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Roman Cavalry displace their skills at Carnuntum – A day amongst the Romans (Part 2)

The four riders wonderfully brought Roman Cavalry history to life, providing the crowd with an excellent display during the recent Roman Fest at Carnuntum Archaeological Park.


Carnuntum which is situated next to the Danube River, about 30mins drive from central Vienna, was a Roman Provincial Capital and today visitors can experience the feel of Roman life by spending time exploring a set of wonderfully reconstructed buildings. Images of the site on a normal visitor day can be seen here and here.

A few images from the Cavalry display:



































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Filed under Activities for kids, Austrian History, Festivals, History, Out and about in Lower Austria, Uncategorized, Vienna Life

Will the 304th Vienna derby have been important? Well……

Tomorrow (Sunday 17th Feb 2013) I will join other Austria Wien fans in cheering the team as we start the Spring season (following the traditional winter break). Like most of the Veilchen, I’m still on a high from seeing the Violets crowned ‘Winter Kings’ – first in the league, 7 points ahead of nearest rivals Salzburg, and with a 10 point lead over Rapid Wien. The computer has ordained that we will kick-off the second half of our 2012-13 campaign with the chance to win our third Vienna derby of the season.

The story so far:

3rd round of the season                 –             Rapid 0:3 Austria

4th round of season                        –             Salzburg 0:2 Rapid

9th round of the season                 –            Austria 0:1 Salzburg

12th round of the season              –           Austria 2:0 Rapid

13th round of the season               –            Rapid 2:0 Salzburg

18th round of the season              –           Salzburg 0:0 Austria

Top of Premiership Table

  1. Austria 48pts
  2. Salzburg 41pts
  3. Rapid 38pts
  4. Sturm Graz 35pts

The results may have gone our way in the two derby matches so far but we haven’t beaten our nearest rivals Salzburg who have themselves succumbed twice to Rapid. The point is that neither the derby clashes nor the games against Salzburg have played a decisive role in the story of the first half of the season. Austria gained there lead through consistency of performance week in week out. With the squad still intact after the close of the transfer window and in fact enhanced by the re-signing of Nacer Barazite (returning after a year way at Monaco), all the signs point to an equally strong Spring campaign.

So what of the derby tomorrow? Well it’s always important to every fan no matter where the two teams are in the league. It however looks unlikely to have any impact on the final positions at the end of the season. Does this mean I will be relaxed tomorrow? That I don’t care about the derby result? Of course not! If, as I hope, we win the match I’ll be ecstatic. If the unthinkable happens I’ll be as miserable as sin. But no matter what, the result will not determine the destiny of the two teams for the rest of the season.

Rapid are on a run of seven games without a win against Austria. I suspect that run won’t end tomorrow afternoon. If we get off to a good start it could be another 0:3 win but a win by one goal is more likely…….but then the real fun of football is that every game is different and derby games are particularly unpredictable 🙂

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The view above the Christmas market crowd

The Christmas market at Vienna’s Rathaus Platz is always worth a visit or two, especially if you have the children with you.

Instead of posting pictures of all the market stalls, I thought I’d go for some shots of the market from a different view:





Okay, here’s a few market stall pic’s as well:








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Magnificent entertainment in the hunchback world

On the last Sunday in May we headed south of Vienna into a region in the State of Lower Austria known as the hunchback world. Nestled within this rather beautiful hill country is the small town of Bad Schönau, our destination for a day of wonderful entertainment.

The purpose of our trip was to take H and her friend to the Fabelhaft – a festival of storytelling through words, mime, puppetry, music and magic. What I had expected to be a fun day for the kids turned out to be marvellous entertainment for ‘children’ from 4 to 104!

My personal favourite was the feet puppetry of Laura Kibel from Italy:

I’ve posted a selection of pictures from her performance here

While they loved the feet puppetry, the girls couldn’t stop laughing at the silent comedy of the KGB Clowns from Russia. Their performance captured the audience who were drawn deeper and deeper into the crazy world created by two artists who had no need for words.

A selection of shots from their performance can be seen here

Other acts (amongst others) on the day included these wooden puppets….

…musical entertainment……


….and magic…..

In addition to the festival, I was also rather taken by the village of Bad Schönau and the surrounding area…

As we sat drinking coffee in the sun, outside a local restaurant, the quiet of the Sunday morning was broken by the sounds of the village band playing as people came out from a church gathering:

The local church itself sits on a small hill dominating and defining its environment:

Walking through the fields near the village we came across this tiny chapel:

From the chapel we entered a small coppice and through the trees could be seen a local castle nestling on yet another hillside:


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Filed under Activities for kids, Art, Festivals, Live performances, Out and about in Lower Austria, Theatre, Uncategorized, Vienna Life

Support for a new Party?

Interesting poll here in Die Presse suggests that around 18% of Austrians would vote for a new Party if one was formed. Given the current corruption scandals, engulfing most of the main political parties, it’s a little surprising that this figure isn’t higher. Previous survey’s have indicated that the level of support would be highest for a new centre party at about 20% but that either a ‘business party’ or ‘left party’ might attract up to 15%.

The headline figures put the far-right FPÖ back down to 25%, neck and neck with the conservative ÖVP on 24%. The centre-left SPÖ has a clear 5 point lead on 30%.

The article highlights that most Austrians would prefer to see the existing parties sort themselves out. This in itself suggests an opportunity for one or more to grab a dominant position if they could successfully refresh their policies and image. To date none have had much success in doing so.

The re-launched ÖVP’s attempts to project a more modern liberal image have been hampered by some sections of the party talking about forming a government coalition with the far-right FPÖ after the next election, as well as appearing at times to be only interested defending the interests of the top earning 5%. Their biggest problem, however, remains that they are the party that is being most damaged by the scandals of the past. On this last point, the one glimmer of light comes in some survey’s I’ve seen that indicate that the party leader has improving trust ratings. However, after appointing a new leader and re-launching earlier this year the ÖVP remains stuck in the opinion polls, draws in support mainly from only a few of the Austrian states and primarily from rural areas.

Attempts by the far-right FPÖ to present itself as a party capable of governing continue to be derailed, partly by its inherent nature and also as a result of various of its members being allegedly involved in a number of the headline hitting scandals. The BZÖ (the more ‘moderate’ of the two far right parties) has been even more engulfed in the scandals of the last government and its attempt to project itself as a economically liberal/socially conservative party has not stopped more than half its support switching to the FPÖ since the last election.

Austria’s Greens have not had any bounce from the events in Japan but instead their poll ratings have, since the last election, made a moderate but steady improvement with the party scoring between 13% and 15% (up from a little over 10% at the last general election). The party appears to have most appeal amongst middle class liberal and left voters. Arguably, given the disenchantment with the ruling coalition of Social Democrats (SPÖ) and conservatives (ÖVP) it should be doing better. As yet it doesn’t appear to have found a formula for reaching more of the liberal supporters of these parties, without facing difficulties with its core Green support and activists.

The SPÖ have been scoring 27% to 30% for much of the year in the polls, this puts them at around the same level of support as they achieved in the last general election (a little over 29%). In State elections over the last few years however their vote has generally been down and in Vienna (where they lost their majority in the parliament) they noticeably lost votes to the FPÖ in traditional SPÖ strongholds, but did take control of districts previously lead by other parties. The SPÖ strategy for some years seems to have been to defend its core vote and no longer seek to build a coalition of voters that would take it back up into the high 30’s/low 40’s. This approach could continue to give it first or second place in Austrian politics but also relies on the FPÖ (main threat to its core vote) continuing to defeat itself and the Greens or a new party not finding a way to take a big chunk of its progressive vote.

So there we have it, Austrian politics. A big prize potentially awaiting the brave but with all the players stuck in their ghettoes, defending what they have and trying to clean-up the mess that comes from stagnating politics. Of course these are not just the conditions from which the brave can rise (or be dragged down) but alas they are also fertile grounds for a charismatic
popularist – though luckily these days’ Austrian politics doesn’t have a Haider.

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Water, sand and dragon boats – Vienna in June

A few images of life around the waterways of Vienna and Lower Austria in June:

The beach at Tel Aviv bar and other venues along the Donau canal…..

Swimming in Lower Austria….

Dragon boat racing in the Alte Donau ……


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Filed under Danube Canal, Environment, Out and about in Lower Austria, The odd thought or observation, Uncategorized, Vienna Life, Wine, Beer & Food

Do all speakers have a core ability to use grammatical cues?

Interesting study by academics at Northumbria University which challenges assumption that all native speakers have a core ability to use grammatical cues:

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