You can also view a slide show of Dr. Cottons's trip here.

Vienna Journal

Arrival in Frankfurt and train to Stuttgart:

 We arrived in Frankfurt at 1130 and after gathering our bags which the airline wouldn’t let us carry on(limit was 8 kilos weight), we changed money and found the train station in the airport terminal. There we purchased all our train tickets for the visit. Very civilized, all right there at the airport. We were able to leave directly from the airport to Stuttgart. My quest was to visit a showroom for a catamaran sailboat that has inflatable hulls and can be packaged in three bags. First we went to our hotel and then called Eduard Maynard whom I had contacted about seeing the boat. Eduard works in the software industry but sells these boats on the side. He is Ukrain but now lives in Stuttgart. The boats are built in the Ukrain and he is thus connected with the company. His showroom is set up in the office area of some of his Ukrain colleagues.

 He had a Ducky 19 set up leaning against the wall in a room that barely fit the boat when he let it down. It looked huge in that small room. I knew the 19 was too big for my intended use as it is too wide when assembled for legal trailer hauling and besides it is is too heavy for one person or even two to manhandle easily. We then partially assembled the Ducky 17. It also looked quite large in that small room. The boat is very well constructed with aircraft type aluminum tubing and tough looking floats and trampolines. All marine hardware is made of quality materials. It would be challenging to assemble the first time alone. But I did learn that I could keep the main platform including trampolines assembled which could then be easily out on a trailer or even a auto roof top. Likewise I could keep the mast fully assembled which together would reduce the setup time including electric pumping of floats to around 20-30 minutes. It all looked like a good option to sailing without having a mooring and requiring storage of another trailer and boat. So I am considering this as a future means of sailing that will permit transport to a variety of lakes including those in Arizona and even the Gulf of California or even Florida.
 After Eduard dropped us off at our hotel Vollie and I walked into a yuppy neighborhood where we found a vegetarian restaurant and had dinner. We then returned to the hotel where we had a nights rest after our overnight plane ride. Unfortunately I awoke about 01000 and couldn’t get to sleep until about 0400. I then slept through my alarm but Vollie woke me up.



Day 1-12 March.
 We began the day with a hearty German style hotel breakfast. We then took a taxi to the train station.
  At 1000 we took the train to Vienna via Munich. It was good I decided to have a one hour time between trains at Munich as the train was delayed enroute by about 40 minutes. We had a long fast walk but otherwise made the connection fine. The trains are smooth riding, quite and so much more civilized than riding in an airplane, at least for economy. Lots of leg room, you can get up and walk about easily, and look out the window and see the countryside. The train took around 7 hours. There was snow on the ground most of the way and at times we got hazy views of the Alps.

 We arrived in Vienna shortly before 1800 and were met by my host Professor Hans Puxbaum. He took us on the subway to our hotel where after checking in we did the town on foot. Our first stop, which Bill would love, was a wine shop where we did some local wine tasting. We then walked the streets and ended up in an upscale restaurant where Vollie and I had fish and soup, and shared a bottle of wine. The food was quite good. Walking the streets was a bit challenging as it was quite windy and the temperatures hovered around 32F with snow spitting out of the sky.

Day 2-13 March

 I woke about 0650 and ventured out for a run. It must have been in the upper 20’s and windy but I was prepared with my long running stuff, wind breaker, and balaclava. My goal was to do the “Ring Strasse” but I chickened out on that and instead pretty much ran straight out and back going by the theater and the large Intercontinental Hotel and then ran through a park that paralleled a river. The river was not scenic there as it resembled an LA concrete lined wash but it had some water in it.

  I was pleased to find that I made it back to the hotel OK thanks to my decision to do an out and back run.

 The streets here are challenging as nothing is orthogonal instead radiating out from the center and these curving streets crossing them.

 Time to get Vollie going for Breakfast and then a tour of the city on our own.

After breakfast we walked about a bit but the wind was brutal and cold. We saw the opera house and walked along the Ringstrassa.  We found a butterfly solarium which was nice to visit as it was warm, and humid and out of the wind. We saw many exotic butterflies some of which would land on our hands.

There was one place, I guess it was the Hofsburg gardens where the government is currently housed, where there were a lot of horse drawn carriages for hire. Some of them were restored originals. We arranged a tour bus in the afternoon to give us some perspective of city and keep us out of the cold wind. The tour was OK but they could have told us more about what directions we were heading to help us with orientation. With no mountains to see and no sun, it is really hard to figure out directions.  They gave us a tour of the Schoenbrunn summer palace. It gave us a glimpse of how extravagant their lifestyle was. In one painting they showed a large table of royalty eating during a wedding feast and surrounding it were hundreds of people who had the “privilege” of viewing the royalty eat! In another painting there were hundreds of people attending a concert and the faces were real faces including Mozart when he was 5 or 6 years old. How did the painter do that? He must have had photographic memory. After that we walked around the garden grounds. It must be beautiful to see when it is growing season. As it was it was an endurance contest walking in the cold winds.

 The bus returned and we walked a short distance from the hotel to have dinner of soup with prawns and sushi. After that we dressed to go to a concert. Walking through the cold winds in the dark we retraced part of my morning jog and got to the concert hall. Vollie kept arguing with me that we should turn more to the right but since I had jogged by the place we went directly there. This is just another example of how hard it is to navigate around this town as Vollie was studying the map. At the concert we listened to a 9-piece orchestra play a lot of Strauss and Mosart with one Haydn thrown in. In a number of pieces there were excellent ballet dancers(a couple), and a woman and man singer(sometimes solo and also together) that were also very good. It was quite fun to attend the concert. 

Day 4-March 14, 2010

 Vollie can’t get used to me sleeping in. I usually wake up around 0530 but with jet leg I am sleeping in until after 0700. Even then I still feel quite sleepy. No run this morning. I’m not sure what we are up to today. It is still cold out, around 30F, and it sounds windy. Now we have to figure out what to do with the day.

  We started out wandering around town. We walked to the St. Stephan Catthedral in the middle of Vienna. Then we found “old town” and strolled around gawking at buildings like Mosart’s apartment. By this time we were freezing from the wind and found a place to have tea and apple strudel for me and poppy seed bun for Vollie. Then we walked some more and found a quirky set of buildings named after their architect, Hundertwasser. Where nothing is straight-edged or square and painted and decorated in bright colors. His paintings were the same way. He was an ecologist. We found a bathroom in the basement of a junk shop that was artistic. It cost us 60 euros or about $0.90 to take a pee. We are literally pissing our money away here.

 From there we took a trolley where we could catch a subway across the Danube so I could determine of the Danube was really blue. Indeed it was blue. We walked along a bay that had wall-to-wall tiny vacation cottages. Most you couldn’t see from the sidewalk. There was also parks and lots of walking trails. We then walked through an International Center with high rises and out along trails that paralleled the Danube. The wind was so strong in places that we could hardly walk against it. I had my balaclava on plus the hood from my jacket to protect my ears which were beginning the feel the effects of the wind.

 To escape the wind we hopped on the subway and headed back into town. In spite of its being only 4PM we decided to loop for a place to eat so that once we got back into the hotel we would not have to venture out into the wind. Unfortunately being a Sunday almost all restaurants were closed. There was a middle Eastern place with a menu that was mostly meat and one of two sushi places but since we had that last night we were looking for something else. We finally found a funky low-ceiling French restaurant which had colorful wall paper something like you might find in an old brothel. But the food was good and it was warm! We ordered quiche without crust, a light salad, some baguette, and a half-liter of Bordeaux.  It was quite good and we even purchased some sinful dessert to take back to the hotel. So we returned to the hotel with our faces flushed from exposure to the wind, before it was dark,  
Day 5-March 15th

 It really blew last night as I could feel our solid concrete and stone building shutter in the gusts. I got up and ran before breakfast. It wasn’t so windy then but there was fresh snow on the roofs, cars, and grass but the streets were only wet. After breakfast we walked to the Belvedere Museum which is the site of a winter castle. Lots of paintings to view. The more interesting are those by Gustav Klomt which includes an original of “The Kiss” which my research scientist, Gustavo Carrio, made a copy of. We then walked back to the hotel where we had a “grazing” lunch consisting of nuts and a pear that I got during breakfast.

  After that we went to my lecture hall. Vollie attended the first part. My talk was an overview of climate change theories and evidence of natural variability of the climate system. I got a number of questions from the students which was good since it meant they were not totally blown out by it. The students are quite a mix some from environmental science and engineering but most are in law school or some non science disciplines so I have to keep things very descriptive for them. I lectured from 1400 to about 1730 when I thought I was done but really had about 30 minutes to go. It was still pretty tiring for both me and the students. I came back to the hotel and had a local beer on tap and waited for Vollie’s return to go out to dinner.

 We met up with my host Hans Pauxbaum and his wife for dinner. He gave us more of a walking tour beforehand. It was cold and rainy and after my two beers I had to pee quite often but found a men’s room in time. We went to a fusion type of Asian restaurant where I had spicy shrimp and Vollie some Chinese style dumplings. The food was good but because Han’s wife could not speak English very well much of the talk was in German which kind of put me out of the loop.

Day 6-March 16th

  I took a shorter jog this morning. It wasn’t rainy or snowy for a change but the winds were still strong. The temperatures seemed a bit warmer as I could take off my balaclava and unzip my pits once I warmed up. This is the first time I could do that since we have been here.

  After breakfast and reviewing my lecture notes, Vollie and I walked through the park with statues of Johann Straus and others and on to the Museum of Applied Art.It was raining steadily all the time which necessitated that we use our umbrellas. I thought it would have some way-out modern furniture and things like that but it was pretty much old stuff. The only place that there was more modern furnishings was in the junk store and the bathrooms.

 We returned in the rain and had a grazing lunch of apple and nuts. I then had my second afternoon of lectures starting at 1400. By the time I finished at 1730 I was exhausted and so were the students. We then went out to dinner at an Italian restaurant just around the corner from the hotel. I had spaghetti del mar and Vollie Lasagna with meat. We both thought it was good, although everything is quite costly here.

Day 7-March 17th

 I woke about 0600 and decided I had time to run the entire Ring Strasse. It was warmer this morning although there was light drizzle. The run took me about 1.5 hours including the run from the hotel to the Ring Strasse and back. So it must have been about 7 miles total.

  After breakfast and going over my lecture notes, Vollie and I walked over to the Kunsrforum museum. There we saw still-lifes painted by the likes of van Gogh, Cezanne, Picasso, Braque, Leger, and Renoir. Many of the paintings were very good but some were downright gross, especially for a vegetarian.

 I survived my third lecture set. I wasn’t as brain dead as yesterday at the end but I was losing my voice. 3.5 hours is just too long.

 Afterward Vollie and I went out to dinner where she had a standard meat goulash dinner and I had fish dinner. It was OK but it didn’t have the intensity of flavoring that I have become used to.

Day 8-18 March

 I did a shorter run today so that we can have breakfast earlier and then finish with my lecture review so we have time to see a horse show. The horse show is a Spanish Horse Training facility near the government headquarters. Groups of riders pranced around the stadium but after an hour or so it became rather boring.

 I then taught my last lectures which was from 1400 to 1630, shorter than normal. Just one less hour sure made a difference as I feel a lot brighter. I finished up with climate engineering and the students really got into that and asked a lot more questions than usual.

  We were supposed to meet Prof Puxbaum at the wine bar for some going-away drinks but he called in that he was sick and afraid he would contaminate us. I really appreciated that as so far I haven’t come down with something here. So Vollie and I are on our own to explore the city tonight and tomorrow morning. Our train is 1240 tomorrow.

 Our quest was to find a vegetarian restaurant in the older part of the city. So off we went working our way through crowds of people rushing home from work. We followed this windy street and then another. After asking many people directions, some taking us the wrong way. We finally found the short street the restaurant was supposed to be located. We were told the restaurant was only open until 1600 but even then we never did find it. Eventually we gave up and stopped by an Italien restaurant mainly because I had to pee. After looking over restaurant we decided to stall. We actually didn’t order Italian instead we ordered fish. I ordered Walleye Pike and Vollie some other kind of fish. We both agreed the food was good and it was nice and cozy there.

 Then we headed back, sort of. We got onto the Ringstrasse which eventually took us around the loop back to the area of our hotel. It was for once a pleasant evening with no winds and in the 40’s so we enjoyed walking along the tree lined street and viewing all the brightly lit buildings.

Day 9-March 19th

 I got up a little after 0600 and jogged out to the nearby park, ran around it and returned. Vollie was still in the sack so I showered and while she was in the shower I packed. I had to sit on my suitcase to compress the fluffy dirty laundry but eventually got it zipped. We have a few hours to explore after breakfast before we meet out 1240 train. We’ll see what we can do.

  We bought a single day pass on the underground which allowed enough use for the two of us to go to the main train station plus a few side trips. We went to the cathedral and paid to walk up a spiraling staircase several hundred meters to get a nice overview of the city. After that we stopped in a small shop called Aida where we bought a sinful cake and tea. Then we went back to the hotel and checked out and made our way via underground to the main train station west. Off we went on a 7.5 hour train ride to the Frankfurt train station. It is really too bad that we don’t have a train system like that in the US. Point to point enroute times are similar to airlines unless you can get direct flights. The trains are very smooth riding and the seats(2nd class) are quite comfortable and the seats in front of you are not in your face; Moreover you can get up and walk around without running into people. As you travel along you get observe the changing countryside.

 It is too bad that this can’t be done in the US. We once had the train infrastructure to do that. It is thought that the automobile destroyed the trains. Actually it is the taxation system that has done in the railroads. In the case of autos and trucks we have developed a national/state/county system in which license plates are the way the user pays the costs. The rest is paid through taxes. As to railroads, they own the rails and are taxed by a variety of local agencies to use them. They maintain the tracks all by themselves as well as the trains. They are taxed based on the number of tracks running through a township or county so they limit the number of tracks to keep their costs at a minimum. As a result the railroads have a hard time competing against the truckers and private vehicles. Imagine a US like here in Germany, Austria, and Switserland. We could pick up a train in Fort Collins and go with maybe a single transfer to DIA. We could likewise go from Fort Collins to ski areas like along the I-70 corridor or even Steamboat all by train and not have to worry about the weather and major traffic jams.

 We have gone from hilly countryside in Austria to more open fields and along river valleys following canals. The winter wheat fields are green even though there are patches of  snow about. It is nice and warm and sunny today. Once we get to the airport we have to figure out how to get to our hotel near the airport and get some dinner. The adventure continues.

  It turns out there are free buses to the hotel. The hotel was a very modern hotel, especially by Viennese standards. It had a restaurant which was good since there wasn’t much else in the neighborhood of the hotel. The food was good but expensive.

Day 10-March 20th

I woke up at 0644  and took a short jog along the bikepath/sidewalks near the hotel. It was raining slightly but it was warm enough that I didn’t need my rain jacket. After a shower Vollie and I walked over to a nearby supermarket that I had scouted out where we could buy some baked goods and tea. This was much cheaper than the hotel which charged 13EU or almost $20/person! We then took the free bus and checked into Lufthansa for the torture flight home. It takes 9.75 hours in the confined space provided by coach.