Author Archives: Baskar Lingam Ramachandran

der dachstein

This 1 day trip is one of the trips we would cherish forever with memories of Austria. A wonderful place for the entire family.

We were 3 families of total 9 people. So we rented a 9 seater mini van from Vienna International Airport car rental center. We started early in the morning and left airport at 8 am, since it was a 1 day trip for us. It took us around 3-4 hours to reach the foothill of der dachstein.

We went in peak summer. But der dachstein is one of the snow clad mountains in Austria as the peak is at around 3000 meters. One of the families was leaving Austria and there was a cute girl who wanted to play in snow before leaving Austria. So we decided to make it to der dachstein.

From the base we had to take cable car to reach the top. There was a snow storm when we started our cable car ! There was only snow to be seen around us everywhere.

There is an attraction called sky walk, basically a view point where you can see breathtaking views of the mountains and villages.

There is a suspension bridge from where you can get again marvelous views. But it was totally snowy for us. But that’s what we wanted too.

Once you cross the suspension bridge there is an ice palace. We had to be careful walking inside the cave. It was very skidding. The ice made statues and things in the cave were beautifully lighted and was again awesome. But it was very freezing to us that we had to leave soon. By the time we reached to our cable car point the clouds got cleared and we got those splendid views of the mountains and villages.

After we reached the base we drove to Amusement park Ramsau Beach. We played lot of games there like volley ball, football, table tennis. It was a total fun packed day for all of us. We wrapped up the day with a delicious dinner at the cafe “Waldcafé Lifstüber“. The trip back was quiet and sleepy for many. We managed to reach back to Vienna airport at 11 pm. We caught the last train from airport to Vienna as well.

Our trip in Austria

We made a trip in Austria for 4 days and it was lot of fun. We took a rented car from Vienna airport for means of transport. And used airbnb to book houses for accomodation.

Day 1 – Hallstadt :

We rented a car from Vienna International airport in the morning. And started our trip first towards Hallstadt. We wanted to see the salt mine. It was already afternoon when we reached Hallstadt. So we took the tour in salt mine. It was wonderful. Then headed to Liezen where we had booked a house in airbnb. The house was pretty and the host was very friendly.

Day 2 – Kaprun, Zell am See :

We left Liezen and drove through the country side to Kaprun. We quickly moved to Zell am See and thought of taking the cable car up to the mountains in Schmittenhöhebahn. It was already evening after getting down from Schmittenhöhebahn. Then we had drive to Innsbruck. On the way to Innsbruck we wanted to cover Krimml waterfalls. The waterfalls was a splendid view from the distance and was more beautiful when we neared it. It was almost 7 PM when we left Krimml waterfalls to Innsbruck. It was raining and it was a beautiful lonely drive in the mountains to reach Innsbruck. We reached around 10 PM.

Day 3 : Innsbruck : Swarovski Kristallwelten :

We had booked the house just for sleeping. We are out in the morning to Innsbruck city. We had a tough time finding a parking place and finally took the parking place in a mall as we could not find a parking place on the road. We approached the tourist center and they told either we can spend the entire day in Innsbruck town or we can spend the entire day in Swarovski Crystal World. We spent half an hour in Stadtturm in Innsbruck and took the 360 degree view of the town. Then we reached Swarovski Crystal World. What a marvelous place. It deserves a complete day for the entire family. Was awed being there. Sheer amazement awaits.

Day 4 : Villach, Bled :

From Swarovski Crystal World the 4th day plan for us was Lake Bled in Slovenia. So we wanted to stay at Villach. It was a 4 hours drive to Villach. Again we reached our airbnb house only at 10 pm. The navigation system in the car so accurate. It was a difficult address to find. In the morning we then realized we were in the middle of mountains. A stay we would never ever forget would be this only. Above the house was mountains and there were grasslands everywhere. We fell in love with the place that we decided to relax at the house for a while before going to Bled. Bled was just in the border of Slovenia. Only a shorter drive was needed.

We reached Bled lake. A pretty cool place. There is a lake and an island in the middle of the lake with a church. We walked around the complete lake. We took an electric boat ride. And we rowed a boat too. After getting the authentic Bled Cheese Cake we started our journey back to Vienna. Most of this part of the drive was only in Autobahn (Highway). So we managed to reach in the night at 10 PM at Vienna International airport.

Wow. What a trip. All the memories keep lingering now and then. Austria – What a beautiful country.

AtInnsbruckCityTower

AtBled

Learn with fun at Deutsch Akademie

DeutschAkademie – mit spaß zum Erfolg!

Appropriate to the name we are learning Deutsch with fun for sure from day 1 ! Our group has 12 people. And we have been learning with lot of group activities which are sheer fun. I have mentioned below a couple of activities/games which kept us engaged in learning.

Shopping conversation :

We had an exercise for how to carry out conversations in a shop. The whole class is split into pairs. In each pair of students one will have to act as a shop keeper and the other will be a customer. Well this would have been a normal conversation. But a model of the shop is set up by the instructor. She has brought plastic vegetables, fruits, beverages and other groceries in plastic. There was also a cashier desk with a mock card swiper, scanner to scan the groceries. It was real fun. We had a lot of laughter throughout the session.

Finding a word :

There was another game in which one person is made as a seeker who is made to step out of the class and the other persons in the class are shown a word. Those in the class should help the seeker to find the word. But those in the class should not give the exact word, but only clues. It was real fun that the word given to us was “thief”. Some gave very weird but funny clues that the whole class was laughing for a while.

Apps I use to help my Deutsch learning

For an English speaker learning Deutsch requires few apps to be used for translation, grammar, vocabulary. I am using few apps which helps in my learning.

linguee.de

I got to know about this app from a Deutsch Akademie staff who did the preliminary tests before joining the course. I use this app to translate English words to German. The beauty of this app is that it gives a lot of sample sentences. I referred this to a batch mate and she likes it very much.

duden.de

Our instructor has provided this to us to refer to any Deutsch word for its meaning and grammar. Recently I asked a question about the deklination for the adjective rosa. My instructor mentioned that it is rosa only for any case and any gender. On checking duden.de it is mentioned as “indeklinables Adjektiv”.

Promt online translator

I use this website http://www.online-translator.com/ and the corresponding mobile app to translate unknown sentences. You can scan images with Deutsch words or you can speak in the mike in the mobile app to translate it to English.

Google translator

I mostly do not use this often. But for translating PDF documents from Deutsch to English this is far better than nothing. It provided similar features like PROMT. Both PROMT and Google Translator are free apps.

Vocabulary Trainer

When I was learning ice skating in Kagran I came to know about an app for improving vocabulary on a daily basis through a friend. This is the website https://www.languagecourse.net/. There is a mobile app too which I use mostly during commuting. This is very effective indeed.

Reverso

When I wanted to check the conjugation for the verbs I came across this website http://conjugator.reverso.net/conjugation-german.html. When I downloaded the corresponding app i started loving it. The killer feature of this app for me is that you can listen to the sample sentences in both Deutsch and English. You can upgrade to a Premium version with a cost which would make the app advertisement free, provide you a way to learn and remember your search results for a longer period of time.

Duolingo

I started my Deutsch learning with this cool app. This is a very popular app for learning Deutsch, at least to get started. I love the flash cards too.

Instagram

There are a quite a number of accounts who share Deutsch things to ease the learning. Just search for the word Deutsch and/or German and you will find lot of them to follow.

Pinterest

I find this very interesting with pictures. You will get suggestions based on your history of the searching.

Youtube

There are a number of Youtube channels through which you can learn German. I personally like “German with Anja” and “German with Jenny” a lot. I am a patron of both of them ! There are many other channels too like “Learn German”, “Learn German with GermanPod101.com” and so on. Once you are in a channel you can look for related channels and sky is the limit !

Menschen

If you buy the books from Hueber https://www.hueber.de/menschen you can use this app to scan the pages to listen to the audio of that exercise. Usually it makes sense to use this app if you practice exercises with Hueber books. The books will provide CD, DVD for both course book and exercise book. But on the go, you can easily use this app without having to carry CD, DVD everywhere.

DeutschAkademie

And last but not the least the free app from Deutsch Akademie itself. You can practice a lot of grammar and exercises.

Schönbrunn Zoo…

Schönbrunn Zoo is the oldest continuously operating zoo in the world and it is in Vienna !

Where is it?

it is along with Schönbrunn zoo located near the end of the metro line U4. For the palace you can get down at the station “Schönbrunn”.

How to get there?

For the zoo either you can get down at the U4 station Schönbrunn and walk through the palace garden to the zoo. Or you can get down at the U4 station Hietzing and walk a little to the zoo.

Tickets?

You can buy a day ticket. At the moment the cost is 20 Euro per adult. But if you are staying in Vienna I would recommend the year pass which costs 49 Euro per adult. With the yearly card you can visit any number of times !

For the complete information check out the website https://www.zoovienna.at/en/zoo-and-visitors/visitor-information/.

There are quite a number of animals. You would need an entire day. My favorite spots are :

Aquarium – just near the entrance

Panda

Penguins

Oh and if you have the NÖ card then you can 2 more attractions in the same area.

  1. Schönbrunner Panoramabahn
  2. Wüstenhaus Schönbrunn – You can visit this as many times as you want with the card.

Adjective Deklination

We are taught a very important grammar lesson this week – Adjektiv Deklination.

I will write about adjective declination with Indefinite articles – ein, kein in this post. Will write another for definite articles and no articles.

Even though it looks difficult this is really easy if you could try this way. The requisite for this is that you need to know what gender the noun is.

Step 1 : First form the table for definite articles der, die, das in all 3 cases Nominativ, Akkusativ, Dativ. Use an appropriate noun for each gender.

Table1-DerDieDas

Step 2 : Then form another table for indefinite article ein in all 3 cases for the same nouns. However keep a space between the indefinite article and the noun. This is for an adjective which will have to be declined.

Table2-EinKein

Step 3 : If you could make these 2 tables then the deklination is so simple.

  1. For Nominativ and Aakkusativ the endings of the corresponding definite articles have to be applied to decline adjectives.
  2. For Dativ the ending is always en to form adjective declination. Is it not super simple?
  3. For Plural below important rules apply :
    1. If the plural form of the noun does not end in -n then in Dativ the plural noun should be made to end in -n. Example : Bücher -> Büchern 
    2. If there is no indefinite article kein or possessive word sein/mein/dein before the noun then in Nominativ and Akkusativ, the adjective will take the endings of the definite article.Nominativ : kleine Bücher. The definite article is die for nominativ plural. So klein becomes kleine.

      Akkusativ : kleine Bücher. The definite article is die for akkusativ plural. So klein becomes kleine. This is just as in nominativ.

      Dativ : kleinen Büchern. den is the definite article for Dativ plural. So klein becomes kleinen. Also per rule 1 above Bücher becomes Büchern.

    3. If there is indefinite article kein or possessive word sein/mein/dein before the noun then in Nominativ and Akkusativ, “the adjective will always take the ending -en” and “kein/sein/mein/dein will take the endings of the definite article”.
      Nominativ
      : meine kleinen Bücher. The definite article is die for nominativ plural. So “mein becomes meine” and “klein becomes kleinen”.Akkusativ : meine kleinen Bücher. The definite article is die for akkusativ plural. So “mein becomes meine” and “klein becomes kleinen”. This is same as in nominativ.

      Dativ : meinen kleinen Büchern. den is the definite article for Dativ plural. So “mein becomes meinen” and “klein becomes kleinen”.

AdjektivDeklinationForIndefiniteArticles

Wachaubahn

Wachaubahn is one of the attractions you get for free with Nieder österreich card. I have explained about this awesome card in this post nieder österreich card : NÖ card and the benefits of it.

What is it?

It is local train between Krems and Emmersdorf. The train goes along the Danube river, going through mountains.

How to go there?

First you need to reach Krems. Travel in a cheaper way using Einfachraus ticket. In the same blog which I have provided in the top of this post, I have detailed about this super awesome ticket.

The train makes 3 trips from Krems to Emmersdorf and 3 trips from Emmersdorf to Krems.

This is a day ticket. So get down at multiple villages and enjoy. Checkout the timings in the page https://www.wachaubahn.at/fahrplan-whb.

At Emmersdorf after getting down go towards the SchiffStation (ship station). There are some staircases. When you get down the staircases on your left is a restaurant. We wanted to get something vegetarian. We chose a noodle. It was top class. We really loved it.

With the NÖ card, there are a number of attractions in Krems as well. On 1 side of the river is Emmersdorf and on the other side is Melk. Melk is a lovely place in Austria. Just walk across and you will reach Melk. We did not have time for this. Again with NÖ card there are a couple of attractions in Melk – abbey and the garden around abbey. This itself deserves half of the day. Attractions in Krems requires 1 day. So plan a 2 day trip and you would love it.

For more details about this Wachaubahn attraction visit the page https://www.niederoesterreich-card.at/a-wachaubahn

AtEmmersdorfTakeLeftAfterThisToGoToDanube

ViewFromWachaubahn

MeInsideWachaubahn

Einfach-raus-ticket

MeAtDanubeAtEmmersdorf

AtEmmersdorfAtDonau

Person versus Activity, Strand versus Ufer

We are taught an easy grammar this week, that is, forming persons or activities from verbs.

Person :

From certain verbs ending in n, if you remove -n and replace it with -er then it becomes a person. And the person formed is always a masculine. To form the corresponding feminine in most cases you would need to add an -in to the masculine word.

Few such verbs are :

laufen, sprechen, malen, backen, fahren, mieten, denken, beraten, führen, verkaufen.

Activity :

From certain verbs ending in en, if you remove en and replace it with ung then it becomes an activity. The ending -ung is always feminine !

Few such verbs are :

beraten, führen, wohnen, registrieren, erholen, lösen, lesen, entspannen, übernachten.

Interestingly the person Profi is always masculine. So if you refer a woman as a professional then it should be also in masculine – “Sie ist ein Profi” !

Strand vs Ufer :

Strand is beach. Ufer is shore.

Meer is sea. See is lake.

Strand is to Meer :: Ufer is to See.

das Meer => der Strand !

der See => das Ufer !

MeHappyAtClassDoingExercise

Lobau – Forest in Vienna

Lobau is one of my favorite places in Vienna in summer. It is that forest in Donauinsel called Lobau.

How to reach there?

You have connectivity in 3 metro lines to Lobau – U2 Donaustadtbrucke, U1 Donauinsel, U6 Neue Donau. If you prefer walking in the forest then you can either choose the U2 or U1 line stops. If you would riding through a bicycle then you can choose any of the stops.

I personally prefer starting from DonauInsel in bicycle. You can carry bicycles all through the day on weekends or on holidays in the metro lines. But on week days you are not supposed to take the bicycles in metro trains till 9 AM in the mornings and from 3 PM to 6.30 PM in the noons.

I usually take my bicycle to Donauinsel on a weekend day in the evening and start riding towards U2 line. That is the direction opposite to the Kahlenberg.

There are many cycle paths on both sides of the Donauinsel river. Also you can either ride along the shore of the DonauInsel canal or ride between the trees in the forest. The main Donau river runs between VorgartenStrasse U1 line and Donauinsel U1 line. A little part of the river is let to form the Donauinsel canal.

There is a dangerous point in the very end of the cycle trail. And this where you can see the water from the main river is let to form the Donauinsel canal.

Lobau

DonauInselCanal

Geben, Stellen, Legen vs Bleiben, Stehen, Liegen

In our class we are taught an important concept for A2.1 level called ‘wechsel präpositionen‘.

In Deutsch there are certain prepositions which take Akkusativ case always and there are certain prepositions which take Dativ case always. And there are some prepositions which can take either Akkusative or Dativ.

The prepositions which take either Dativ or Akkusativ are called wechsel präpositionen. They are as in the below picture.

WecheselPrepositions

As the picture shows if you can frame a question as ‘Wo‘ meaning ‘Where‘ for a given statement then that statement is supposed to be in Dativ.

If you can frame the question as ‘Wohin‘ meaning ‘Where to‘ for a given statement then that statement is supposed to be in Akkusativ.

There are 3 verbs namely geben, stellen, legen which will take Akkusativ. And the corresponding verbs bleiben, stehen, liegen will take Dativ.

StehenDativStellenAkkusativ

GebenStellenLegenAkkuBleibenStehenLiegenDativ

Shopping Malls in and around Vienna

There are a number of shopping malls in Vienna. I love 3 of them in particular.

DonauZentrum :

This mall is situated right in front of the U Bahn station Kagran in Vienna. The mall has quite a number of shops enough for the entire family. The mall is so big that even in peak hours you would not feel suffocated. There will be special decorations done during Christmas, New Year. There is a shop called Tiger which we visit often as it is one of its kind.

Relaxing-After-A-BusyShopping-At-DonauZentrum

XMax-Decoration-AtDonauZentrum

DecorationAtDonauZentrum

SCS Mall:

This mall is pretty large that you need an entire day to do your shopping and window shopping. This mall is outside Vienna. You can either take the Baden train from Vienna Karlsplatz and get down at the station Vösendorf. There are many intermediate stops in Vienna before it reaches Vösendorf. Achtung ! This mall is just 1 station away from Vienna zone 100 which means you need to buy a ticket of 1.70 Euro from Vienna core zone to Vösendorf. If you don’t have a zone 100 pass or ticket then the charge would be 3.90 Euro (extra 2.2 Euro for core 100 zone). Alternatively you can take the free SCS shuttle bus from the U6 last station Siebenhirten. I usually take this free shuttle bus while going and catch the train while coming back. The ride from Siebenhirten is only 10 minutes to the mall. Note the timings of the last bus from the mall in case you would need to use it.

SCS-Mall-Decoration-At-Xmas

G3 Mall:

This is another mall which is outside Vienna. This is not as big as SCS mall, but has most important shops. I have been to this mall only using the free shuttle bus from Floridsdorf. Floridsdorf is in U6 metro line. The bus takes approximately 25 minutes to reach the mall from Florisdorft.