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Yesterday, I spent a great day in the city of Linz. After walking around for most of day in very cold April weather (one of those days), I tagged along with my friend to the OK Kulturhaus in the city center for the opening of the six-day long film festival Crossing Europe.

Press accreditation and information room for guests

Most Austrians are familiar with the annual film festival Viennale. It draws a public from all around the world and goes on for one month. A smaller version of the Viennale, and perhaps a bit less known, is Crossing Europe.

(sponsored by Silhouette)

This year is the festival’s eighth year, but the genre stays the same, devoted to idiosyncratic, contemporary and socio-political auteur cinema from Europe.

Guests of the film industry (nearly 600 accredited festival participants) and the local cinema audience are able to choose from a program with 130 hand-picked films, documentaries and short films.

Linz views

The opening night was filled to the brim with the press, photographers and other guests, being welcomed to the program, the jury and the guest of honor, Austrian film producer gone Hollywood, Eric Pleskow. He is the former president of United Artists and Orion Pictures, and during the hight of his career the film One flew over the Cuckoo’s nest (1976) under the ownership of United Artists, won an Oscar.

Eric Pleskow (sitting) is greeted by a very (and I mean very) excited event organizer

Before the first screening of the festival, the co-organizer OK Kulturhaus invited guests to enjoy the traditional Austrian meal knödel and sauerkraut and a cold beer to splash it down.

It’s Thursday — hope the week is going well for everybody!

Often we head down to Naschmarkt in the evenings after work. It’s an open-air market where we usually food shop, and occasionally stop for a glass of wine. This being somewhat of a necessity after the 25-minute train-ride — yes, I’m being slightly facetious.

We live next door, which is not to say that the atmosphere has become dull and monotonous, rather that we find it comforting and nigh. It’s old-worldy, too! Check out the brass bar stool in the background below.

As we passed one of our favorite wine-vendors, the owner called to us to try a new wine!

This week he’s serving a fresh 2010 Grüner Veltliner — young and… — and we were more than delighted to be tasting it while hanging out in the evening sun!

The weather this weekend is supposed to be gorgeous in Vienna — high of 22° C — so there will be plenty of hangin’ around outdoors.

Despite the country’s financial hardship, Ireland’s capital seems to be abuzz, with a kind of spring in its step that you’d expect to find as winter comes to an end. And as we stepped off the plane and were greeted with friendly smiles, you would have hardly been able to guess that they’d just been the latest recipients in the sequence of EU bailouts, a result of a crippling economic collapse.

The streets were full of locals and tourists, out and about to experience the turn in weather – the sun was in and out, but the air was warm with the season. Speaking to locals however, one received a startling hint at what kind of shape the economy is in.

Despite any looming difficulties, the city was bustling, and our adventures throughout the city led to many treasures; cafés, bustling openair markets and funky interactions with locals. On Saturday night, we got ourselves together for one of the main reasons for the trip: the Ray Lamontagne concert at the Olympia Theatre! And, despite Ray’s generally melancholic disposition, the sound and music was phenomenal.

On Sunday, we rented a car and got out of the city, heading southwest. Highlights from more of the trip to come!

Are you as excited for the weekend as I am?

It’s been a long, rough week fending off the cold and flu that everybody else seems to have picked up, and has been incapacitated by for days on end. Well, so far we’re going strong and haven’t gotten any full-blown anything.  Sign of relief. If there are two thing I would prescribe to not get sick — which obviously isn’t the flu-shot — it’s vitamin C and good food.

Earlier this week we treated our selves to a meal out at one of our local Japanese restaurants — Tokori — located in Naschmarkt. Since the weather has turned harshly cold once again, the green tea and scalding Udon soup was particularly soothing.

Japanese food seems particular fresh, and clean, and therefore healthy. That’s the kind of food that will keep you well during the winter.

The restaurant itself is a small, self-standing structure, it’s outer walls almost completely windows, which gives the space a comfortably open air.  It was our first time to this particular spot, and honestly, I think the atmosphere probably enhances the taste of the food, which is to say it’s probably not the best Japanese food in the city.

I hope everybody has an enjoyable weekend!

I couldn’t help but share my delicious pre-dinner snack with you. Wasabröd, fresh goat cheese and avocado.

So good. There is nothing like quality food.

There aren’t many things better than a birthday brunch!

The atmosphere in this small breakfast joint, called as is in the title, can tend to be quite popular amongst students of industrial design, fashion and those taking interest in alternative lifestyles and sustainable choices. In fact, it reminds me of my hometown, Portland, Oregon, where a place like this is common place.

It’s not uncommon to show up and have to wait; it isn’t just that there are only nine two-person tables and two staff, but that they don’t take reservations, either. As problematic as this may seem, the wait is well worth it.

The menu offers a wide selection of funky versions of traditional breakfasts, including a selection of vegetarian choices.

This is by far one of my favorite little breakfast/brunch places in Vienna. What about you? What kind of atmosphere do you prefer?

This weekend we took the chance to spend some time in Vienna’s city center. The temperatures had dropped significantly (after warmer days), so after leaving the house, we were pretty quickly contemplating somewhere cozy to duck into.

The national library was the first thing that came to mind, but it was mysteriously ‘full’ (don’t ask), so we opted for a coffee. Just behind the Hofburg Palace in which the national library is housed, there are old royal greenhouses in which now exist a butterfly museum and a café, the Palmenhaus.

The atmosphere is welcoming and it turned out to be just the right temperature inside.

Well, we’ve made it to the end of a wonderful year; we are celebrating in Eastern Europe, in Slovakia! We woke up this morning to high winds and a beautiful snow cover.

Last night we had an enjoyable traditional Christmas Eve dinner – fish, potato salad, cabbage soup and salad with apple and roquefort, dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette – and each other’s company. We also had sparklers to welcome the festive time.

via

It has been really busy. It is Sunday evening and I am rather tired, so I won’t write much. But, I will share some photos with you from this weekend. We’ve had the first dusting of snow, been around good friends, eaten good food (leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner this past Thursday), visited the Swedish holiday bazaar and went to see the movie Gainsbourg (vie héroïque) at Votiv Kino.

It is still snowing lightly tonight. I hope you all had a good weekend, too!

I am at work today, but having to go home in a few hours to help prepare for our Thanksgiving dinner tonight. We are having friends over and last night we set the very long dinner table. How exciting!

This is another view from my work window, overlooking Vienna. I guess I am daydreaming here for a little while, thinking about what I am grateful for.

Have a delicious holiday!