Saturday, April 30, 2011

More photos of the schloss and the Meierhof

Someone requested more photos of the schloss and the Meierhof and the places I hang out.  So without further ado!
The Bierstube, the gym, some more library detail shots, and some people.  Oh not to mention the flamingos.  No, they aren't in a zoo.  And the used to belong to Max Reinhardt.  Okay not THESE ones, but they are descendents of the original flock.  It's so bizarre.  Right next to the pigs on the farm there are these huge pink birds.

 We take our table tennis seriously around here.
 Adam is pretty good too.
 Larry insisted on going to the bierstube.

 Dinner in the White room with Andrea, Adam and Darren.
 The masks of comedy and tragedy in the library.  Like signing it Max was here!  And in fact one of the masks(the one on the left) is Max.
 Some cool ceiling art.
 The courtyard of the Meierhof at night
 The fitness center

Friday, April 29, 2011

Library news

I haven't written much about the library and my efforts there.  I got permission last week to hold a book sale.  So far I have made about 25 Euros.  Better than nothing at all. 
And I finished cleaning the downstairs shelves and the shifting.  I'm so proud!  Trust me the shelves are cleaner than they have been in YEARS. 
Now you could eat off those shelves.  But it's not recommended. 
I took before and after photos of the shelves I was cleaning....judge for yourself.
The wood still isn't shiny, but it is clean.

The shifting on the bottom floor is all done as well.  I actually have extra room on the last shelves.  I was almost positive I would have to shift up for some things.  It's great, cause that gives me more room for the oversize section I created as well.
It was a project I really wanted to do and it looks great. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Last Tuesday I went with the ISP and some of the other interns to Dachau in Germany. It's one of the concentration camps left over from the Nazis.
It was intense.  It's very sad and in some ways chilling.  I was prepared for the sadness and intensity because I have been to Terezin, but it never gets easier.
Dachau felt removed from the horror than Terezin, maybe because the barracks had been torn down and then rebuilt.  It's larger than I expected, but not large. 
That I think is the worse part.  So many people in such small spaces. 

There are really no words to describe it.  I don't know if the photos do it justice either....

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Schloss Hellbrun

My second part of Easter Monday was going to the Schloss Hellbrun.  It's on the outskirts of the city and is a wonderful 'pleasure palace'.  That's what the tour said.  It was built in the 1600's by one of the Prince-Archbishops of Salzburg.
It's best known for the gardens and the water fountains.  The Archbishop was a patron of the arts and had spent some time in Italy as a child.  So the palace is quite lavish.   And the gardens are beautiful.  I think it would be a wonderful place to go and just have a picnic and spend some time there.  I really liked the water parterre.
But what the schloss is Really known for is the Trick fountains.  As well as being a patron of the arts the Archbishop was a practical joker.  He had a full water garden built to the side of the palace for his guests.  If you go you are warned....

There are a few interesting entertainments all run by water power.  And in good working order after 400 years. 
I was fascinated by the way the builders hid the spouts in some of the fountains and got soaked while indulging my curiosity at the end....:(
But it's all spring water and apparently holy water.  So, now I'm clean and lucky according to the legend.  And overall it's fun.  If you can't laugh at yourself what's the point?  

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Zoo day aka that dog's got guts, just no brains

I went to the Salzburg Zoo today.  It was Easter Monday here and most things were closed, including the seminar offices.  So many people took advantage of it.  I've been wanting to get to the zoo for a while now and the weather was great.  I love zoos. This one is small, but interesting.  The primate areas were different than in any place I've seen.

The lions don't have a lot of room in the outside enclosure, and if they get one good rockslide, it's good-bye to the bears, but it's a decent zoo.

I liked the monkey/lemur enclosures and what they did.  There is a partition, but I think it's more for the humans than the monkeys cause it's about waist high and the pond filled with Amazonian fish(thinking piranhas) isn't huge.  A good, determined monkey could swing over it.  Anyway it's much more up close and personal with the South American monkeys, than say in the Bronx Zoo.

I did wonder how many monkeys tried the escape route over the piranha pool, but they seemed very happy with the room service, so maybe none.

Spent some time communing with the big cats.  They had everything but a leopard.  Well they had a SNOW leopard(2 in fact) which is my favorite big cat, but no African leopard.  It's odd they had a cougar and a lynx.  Well, the lynx is a Eurasian subspecies, but the cougar/puma/mountain lion is a North American big cat.  They had 2 jaguars as well.  I felt sorry for them.  Jaguars are not known for their love of noise and people.  And they were right up front on display.  I could tell one of the cats was a bit skittish and you could barely see him/her until some of the crowds moved along.  Then I got this shot of it.  Not bad, I thought.

I then wandered over to the lion house.  My first thought was: Oh my God that lion has a Mohawk!  Apparently the male lion is balding or something, because it has a tuft of mane sticking straight up.   And I also thought that the lion was blonder than normal, but that was probably because it's from the Namibia, South African region than I normally see.  The sign said southwestern...
 I watched the lions for the most time.  I was on the second level which has a great view of the whole enclosure and I wasn't there for more than a few minutes and the lion got up, and was a bit agitated.  I didn't do anything honest!  So for the next 45 minutes or so he stalked around the pen roaring at people, charging at the fence and generally asserting himself.
The lioness was calmer.  She only got up once and was staring at the lion house.  Maybe they were pissed that the pigs next door(I think they were warthogs) got fed first.  Either that or they were thinking hmmm, looking good.
Then as the lion was generally entertaining the crowds a guy and his dog came up next to me.  Dogs go to the zoo here.  2 euros, and they even have rest stops with water bowls and leash hangers.  It's very cool.  Anyway the dog got one look or sniff of the lions and went NUTS.  Barked and growled and jumped on the glass enclosure.  Wouldn't be quiet or sit down.  It was all the funnier since the dog couldn't have been more than 15 pounds.  It didn't think major killer cat.  Just CAT.

Gotta admire the dog's guts thinking he could take on this cat.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

To market, to market.

While I didn't buy a fat pig(jiggity jig)  I did do some shopping at the Green Market on Saturday.  Since Easter dinner at the schloss is shredded pancakes with plum sauce(a traditional Austrian dish) no one was terribly thrilled about that.  I offered to cook, and Andrea offered her place and kitchen as the venue.

It's asparagus season here in Austria.  And asparagus always says to me, spring!  So I figured asparagus and mushroom risotto with prosciutto wrapped asparagus, bread and cheese and whatever else appealed to the interns for dinner.  It's also strawberry season here, so I picked up some fresh Austrian strawberries and blueberries for dessert.  There is also chocolate from Zotter in town.

I love going to markets.  It's a little like the Borough Market in London, but smaller of course.  There are food stands selling sausage, bread, those yummy pretzels, and of course beer.  But there's also flowers, cheese, meat, vegetables(obviously) and bakery items.  I also saw a honey guy with everything from honey to beeswax candles.  That I have to go back and browse.  But I hit the different stalls and got asparagus(3 bunches!), Portabello mushrooms, strawberries, blueberries, 2 kinds of cheese, and the aforementioned prosciutto(San Daniele in case you were wondering)  Oh, and the bread.  Got a baguette deal.  I was kicking myself for getting it at the market, when I could SHOULD have gone to the Bakery at St. Peter's.  It's the oldest in Salzburg and you get bread from a log fired oven.  By the time I finished in the market the bakery was closed.  Ah, well...

The others contributed appetizers and whatever else they fancied.  Should be a good party.  Watch for photos!

I also found the Salzburg salt store!  After all this place is known for their salt.  That's what Salz means in German.  Actually Salzburg means Salt Castle.  Another place I have to go into and browse and buy. I was very excited about it.
Happy Easter everyone!

Palm Sunday

I finally went to Mass in the Dom, the cathedral here in Salzburg.  It was Palm Sunday Mass, and very interesting.
The tradition here is to bring Palmbuschen to Mass and have them blessed for the garden later on. Palmbuschen are plants put together on long sticks and decorated with ribbons.  They are very pretty and festive.  See?

The Mass doesn't change much from language to language, but I was not sure exactly what they were saying.  Part of it was the language, and part was the first half of Mass was a lot of chanting by the choir. 

It was nice , but I just wish the Dom was warmer.  It's soooo cold in that church. And the decor was not warming.  Lots of beautiful stucco, but white and black, so it feels colder.
 I figured out quickly why the rest of the people were still wearing jackets...

The music was amazing, especially since the Dom holds about 50,000 people and there wasn't any mikes or speakers I could see.  Well, they did keep an eye(ear?) out for those things in the 16th century, so it makes sense.
You could hear them all the way to the back of the nave.   It was worth it.  Besides I like going to Mass, especially in new places.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Troubleshooting tech

Officially I have responsibility for the schloss library and the Vilar center in the Meierhof.  I don't spend a lot of time in the Meierhof part of the library, except to shelve the materials and do the journals and papers.  I have to change that, but there's so much to do in the schloss that it's hard to make time to get over here in the daytime.

I was being a bit lazy this afternoon and didn't want to hike back up the stairs to my room to check e-mail so I decided to use the computers in the Vilar center.

I'm glad I did, cause those babies need some serious TLC.  I started running disc clean-ups and de-fragmentation scans.  Man, that took forever and while the de-fragmentation is done the disc clean-ups are not.  The compression of files slowed them down to the point of inactivity.  To top it all off 2 of the machines kept freezing so I literally had to pull the plugs to restart them.  I'll have to figure it out.

The least we could do is provide up to date speedy machines for session people and the hotel guests here.  Hopefully the basic care will speed them up a little.  Even if it doesn't it certainly can't hurt them.

I'm planning on finishing the clean-up in the morning and maybe run a virus scan on all the machines too.  As well as do the same thing on the 4 workstations in the library, and of course the office workstation.  And on a personal note I have run clean-up and de frag scans on the laptop, just in case.  It's in much better shape than those!

Monday, April 18, 2011


I was determined to do something touristy today.  I was going to go to the Mozart Geburtshaus, and I did go past it meaning to go in, but there was this long line, snaking down the stairs into the lobby.  So I passed. 

I ended up walking along the Monschberg, which is the hill overlooking the city.  There are great trails and views as well as remnants of the old city walls. 
The Monchsberg, which means Monk's Hill in German,  is the major feature in Salzburg.  It's where the Festung is, the city walls, and where they built the Modern Museum of Art in the late 20th century. 
But back to the hiking.  It was nice.  A bit chilly up there, but the sun was out and there were sheltered spots.  I walked a lot more than I planned.  Up stairs, around walls, through tunnels and over the town.
It's also a great way to get a new perspective on the city.  From some of the viewpoints you can see how small Salzburg really is.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Everyone likes mail, don't they?

At the end of last week I discovered that my theory of everyone likes getting mail was blown all the pieces.   I can't believe I didn't post about it when it happened!
Anyway there I was minding my own business happily(sort of) cataloging law books and I kept kicking something.  That was annoying, so after a few times I had to find out what.  There's a box under my desk just far enough away to be almost invisible, but close enough to get in my way.
Anyone who knows me knows I have to find out what it is and why it's stashed under a desk.  In a rarely used office.
So I crawl under the desk and it's unopened.  Oh.  Well, that's odd.  But it could be old Seminar literature or something.  So I dig out the Swiss Army knife to slice and dice the packaging.  While I'm tearing into it I notice the postmark.  2006.  July 2006 to be exact.  Uh-oh.  That can't be good.  It was shipped to us from Long Island almost 5 years ago and the contents are still a mystery.  Well, I was right and wrong.  It wasn't good for me and my to do list, but it was a good thing that I found them.
The books were the long lost Society for Urban Planning donations.  I don't remember the full name of the organization but we call it SCUPAD.
They had been donated to the library with the expectations that they would have their own shelf in a prominent spot, but the shipped books had never been found.
Why not I wonder, since they were only shoved under a desk?!  In a rarely used office! So there was much rejoicing in the higher ranks here, since SCUPAD is meeting in the beginning of May and want to see their shelf finished.  I had to catalog all the books and add special bookplates for them.
Sometimes that New England work ethic really gets in the way.

Friday, April 15, 2011


Yes, go ahead and laugh.  I understand.  But the weather here is very changable.  It's the Alps and Salzburg is in a river valley.

I got up to stretch on Wednesday(I was hunched over the computer cataloging law books) and looked out the window in the Marble Hall and it was snowing.  Jeez.  Snowed for an hour or so and at times it was pretty heavy.  So when the storm was finished there was more snow on the Untersberg than when I got here in March.
It does melt in the summer, so they say.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Venice thoughts

I was sitting on the steps of the Ferrovia waiting for my train back to Austria when I realized that Venice is essentially an archive.
It's a living archive, which changes a bit, but not radically.  For example, 13 years ago, on my first trip to the city, the hotel I stayed at was pink  Now it's yellow.  It suits it better actually.  I'm assuming they renovated and just decided that painting the outside was a good idea.  I didn't go in.  Just saw it from the vaparetto.

Of course there's not a lot of room to grow in Venice.  I mean where would they get the land?  So I understand the necessity of the permanence. But it doesn't make it less sad.
Again it's like an archives.  You will be reading letters, wills, someone's unfinished diary and suddenly realize that this was someone's life, and for good or bad, we have reduced it to papers and websites, finding aids and metadata.

With Venice I also feel that it's a bit theme park-y.  It tries so hard to sell itself that it comes off as fake.
And it's not really.  It was a major power in the world for centuries.  It brought art, architecture, sailing expertise to the people of it's empire.  Now in the 21st century people come for gondola rides, and view San Marco and wonder about the Bridge of Sighs.

I also thought that if you dropped a Venice Doge or even Lord Byron into Venice right now they would recognize their city and have little trouble navigating the place.
Oh, there's the new stuff.  The mechanical boats, the vaparetto docking stations, the satellite dishes, the souvenir shops...even the railroad station.  But overall?  It's the same.
I thought, as an archivist and historian, I would like that.  A snapshot of the life of a city 100 years ago.  It would be something to be studied.  You would get a better idea of the life of the people if you knew their city as they knew it.
But it is sad.  They can't grow and expand like other major cities.  You can't build on available land, and in Venice you also can't build up without serious structural supports. 
And then they are so dependent on the tourist trade, they probably can't change too much.

Just some philosophy at the train station as the sun set over the Grand Canal.

Green is the word of the day

Everything is suddenly and amazingly green around the schloss.  I didn't notice it until today.  It might be because there aren't a lot of green spaces in Venice.  So when you get to green spaces like here, you notice them more.
There's the deep, dark green that looks almost black of the pine trees, the soft, misty, green of the trees on the island in the lake, and the bright, happy yellow-green of the trees overhanging the lake. 
Even the lake has a green hue today.  Reflections of the trees and spring, yes but it's so intense with everything else.
Like Nature woke up over the weekend and decided to paint a monochrome of green for us to delight in.

Everything but the mountain of course.  It's still got snow on the peak and in the shadows.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I finally finished shifting the Supreme Court collection from the back hallway to the library balcony.  Yay me!
It's something I can look at and say I did that.  It's the whole end of the day accomplishment thing.  You can point to something tangible.  I get the same thrill of pride when I see the Ministry Resource Collection at Divinity. 
The last few days I've been writing for the library.  This place needs a Mission statement and values really badly.  A collections policy wouldn't hurt either.  You wouldn't believe the number of dupes we have.  I'm trying to stop the flood of duplicate outdated books that come in.
Plus they don't really match what we do anymore.  Not that the historical perspective is bad, but no one uses those books, as far as I can tell, and we only have so much room in the place.
If I learned one thing at Yale it's that the library has to support the mission of the people/institution that use the place.  And that the collection development needs to match that mission and educational needs. 
So far this library doesn't.
It did years ago, but now it's been lost or stuck in the past while the seminar moved ahead.
I hope to help fix it.  I made a start by going over the new publication catalogs we get.  Yesterday I highlighted a bunch of books from Oxford University Press Spring history catalog.  They had some timely and topical materials for the Seminar.
It would be nice to get some of them in for the shelves and sessions.  I have 3 other catalogs that I went through.  Not as much as OUP, but some are things that, if I had the budget and the authority, I would order for the place in a heartbeat.
Since I don't I handed it off to the program directors so they can order things.  I'm putting the other three catalogs in boxes as well.

Some Venice photos.

Just because I felt like sharing some of the fun ones. And honestly they were too fun to not include somewhere.
I loved the name of this bridge.  There was a Ponte de L'arsenal o del Purgatorio, but no Inferno.  I found the lack of hell in the trio very disappointing.  There were 3 bridges right in a row.  It's only fair the final one was Inferno.  You get all prepared for it, and then nothing.  If they were following a theme they should finish it.  But that's my opinion.
And what can brown do for you?  Only in Venice is the UPS truck a blue, yellow and brown striped boat.

Jeez, make the walk a little narrower, why don't you?  Those of us who are claustrophobic still can breathe!

It's a dog and his boat.  Oh yeah, and the guy with opposable  thumbs.  Venetians love their dogs.

Su e Zo per il Ponti part 2 or Adventure in Venice.

Okay, I'm back now.  It's Monday morning here at the library.  After Venice cataloging isn't such a chore.  Although the law books don't make it easier.  But personally, I think Venice makes everything better.  It's such a strange city when you think about it.  But so magical.

I did get into Venice about 6 am, despite some worries in Verona.  We sat at the station for 90 minutes there.  I don't know why, but it didn't help me sleep.  (Not to mention the seats.)  The compartment was very cool.  Like the Hogwarts Express train cars.  Except no underage wizards and trunks.  I have photos.  See?

After getting into Venice I left my bags at Santa Lucia and got on the vaporetto to San Marco.  The city had barely changed since I was last there 13 years ago.  While that's part of it's charm, but it's also sad in a way, I think.  It's like a living archives not a real city.  But those are thoughts for another post.
I met another single traveler in for the day.  She was trying to figure out what to do and where to go. She had forgot her guidebook.  I felt for her.  I hate traveling without one too.
We wandered around Piazza San Marco for a while taking photos.  I had to buy my ticket for the Su e Zo and found out the starting time and place(the corner of the Doge's Palace and 10 am) then window shopped with Yula. She didn't quite understand the whole race thing, but that's okay.
I found this cute little bakery deal and had a chocolate brioche, yum.  Where else can you get chocolate in bread and consider it breakfast?  Okay, other than Paris? 
Since we were looking in the streets around San Marco everything was out of our price range, Versace usually is.  But it's fun to look, and the streets and the Square were so quiet.  Even the famed pigeons weren't out in force.

At a little before 10 I lined up with other 'racers'.  It's non-competitve, so racers isn't quite the right word.  But that's what they call us, so it's okay with me. 
There were flag waving displays, costumes, music, and ceremony for the start.  It's all  so typically Venetian.  Then at 10 the barrier was lowered and we were off! 
It starts out slow because of the first three bridges which all are in the first 5 minutes.  The trail ran us through the gardens into the actual homes and streets of Venice and around behind the Arsenale with a view to San Michele and into Castello and right by the church of S. Giovanni e S Pietro.  There are lots of celebrity tombs.  Renaissance celebs just so you know.  It's also quite beautiful.  We had our first snack right outside on the steps.  There are a few shops, restaurants and take-out places.  I saw a few people eating gelato instead of the raisin roll.  Which wasn't a bad choice, cause you know gelato...

I poked into some shops, bought some millefiori, and then started on leg 2.   By this time my feet were screaming for pity.  But we had to press on.  I really wanted that completion medal.  And when I say we, yes Larry came too. 
And yes, there are photos.  A few anyway.  He thought the whole thing terribly easy, but he got to be carried.  Cheater!