Have I mentioned that I absolutely hate train rides? (Unless it’s the Orient Express, Royal Scotsman or the Blue Train!) I do, I absolutely do. I don’t know whether this is another German “red flag” like thebehated post office or whether it’s a general thing. After all, it’s been many, many years I took the train in Austria. Why I hate it so much? It annoys me no end. The waiting, the passengers, and especially the mask wearing. One hour to go to Dusseldorf airportfor my Bristol trip was bad, nearly three hours to get to Hamburg is close to unbearable. Those poor people who have to wear masks day in, day out. I’d get crazy and would be in a crappy mood all the time.

Well, yeah, even though I’m on my way to Hamburg for the first part of my vacation, my mood is – not yet – the best. The weather is typically autumn, as in, rain, rain, rain and I’m so incredibly bored despite being equipped with my MacBook, iPad and iPhone, Mick Finlay’s second Arrowood mystery and two crunchy muesli bars to tide me over. (Which I have already devoured in place of the breakfast I would have liked to enjoy instead!) Yearning to arrive in Hamburg, check into my hotel – gee, they will kick me out again, if I arrive at 9:30 am to demand my room – and finally hunt down a coffee shop for a much-deserved Latte Macchiato. I guess – being the seasoned traveller that I am – I will be able to leave my luggage at the hotel to fully enjoy my firstsightseeing day.

But until then, I still have to endure an hour on the train. We have just passed through Bremen (beautiful memories of my trips with my special friend) and I’m devoting a few minutes to some scribbling before I’m getting bored again and either switch to magazine browsing on my iPad, what’s apping with my friends or reading another chapter. (How weird is that? At home I can read for hours … on the train it bores me. And it’s not as if it weren’t a thrilling book! What a strange creature I am!)

Looking at the countryside? Well, it’s flat! Not very thrilling!

Why am I on the train when I hate it so much? Believe me, Rangey would have loved to go to Hamburg, being parked in the luxurious Atlantic garage. But, well, considering that the one day parking fee is nearly as much as I’m paying for my train ride, both ways, (by choosing very wisely the cheaper connections at awful times) I decided to bite the bullet and suffer silently. (Or more or less silently, since YOU have to suffer with me by reading my train lament!)

Yippie, only 45 more minutes to go. I should survive that! And since I don’t have a clue what else to write about … I’ll stop this boring account now! Cheerio!

P.S.: By the way, once again I was proved right! On my way back after my Hamburg stay the train was 40 minutes delayed. Due to repairs a replacement was announced – but only several minutes after it was cancelled and I was hurrying to the travel center to get information on the next available train. Well, after 40 minutes it finally arrived and we all got in waiting for our departure. Just to be told that they didn’t know when the train would be able to depart … but that we could take another train going in the same direction. (With five minutes to go to get to the other platform … bloody brilliant!) I decided to risk it and with one hour delayed departure was finally on my way to Hannover. Where another 45 minutes of waiting would await me. All in all it took me over 5 hours to get home instead of 3 …



Gone! Gone for 13 years! It seems like forever I last saw my father in hospital, one hour after he died. His soft skin, wispy hair, thin frame eaten up by the cancer. His calm face, almost smiling. Even then you could still see the little boy in him. The little rascal. With this sunny face, broad smile. And always up to joking around. No matter our ages. He always had my back. I miss him so incredibly much. I miss not being able to talk to him, joke with him, getting his advice. I miss sitting on the carpet in front of the couch in his little study, watching TV together. I miss discussing all kinds of things with him, his advice, I miss his humour and occasional silliness. I miss the hugs. I miss being a child, a daughter. I miss his home improvement skills, not having to worry who would install my new lamp or book shelf. I miss the feeling of just calling my parents, knowing they are there. I miss the feeling of having a home to return to no matter what.

Sometimes I get so incredibly envious of others who still have their loved ones. Who meet up for Sunday dinner at home, being spoilt as parents and grandparents tend to do with their children and grandchildren no matter what age. And I miss all this so very much. Knowing, that in the end I’m completely alone here in Germany.

This year I will be in Austria for his death anniversary. Unfortunately, not in Carinthia, where my parents’ urns are buried, but in Styria. But they won’t mind if I light candles at their parents’ graves instead, not to forget our beloved Aunt Do. I always go there, when I’m back. And it’s another reason I want to return home as soon as possible. To be able to go there more often. Be closer to them all, even though they all are constantly in my thoughts and especially in my dreams. Seeing them again, healthy, being able to talk to them, laugh with them, hug them.

I know I’m still lucky to have so many wonderful memories of my parents. And the more time passes, the more the beautiful memories prevail and the bad ones during their sickness vanish. They suffered so much, both of them. It was difficult to watch and sometimes one didn’t know what to do, how to help. The daily calls were an ordeal as much as a lovely habit. Dreading whether there was bad news again, happy, when everything was the same or a bit better.

When I think of him I always see him smiling. I think of everyday life as a child, when he came home from work – in those days suit and tie were mandatory – or when I picked him up from work. I see Mum and me waiting at the kitchen window, looking down from the 8th floor to watch out for him returning from one of his business trips. I remember working on photo albums or his stamp collection on the living room dining table. I remember our weekend apartment in the mountains where we had to collect wood and chop it up, with BBQs all the time and the place where my first mouse Speedy was interred in the woods. In a Zauner Stollen wood box. (And I guess I would still find the place!) I remember vacations, the trips to Styria or Vienna. I remember the many dinner and playtime invitations from my dad’s colleagues and families, and the many dinners we gave at home in return. I remember my student years when my Dad used to stay at my place and my Mum with my aunt and uncle due to too little space. I remember attending the ceramics graduate colloquium together, me as the student, him as the graduate, meeting our small ceramics community and feeling home amongst them. I remember his love for classical music – Mozart, Beethoven, Smetana, Schubert, Bach, … – but he absolutely disliked Wagner. I remember listening to operetta at home and still have the vinyl records, which I occasionally listen to. I remember … I remember so much. And I need to remember. I need to think of them! I must not forget! And maybe I should start writing it all down for real – even though after me there won’t be anyone interested in my scribblings. But who knows?

13 years, such a long time and still … the grief and pain is still here. And always will be.


Finally, finally, I’m going on vacation again! It seems like forever since my last trip – which, as you might remember, took me to beautiful Bristol to attend the CrimeFest. Well, one can’t really consider this a vacation, since apart from one and half days of shopping and sightseeing I was attending one panel after another. Just like work seminars. Just much much more fun and pleasure.

Anyway, hard to believe four months have passed since then and now it’s time for my yearly two-week vacation. Originally, I had planned to go on a Queen Mary II transatlantic cruise from New York to Hamburg again … but then decided at the beginning of this year with Covid still going strong and masks and testing still more or less mandatory that I didn’t want to do it. The trip is too expensive to not enjoy it fully and in a carefree way. Besides, with my hope to move back to Austria in the near future, a very expensive venture, I’m happy not to spend thousands of Euros for the cruise.

Well, with the cruise out of the picture I was wrecking my brain of other destinations to travel to without overtaxing my vacation savings account. And since my days here in Germany are coming to an end, I’ve decided to do some German sightseeing. I’ve been to Berlin and Munich (several times), Leipzig, Bremen, Lübeck, Münster, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Bonn, Ulm, Konstanz … but one magnificent city is still missing from my list. Hamburg. (Not counting the few hours I spent there when arriving from my first QM2 cruise, being driven from the port to the train station by bus to go back home.) I won’t be as close to Hamburg as I am now, so I just have to go there! So, the first part of my vacation will take me to Hamburg and a couple of weeks I was absolutely in the dark of what I would want to do and see there. Until … yes, until a historical book series by Boris Meyn gave me the necessary inspiration and my two days in Hamburg are now fully planned to discover the “past”. 

Then I was thinking, what else would I want to discover in Germany? Apart from the North Sea? I contemplated going on a day-trip to Weimar, just to realize that it’s a 3-hour-drive … and what was my way of thinking after that? Well, it’s basically on the way to Austria, so how about going to Austria for a long weekend (after all, it’s only 9 hours) and on the way back stop in Weimar for two nights. Which is only a 6-hour-drive from Austria. Peanuts. Why Weimar, you are asking me? Guys, GOETHE! Johann Wolfgang von Goethe! And Schiller. But mostly Goethe! Having written a thesis on Faust, Iphigenie and Torquato Tasso in my final year at school as part of my final exams, I have become to adore this great writer / poet / actor / director / lawyer / … And since he spent many years in Weimar, I just have to go there and imagine myself back into the 18th century. Finishing up my little road trip with the famous Wartburg castle, where Martin Luther did whatever he did there. I don’t have a clue, not being a Protestant, nor a Catholic anymore. I just know it’s famous and since it’s also on the way, I’ll just do it and will tell you more about it in one of my future vacation reports. (Well, of course, what were you thinking! After those dry spell months of nothing to write about and using up my backup pieces, I have to draw out my vacation accounts at least a little!)

Just to give you another glimpse into my life … two weeks ago I started to lock myself in, hardly meeting any people for fear of Covid re-infection (paranoid me). My wardrobe is planned, I have my packing lists and daily schedules, everything is booked (has been for some months), the boxes to be stored in Austria are packed, gifts for friends and family bought, my appointment at the hair dresser is fixed and a few new CDs have joined my collection especially for the long drive to Austria. So, I’m ready to go! And can’t wait!


Yep, I admit it. I don’t have a clue what to write about this week. Well, frankly, it’s been weeks since I’ve managed to write a whole piece. Sometimes I’m working on some of my half-finished ones, but mostly I’m living from previously finished articles which are my backup. And which are running low as well. Why? Why am I stuck? With no ideas what to write about? Well, there’s just not much going on in my life right now. Every day is the same with my beloved home office work and the weekends are not much different. Covid is still an issue, even though the media seems to have more or less forgotten about it. My next vacation is still weeks away (yippie, then I will finally have something to write about again) and my mind is occupied with my home country Austria.

I’m wrecking my brain … shall I write about my home office life? Been there, done that! About my cooking? Books? TV and movies? My cat? Yep, done too … Maybe I should start writing book reviews about the last books I read? Like “The victim” by G.D. Sanders, Heron Carvic’s “Miss Seeton”, Steven Brindle’s “Brunel: The man who built the world” or…? Nah, boring! I’m not good at writing book reviews anyway, getting hopelessly lost in details and confusing everyone in the process. What about politics? Gee, no, it would only want to make me scream and tear at my hair. Looking at the US with Trump still ruling the GOP and still not being thrown into prison for his crimes; looking at Russia and their despotic murderer who should be punished together with his gang of killers at the severest; looking at our own politicians which make me want to puke. Nah, I need to stop before I have to devour a whole box of chocolates – alcohol just isn’t my thing – to calm down. Or at least a cup of hot chocolate with melted mini marshmallows on top .

The inflation? Even worse! Because, who do we have to thank for this situation? This fricking mad ass again! And our stupid governments having made us dependent on one of the most untrustworthy countries. Genius! Now prices are rocketing sky high, which makes me so angry. Cause apart from the thousands of Euros I have to save up for my future move back to Austria, I have to deal with all the other costs rising and rising and rising. I’m truly grateful, though, for only being responsible for myself and my cat. Being able to live as frugally as possible with my used book orders being my only real vice.

Maybe I should treat myself to a coffee shop visit at least once a month? I don’t know why, but it is usually my inspiration and the words just seem to magically appear on the screen. 

Oh well, I hope I didn’t bore you endlessly with my senseless scribblings … I promise I will keep wrecking my brain for more interesting posts in the future. Toodle-oo!