Friday last week the weather was quite nice. Despite the lockdown more people than I thought were strolling on Vienna’s shopping street Mariahilferstrasse. Even though there is nothing to buy except groceries, people seemed to have a little bit of shopping feeling. It was also nice to see many people and I understood that I indeed missed it. The temperature was also not too low and so my husband and I wanted to enjoy that somewhat positive mood and so we went to get a fresh croissant from a new French bakery and we ate it sitting on a bench on Mariahilferstrasse. Then and there I remembered a Japanese childrens’ song “When I will go to first grade of primary school Will I get one hundred friends? Together with one hundred friends I want to eat…”. I love this song. Of course as an adult I know it is difficult to have one hundred friends but I love the mood of doing something together with other people. Exhibitions, concerts, parties,… Of course one cannot look into the hearts of other people, there may be those who are not having fun or having negative thoughts, etc. but to me it is mostly pleasant to be in a crowd of people. Right now because of the restrictions that is impossible. Eating that croissant in the cold wind I really felt and enjoyed a shimmer of the aura of “normality”.
My husband and I are now taking care of seven cats in our neighbourhood. The more we get to know those cats, their very unique and different characters are very visible. Our best friend since the beginning is “Whiskey” with red and white colour. He is very friendly and seems to be quite easy-going. The big black and white cat we call “white nose” because he has a white pattern around his nose and the one with grey tiger pattern and white socks we call “Oscar” are brothers. Their appearance is different but their character is somewhat similar. From our point of view, they are naughty. Those two are the only ones that strike others when they feel like it. We still love them as all the others.
Recently we sat on the sofa watching TV. “Whiskey” was on my lap sleeping with a loud purr. Next to me was “white nose” and I thought I was enjoying a relaxing time with cats. Out of the blue, “white nose” stretched out a front paw and struck “Whiskey”. That movement was very rapid and “white nose” did not move at all except for that paw movement. I could not believe what had happened and “Whiskey” stopped purring. For some time we were in alert mode but “white nose” did not make any more suspicious movements and so I resumed watching TV and “Whiskey” started purring again. Some time later when we had almost forgotten that attack, again “white nose” rapidly struck “Whiskey”. That movement was so lightning fast, almost like a chameleon catching an insect with its tongue. “White nose” made no other movements as though he was detached from all happenings around him. Within about thirty minutes he repeated those attacks about five times.
The next day on the sofa maybe because “Whiskey” thought he did not want to get struck anymore, he lay next to me and “White nose” took the spot on my lap. From my human perspective the spot on the lap is better than next to me and I thought because of that “White nose” would leave “Whiskey” alone. At first everything was peaceful and I concentrated more on the TV program but in that moment, “White nose” again made the “chameleon tongue” momvement striking “Whiskey” . “We have to do something” was our thought.
My husband and I remembered that in some central square in an Austrian town they were playing classical music from speakers and street violence of young people was measurably reduced. And so the next day instead of TV we played classical music. That time again there was “Whiskey” on my lap and “White nose” next to me. The music we played was a famous piano concert by Mozart. First we were watching out for cats’ reaction and they seemed to relax. “This works” we thought and we were quite happy with the result. All of us could enjoy the music. But suddenly from behind “White nose” grabbed and attacked “Whiskey”. In the middle of the beautiful second movement! We were shocked and even though I wanted to avoid it, I gave “White nose” a light slap on the head. “White nose” gave me an angry look and went away to some place. As though “Whiskey” had thought “I do not want this anymore”, he too went away from the sofa. What can we do…?
In this picture, even though it is the festive beginning of the New Year, I am already in a horizontal position. I was so tired from all the petting. My husband and I are again taking care of the 7 cats of our friends. Because of the current lockdown in Austria, the cats’ owners again went away to their vacation home in the countryside. During the Summer holidays we took care of the cats and so they know us already. The difference is that now is the cold season and cats want to get closer to us than in Summer.
The situation in the picture happened because I just wanted to sit on the bed for a while. First Whiskey, he actually has a different name but here we call him that because he has beautiful Whiskey-coloured eyes, came to me and lay down on my lap. We befriended him first because passing by the window outside we saw him first. He always came out when we called him from outside like a dog even though we didn’t feed him anything, which is unusual and the other cats don’t do that. We think that we are very good friends. Also inside the apartment when I sit down to relax, this red white cat very often comes to me to cuddle. But now the other cats also want to come close to humans. I wish that those cats relax around me in peace. Unfortunately the world of those seven cats does not work as perfectly. Only Whiskey is very friendly and able to share a lap with others. All of the others however want the lap to themselves and that day too other cats came to demand my lap. Since Whiskey is a friendly and easy-going one, he left my lap and came to my side. I find him to be a very good cat. Finally three cats stayed around me and I understood that all of them wanted to be petted. I only have two hands and petting three cats equally at once is very difficult. Also, the greystriped cat with white socks (we call him Oscar for a specific reason) is naughty and if I don’t pay attention, he strikes Whiskey with his paw. He seems to be quite jealous of our close relationship with Whiskey. In order to prevent that, I take special care to watch Oscar and prevent him from striking others. Actually I wanted to rest a little but there was so much tension and effort to be fair at petting that I lay down on the bed and gave up.
Today is the 30th of December. I heard that a full moon in December is called “Cold Moon”. When I took this picture, an elder pedestrian spoke to me and said “You may make a wish”. We all wished each other a wonderful New Year and good luck and parted ways. I found this short conversation quite nice and pleasant.
Always when I see the moon, I get a feeling that I want to talk to it. This feeling is maybe not only my own. The moon is always so close to us and seems so familiar. I find it somehow filled with meaning that we are able to see such a beautiful moon at the end of the year. I find it especially mystic … From my mouth the following words flowed spontaneously “Thank you, moon. Stay with us please forever…”
Yesterday (December 26th) I finally saw at least a partially blue sky. Since for along time in Vienna there were cloudy and dark skies I was very happy about that. In the evening I went for a walk on Mariahilferstrasse. The air was cold and dry. Suddenly I noticed the moon above the church in the sky. The weather improved and the moon was clearly visible. Normally here is one location of Christmas markets in Vienna with many visitors. This year however, Mr. Haydn in front of the church must have felt somewhat lonely. Right now there should still be a small market in front of the church selling New Year charms to give to other people. This year however everything was cancelled.
One night passed and one day later the weather has improved even more. There is even sunlight and a blue sky. How much I have missed it! But the weather forecast however says this will sadly not last long. That’s why I will go for a walk soon and enjoy this blessing.
From the small street where I live to the big shopping street Mariahilferstrasse, I suddenly noticed that it was so bright. I looked up and saw that the Christmas illuminations had been switched on! Oh how I had waited for this! How bright and beautiful! There were many other people taking pictures of it. Everyone had been waiting for it. In this difficult time filled with restrictions and bad news I feel as though these lights also illuminate my heart. I noticed that tears flowed from my eyes and it was not due to the cold wind…
Yesterday (December 3rd) when I opened the curtains of my window, I was surprised to see that it had snowed. The roof of the neighbouring house was all white! Still it was snowing a little bit more. I love Vienna in the snow but this time I could not be entirely happy about it. Snow in Vienna during the time before Christmas I find special because it creates a unique atmosphere. Especially Christmas markets in snow are so pretty. Getting hot wine or punch and enjoying it in the cold while warming up with it. That is a specialty in Vienna and together with snow it is more enjoyable. This year however all Christmas markets have been cancelled! How sad. The last couple of years it was rare to get snow during that time and then right now it did snow.
I heard that yesterday there was snow not only in Vienna but in fact the entire country, which is quite rare. If there is a lot of snow in the mountains, it is lovely to go skiing. The last couple of years, those regions as well did not have enough snow. And now it is snowing even though tourists cannot come to Austria easily. I find that somewhat ironic.
But starting today in Vienna it will get a little warmer every day and the snow will not stay for a long time. Presumably Monday the snow will be barely visible and the city can defrost a little bit from lockdown! Because the infection numbers came down a bit, the Austrian government decided on lifting some restrictions. With all my heart I hope that this time will end soon.
Today, November 23rd, the Austrian minister of health publicly stated that the number of infections has decreased slightly. If all goes well, starting December 7th, there will be some easing of lockdown conditions. Yesterday in Vienna there was a beautiful red dusk. I hope that our future will be like that beautiful dusk filled with hope.
Since Tuesday, November 17th 2020, Austria has been in the second lockdown. But this time it is a little less strict than the first one. Some people are out on the streets going for a walk, playing sports, and some restaurants are open for getting takeout food. Unfortunately the infection numbers are still increasing. I hope that the effect of the lockdown will show in the numbers soon. All of us living in Austria are looking forward to Christmas markets. Previously it was said that despite the pandemic there would be Christmas markets but because of the situation some markets have already been cancelled. Today the preparations for the famous market in front of City Hall Vienna were stopped. Now it is being said it is unknown whether this market can indeed open at all this year. To be honest, I never thought we would experience such a time…
Today the weather turned really nice. After some time I went for a longer walk to Burggarten and a short stroll on Kärntnerstrasse. Due to the coronavirus restaurants are closed except for takeout service. Also because recently there was a very sad incident, not many people were out on the streets. I made some discoveries and my heart could be consoled a little bit.