Thursday, October 27, 2011

A National Holiday.

Unbeknownst to almost anyone outside Austria’s borders,  yesterday was a special day in these parts.

October 26th is Austria’s Independence Day,  since it was one day after the last of the allied troops left Austria after a ten year occupation. 

I’m not going to bore you with any lengthy history lessons, but I might have to add in a couple words, to sort of put it into perspective.

Vienna was divvied up between the Russians,  The Brits,  The French,  and the Americans.    There are those of a certain age (like my former German teacher)  who are quite mindful of just how fortunate they were to keep the Russians out of the picture.  It could have gone either way.  The only way that the Russians were going to relinquish control was if Austria declared themselves to be “Neutral” in all future international endeavours.   Kind of like what the Swiss had been doing for centuries.

(This is where I’m going to get up on my soap box for just a minute)

If more nations had remained “neutral”  back at the turn of the LAST century,  history would have played itself out in a completely different way.  

Think about it,  some nut job (a Serbian,  go figure.)  assassinated two people,  and an entire world war broke out.   All because the countries were all “aligned”  with each other,  and if one country went to war,  well then so do did everyone else.  All Hell broke loose.   It was more complicated than that,  I know.  You’re welcome to read the article if you click on the link.  Have fun.

I was just recently reading an article in “Legion” magazine,  where they said something like 30,000 soldiers were getting killed every hour in the battle of The Somme.  A million lives were lost between August of 1914 and the fall of 1916.

While we have every reason to be upset when soldiers come home in coffins from places like Iran,  Afghanistan or any other of those shit holes,  it pales in comparison.

I know,  that was more than a “few words”.  I’ll get down off my soap box now.


Last year on Independence Day,  Travelling Companion and I did go down to Heldenplatz (literally “hero’s square”) and nose around a little.   She wanted to see a tank.  Who am I to argue?   The only thing was,  as far as this year was concerned,  they figured there would be around a million people hanging about in those parts.   Did I think I wanted to go down there yesterday in the rain?   Um, no.

That whole area is typically overrun with tourists at the best of times,  so when the tourists are actually outnumbered by a factor a couple thousand,  I have even less interest in satisfying any remote thoughts of curiosity.


Besides that,  Travelling Companion is in Romania.  

What?  You say?    Well, she’s been putting off going to Romania since back in the summer time,  since there were just too many other issues that got in the way.  Our trip back home in August was one of them.   She has to do some sort of financial hokus-pokus.  Possibly something called a “Balance Sheet Review”,  but I didn’t even ask. 

This isn’t the first time that she’s made arrangements to visit some far off land when it’s been a holiday in these parts.  I think she was in the UK back in June,  and it was “Corpus Christi”.   I’ve given up being annoyed about this kind of thing. 

The good news is,  getting to the airport on a National Holliday is easy-peasy,  since the only folks who are out and about at nine in the morning are only out for some exercise.   With the exception of the coffee shops and some gas stations,  everything else is closed.   There was some traffic on the way to the airport,  but not much to speak of.



This is the view yesterday morning at around 10:00 a.m.,  coming up what is normally one of the busiest streets in all of Austria.  Mariahilferstrasse. 

This is a rare sight.  Trust me.


We’ve had these thoughts of driving to Romania one of these days,  since some of Travelling Companion’s associates are just itching to show us around.  I’m sure there are some beautiful sights in Romania.  Just don’t run over the old lady out walking her cow into town.  

I’ve never been overly keen on driving to Romania,  but they say if you go by way of Hungary, (and there’s really not any other way from here…)  you only have to subject yourself to the roads in Romania for a short ways.  Judging by the looks of the map,  maybe an hour. 

I mean,  we did drive to Bonn,  and that was about eight hours,  but just about all of that is on the Autobahn.  That makes a huge difference.    Normally,  T.C. would fly to Bonn,  and the flight is about an hour and a half.  Something like that.  

Getting to Baia Mare in Romania by air is a bit more of a challenge.   You either have to go to Bucharest,  and hope to catch the flight to Baia Mare,  or fly to Cluj Napoca and get picked up.    This time around,  flights got changed for whatever reason,  and she had to first go to Bucharest and then to Cluj,  after which it’s a two hour drive to Baia Mare.   Turns out they were working on the road somewhere there in Transylvania,  and it took even longer than two hours.

So get this,  we walked out our front door here at about 8:50 a.m.,  to head off to the airport.   She called to say she was finally in her hotel room last night at six p.m.    That’s what?  Nine hours?  And we could drive it in about seven?

Maybe when the weather is heaps better.   I’ll take pictures.   I promise.


I should add to that (just for fun) that last year some time,   a couple of the higher mucky mucks were on this side of the pond from the Company that Cannot be Named with one of their two corporate jets,  and Travelling Companion managed to hitch a ride from Baia Mare directly back to Vienna.   Total travel time?  35 minutes.   It took me longer to drive from our apartment to the airport to pick her up.  I was late.  Sucks to be late I know,  but it would have been nice to have a sporting chance.


I just realised I’ve touched on some of these issues in the past, but it’s fun to reminisce,  isn’t it?


Have a fine day,  and thanks for stopping by.





  1. hope you have a fine day too! as for the Autobahn?..wouldn't that sort of be like flying anyway?..the speed limits and all?

  2. ...or lack thereof? Yes, if you're willing to concentrate, there are some sections with no speed limits. But it takes more concentration than I'm willing to muster to be able to cruise at more than 200 kph for any length of time.

  3. Hmmm...9 hours versus 35 minutes, which would I pick? Too bad T.C. couldn't have manage another corporate jet to get her there. Our British friends that got us into this motorhoming business travelled through Romania in a motorhome quite a number of years ago and said that they loved it there. We may have to check it out some time in the future.

    Kevin and Ruth

  4. You wouldn't find me trying to look at a tank with those hoards of people. No way. Montana used to have no speed limit when I was learning to drive. I think I'm lucky I lived through those driving years.


Well, I've been getting too many spam comments showing up. Just a drag, so we'll go another route and hope that helps. So, we won't be hearing anything more from Mr. Nony Moose.
I guess I'll just have to do without that Gucci purse.