Goodbye winter, Grüß di spring!*

As the days grow longer, blossom appears on the trees and the sunny spells become more regular, the whole city seems to be emerging from the winter and ,Winterschlaf’, or hibernation – literally ‘winter sleep’ (German is cute like that). I too feel like I’m emerging from my cave (metaphor – my flat is actually quite…

Do you hear the pupils sing?

In the last fortnight my routine has been turned completely upside down: lessons cancelled so I can do students’ make-up, twelve hour days at school, evenings spent mouthing in German and building barricades… The reason: students in one of my schools staging an ambitious run of Les Misérables, featuring eight performances in six days. In Austria, drama generally…

Faschingszeit, Fastenzeit (in which I get into a great new ‘habit’…)

(English translation below) Am Dienstag den 17. Februar war Fasching, den traditionellen Festtag,  den am Vorabend vom Beginn der Fastenzeit in deutschsprachigen Ländern gefeiert wird – da ist Wien natürlich keine Ausnahme. Schon eine Woche vor dem Faschingstag erschienen Plakaten in den Straßen, Süßigkeiten in den Läden, und vor allem Krapfen, eine Art Berliner, in…

Vivent les vacances!

It’s been a fortnight since I got a week’s holiday  – courtesy of the Austrian school system which runs on two semesters -and the break is already becoming a distant memory. But with Easter far on the horizon, exams looming for my final year students and no sign of temperatures in Vienna rising any time soon, it’s nice to…

Das andere Wien (the other Vienna)

(Photos + English translation/summary below) Nach zwei Wochen zu Hause bin ich am 6. Jänner nach Wien zurückgeflogen, um mit dem Unterricht wieder am 7. anzufangen. England als ,Touristin’ zu besuchen war ein bissel komisch, obwohl es natürlich schön war, meine Freunde und Familie wiederzusehen und von den britischen Weihnachtstraditionen zu profitieren, die mir in Österreich gefehlt hatten…

Crowds, cold and Krampas (it’s christmas market season)

Since mid-November Weihnachtsmärkte or Adventsmärkte, these have been popping up all over the city over the last few weeks in some of the city’s most stunning locations… This means it is now impossible (for me) to walk across the city centre without stopping off for some ‘gebratene Mandeln’ (roasted almonds, i.e. heaven in a paper bag)…

A jolly to Bavaria

It turns out the British concept of a ‘bank holiday Monday’ doesn’t really translate into other cultures… In Austria, when a public holiday falls at the weekend, you just ‘lose’ it. This means that, despite there being several public holidays since my arrival here, I haven’t felt the benefit of them, unless you count extended museum opening. This…