“Home Sweet Home” Questionnaire #1: Ulli Maier.
1.) Tell us a little bit about yourself and how your passion for travelling started.
Today I am in my mid 50s and in my point of view in better shape than I was with 20. I’ve been to about 65-70 countries. One life is not enough to visit all of them but I think I’ve done pretty well so far ;) As of now, I get more curious and more bulletproof, cause really … what can happen? The most important thing is to stay healthy, everything else is somehow replaceable.
My travelling started with reading the books that I got for my birthday, Christmas or any other important reason. For example Hans Hass and his stories, Herbert Tichy and his journeys to Tibet, Nepal and Himalayas, the conquering of the Himalaya by Sir Edmund Hillary. All this formed a vague desire of far away countries at a very early age. Far away in those days meant (for my parents at least) Italy or Greece. My first hitch-hike trip to Italy with was at the age of 16. It was a big thing for me because my parents thought that I was going to a friend in the Austrian Alps. There was no mobile phone and no connections for 4 weeks so it was easy to lie. I came back in one piece and after telling them about all my experiences … well, jaws dropped but they were proud as well. So that was just the beginning of a travel-love affair which lasted until today.
2.) Where is home?
A house in the Viennese woods in Austria.
3.) How did you get there? Have you lived there all your life, moved there because of College or just fell in love with the city/town on one of your trips?
I grew up in Upper Austria but moved back to Vienna when I started fashion school. I’ve been living here since I was 16 and though my desire for all the countries far away started at an early age, Vienna is written in my birth certificate and most probably will also be there in my death certificate (unless I am a victim of a plane crash in Africa, a typhoon in Mindanao or a random drive by shooting in Mexico).
4.) What does your living situation look like? Give us a brief description (city or countryside, apartment or house, messy or neat-freak, roomies, pets, plants etc.)
My home is a house with a big garden in the Vienna woods. It’s really nice to have fresh air and trees within a couple of meters. My house is well equipped with all kinds of souvenirs and must-haves from these 65-75 different countries. It all needs a lot of maintenance though and the trees in the garden produce a lot of leaves every autumn. After work or after returning home from a journey it’s almost like stepping into a cocoon ;)
I have a green finger and therefore I love plants. Everything grows really well and some people tend to call my house a jungle ;) Also a couple of exotic parrots, chicken (for the eggs) and a cat share my four walls. A dog is high on my list as well since I’ve always had one.
I am very organized because I hate messy surroundings. I am a regular at flea markets because there you’ll most probably find the stuff that you didn’t know you always wanted.
5.) What’s your favorite spot in your apartment or house & why?
My favorite spot is clearly the garden in summer, and otherwise the kitchen. I prefer the kitchen to the living room or all the other rooms. I have a rather Spartan chair with the coffee machine behind is and that’s what I call “gemütlich” (means cozy in German)!
6.) Do you prefer books or movies (plus what’s your favorite one)?
Books, even though I enjoy going to the movies to see independent films. I’m definitely not a Hollywood Blockbuster fan.
7.) Where & how do you write your blog articles? Do you start with a rough draft or get right to it?
I write my posts on my laptop in my working room and I always hope to get right through with the entire article but I’m often interrupted by things that have to be done, like watering the plants, feeding the chicken or I just get hungry and then have to cook something.
8.) What does a perfect day in your hometown look like? What season is it? Are you inside or outdoors? Do you hang out with friends or family?
A perfect day means that everything is done, everything paid, a ticket to somewhere in the world is booked and it’s time to go out to do whatever. I prefer being outdoors of course; walking in the forest or gardening. But if it’s raining I like going to the movies or hanging out with my small family & good friends.
9.) Name three spots in your hometown, which you’d probably not find in a guidebook but you could recommend to travellers. Tell us what’s special about them.
1.) Vienna might not be as flashy as other capital cities, but a sunny afternoon at a “Heurigen” to let the week pass by is great. Here are some really good “Heurigen”
- Heuriger Hirt (Eiserne Handgasse 1190 Vienna): During winter it transforms into a sort of mountain hut with “Jagatee” & “Punsch”. You’ll really feel like being back in the 60s because it’s furnished like thaz.
- Heuriger Sirbu (at the end of Kahlenbergerstrasse, 1190 Vienna): Really nice “Heuriger” which is right at the foot of Kahlenberg in Vienna.
- Heurigenschenke zur Wildsau (Slatingasse 22, 1130 Vienna, near the Lainzer Tiergarten): A great place with self service & a wonderful view.
2.) Another great area for restaurants is the “Brunnenmarkt-Yppenplatz” in the 16th district. Brunnenmarkt is Europe’s longest street market (with 50 40-50 stands on weekdays & up to 130 on the weekend) and at some points you’ll feel like walking trough an oriental Bazaar. It’s a real cultural meeting point.
3.) I can also recommend a pedal boat trip on the “Alte Donau”. It’s a great way to spend a hot afternoon at any given hot day in Vienna. Just cross the River Danube at “Reichsbrücke”, continue for a few 100 meters and then you’ll see are all the boat rental stalls.
10.) What’s your favorite local dish (if you have one in your country/town, please tell us which one)? Can you cook it & what are the main ingredients?
Hmmm…I love good food, whatever it is. I was born before all these cooking TV shows started and we had cooking class in high school, and of course we learned how to make the typical Austria dish “Wiener Schnitzl”. I like it but it’s not my favorite. I prefer the Asian cuisine ;)
11.) How much does 1 liter (or one gallon) of milk and petrol cost today?
The cheapest milk costs 0.79 € & cheapest petrol costs about 1.37 €.
12.) Where are you right now, on which device to you answer this questionnaire and what shoes are you wearing (if possible please add a picture)?
Sitting at home and answering this questionnaire on my 6 year old laptop. The shoes I’m wearing (due to the weather condition) are UGG boots.
13.) Last but not least: What does “home” mean to you?
”Home is where you’re happy”, as Willie Nelson sings in his famous song!
Want to be a part of this series?
If you want to be a part of our series, just go to the “Home Sweet Home” article and download the appropriate questionnaire. We’d really like to read your stories :)
Participants so far:
#1: Ulli Maier
#2: Nisa Maier
#3: Shvyia Nath
#4: Rika Huang
#5: Yvonne Zagermann
#6: Dario Endara
#7: Frankie Thompson
#8: Roy van den Bos
#9: Monica Stott
#10: Doris Neubauer
#11: Amanda Slavinsky
#13: Casper Oppenhuis de Jong
#14: Ashley Abroad
#15: Inma Gregorio