  but it was some time back at the end of August.
I wasn't really paying much attention,  since it's not really a significant day for me,  and neither is the first Tuesday in September any more.  It's a rather strange sensation,  but yesterday was actually the third "first day of school"  that I've missed,  ever since I strolled out of my former school back in May of 2008.
That first day of school was one on which the care-taking staff (um...that would be me)  got to find out just how "ready" you really were.  Was the place safe?  Had there been a party in the school yard over the weekend with smashed beer bottles or graffiti?   Did someone's dog leave a little present for you?

Best to get there early,  and hope it doesn't rain.

  If enough effort and planning had been put in over the preceding days and weeks,  the first several days of school were for the most part a rather calm lull after the previous summer storm.
This was in sharp contrast to the academic staff,  who were once again faced with a new crop of snotty nosed little buggers they had bit farewell to just a scant couple months earlier.

And to all of them I say,  "Good luck with that".

The reason I thought I'd mention these trivial little matters,  is that I happened to see this article in one of the local rags here yesterday.

They're basically talking about my former occupation,  and I rather like the way they've decided to do a little profile on one of the local caretakers from around here.  I don't seem to recall any of the local rags from around where I worked ever stopping by a school to do a profile on any of the Janitorial staff from our Board.  I'm sure I could come up with a host of reasons,  but I'll let you sort that one out for yourself.

I'm certainly not going to translate the article for you,  but suffice to say that this guy does exactly the same job we used to do in our schools over the summer,  which involved basically cleaning the place from top to bottom.   There are really only two slight exceptions.
First of all,  his school was built in 1888.  Do we have any schools that old?  None come to mind in our district.
Not only that,  but by now some really really clever provincial politician has made sure they were all torn down.

That link represents some further reading if you're at all interested,  and while I certainly wouldn't want to mention any names,  I'll just throw in a picture for you.

  Secondly,  since 1984,  he and his wife have lived in the school.   Not the politician*,  the Custodian.   But that does give one ideas,  doesn't it?

 Sure must cut down on his overhead,  but to live there?
Not really sure about that arrangement,  since where I come from,  it wasn't such a good idea to live too close to your school.

It's not like anyone is going to show up on the weekend and want to be let in,  since buildings on this part of the globe are locked up like Fort Knox pretty much all the time.

 I'm just thinking of stories here of Caretakers living too close to their respective schools,  and teachers actually having the Gaul to come to their house,  (empty handed,  I might add) wanting to be then let in to their school evenings and weekends.   Can you imagine?    And no,  there wasn't even any offer of cash.

I feel a rant coming on here,  so I'd better stop.

Plus,  while I'll admit that I may have ruffled a couple feathers by putting up a picture of one of our most beloved politicians in Ontario's history,  this is

after all

my blog.

So bite me.

*go to google,  type in "in praise of",  and that guy's name,  and let me know how you make out.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Kids are gone and there's gonna be laundry.

Which isn't really that much of a consideration,  except that we don't have a dryer,  so it means prolonging the agony over a number of days. 
Here they are again,  about to embark on yet another form of public transportation.
 You might notice that the sky isn't all that bright,  since it's only around six in the morning at this point.  At least the traffic is no problem at that time in the morning.
The effort to smile for the camera is quite commendable.
 Judging by the British Airways website,  they had a rather long day of it,  and I haven't heard back the latest yet,  since it's still early on the holiday Monday in Canader, but I'm sure everyone is still out cold.
 They flew by way of Heathrow,  which meant a layover of what was supposed to be something like six hours.   I think it was after four when they left England.  Not sure of the exact time.  Doesn't matter.  Long day.
So once again it's the sailing analogy,  with a long period of sheer boredom in between the next activity.  My travelling and companion and I head to Spain on Saturday,  so that should break it up a tad. 
Other than that,  there's sweet bugger all going on.   It's once again Profit Plan season so the next couple months will be quite busy for the working person. 

For my part,  I'll just try to keep from going bonkers.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I'm not talking about the religious kind,  so don't even think about it.   You'll figure it out in due time.
 As some of you may know,  we have guests.
 Oh,  and here's a twist,  it's been less than a week since my last confession er,  blog post.  OK,  gotta stop with the religious references.
 Part of the reason for having a chance to do a blog post,  is due to that fact that our present group of guests left this morning for Prague.
 That's right.  Last week it was Slovenia,  this week Prague.
Seems there are a few old buildings up there they wanted to visit.

Hey,  whatever.

Remember this place?

We met up with them there on the weekend.   Turns out I was pretty lucky to even get rooms,  since there was some conference or other that was going on in Bled.

Took me a couple minutes there to find it, but it was the Bled Strategic Forum.
No clue what went on.
Your guess is a good as mine.
This would explain why rooms at the "Villa Bled"  were gone some time back in July.  It all makes sense now!  It wasn't because I was procrastinating! Really!

I ended up doing a search for Colin Powell,  since one of our guests spotted him in the company of a couple rather large goons when out on a brief shopping expedition.   Travelling Companion and I chose to remain behind at a cafe and sip a couple cups of coffee,  so we missed out on seeing him.

  I'm crushed.

  "Down town"  Bled can be rather hilly,  and somebody's knees were already on fire from the day's walking up to that point.

The thing that came to mind in light of just who had turned up for this conference was the fact that the security seemed to be a little on the lax side,  well except for the above mentioned goons.  Then of course,  if one really thinks about it,  geography lessons being what they are in "Terrorist Camp",  actually finding Slovenia is pretty much an impossibility.
 I imagine the conversation going something like this:

"Hey Achmed!  I hear Colin Powell will be in Slovenia!   We should blow him up.   That infidel!"
 "Right Mustafah!  I'll book my flight for Bratislava right away!"

See?  There you go.

 Perfectly safe.

Now speaking of Bratislava,  (wow,  what a segue,  eh?)  we were supposed to go there this week.   Yesterday,  to be exact.   This is still a bit of a touchy subject for me,  and I'm not going elaborate too terribly much,  so as not to put too much emphasis on just how utterly ....stupid I can be.   I was going to put in a bad word or two there,  but I'll leave that up to you.

 We quite literally missed the boat.

Yup.   Bonehead here got the times mixed up. 


 On a positive note,   the weather was really,  really crappy.   Raining and blowing like mad all day long.  So maybe it wasn't such a good day to go down the Danube by boat to Bratislava and back?   That's my story anyway.  Other than that,  I'm not talking about it.

 For this very reason,  I made sure I had photographic proof that our guests made it to their train on time this morning. 

Please note the current time,  and the time the train (the "Gustav Klimt") is due to arrive.

Not being one to leave anything to chance.   Here they are actually getting on.

(hey,  I'm still annoyed about the whole missing the boat thing yesterday,  OK?)

The joys of public transit.  Apparently they will leave without you.

You may now talk amongst yourselves.