Importing an American Cat to Austria

Two years ago I imported my cat from America.  Before I looked into it, I thought that I would have to quarantine her for 3 months.  Luckily this wasn’t the case.  Essentially, what I had to do in short (for the detailed version please see here at the Austrian Embassy’s website.

1. Get the cat microchipped.  A lot of vets have varying opinions on whether to inject a topical pain killer into the area for insertion of the microchip, since the width of the microchip needle is much thicker than normal needles.  The vet I went to in Texas told me that it was not necessary, and just prolonged the stress of the cat, so I went with his expert advice.  From the reaction of poor Katzie (eyes bugging out in surprise, and what I can only imagine was pain), I regret listening to the vet.  I should have gone with my gut and given her the painkiller.  After insertion of the microchip she was very scared (another indication that it hurt her).

In theory, the microchip is supposed to be scanned at the border control upon your first entry into the EU to verify it is the same animal as described in the paperwork, but in my case they didn’t do it.

2. Rabies shot after microchip insertion: The rabies shot had to be given after the microchip was implanted (even if only a few seconds).  I thought it was a dumb rule at the time, but what can you do?  The rabies shot has to be given more than 21 days before entry into the EU, otherwise it is not valid — unless you have proof that the animal has had routine rabies shots at regular intervals.

Continue reading “Importing an American Cat to Austria”

The Cat Alarm

In February, 2016, I was temporarily living in Texas for work.  I was having a particularly hard day.  My boyfriend was living in Austria at the time, and my jerk of an ex-husband had custody of our cats, who I had raised since kittens (its a long story). I was feeling very lonely.

I was coming back from a run, when I spotted a little black and white cat walking around and crying piteously. I walked up to her, she rolled on her back, and the rest, as they say, is history. I wasn’t ever lonely again after that.

Almost three years later, she is living with my boyfriend and I in Austria, and she is loving every moment of it.

The hungry cat alarm woke me up today at 5:30 a.m. (because, well, she knows I will always get up for her).  She is now fast asleep on “her” chair (I told my boyfriend he needs to find a new one), and I am blogging.  I guess waking up at 5:30 a.m. tired her out.

Happy Caturday!

The life of a pampered house cat

Kombucha Honey Mustard: Part 2

How to make delicious kombucha honey mustard:

  1. Brew kombucha like normal, and wait until it becomes vinegar.
  2. Place 1/2 cup of yellow mustard seeds in a jar, and cover them with the kombucha vinegar.  It is possible that the seeds will plump up slightly as they soak.  If the mustard seeds start popping over the top of the kombucha vinegar, cover them with more kombucha vinegar.
  3. Let the seeds soak for at least 3 days (I waited 6 days).
  4. After waiting the sufficient amount of time, pour the whole jar into the blender
  5. Add 1 1/4 teaspoons tumeric and 1/4 teaspoon salt.  I added 1/2 a clove of garlic, but at the end of the day I didn’t like the taste of it in the mustard, so I would say to not use it.
  6. Add 5 teaspoons of honey
  7. Blend.  If the consistency is too grainy, keep adding more kombucha vinegar until smooth.

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Kombucha Honey Mustard: Part 1

I remember the exact moment when I first tried kombucha. I was in the passenger seat of the car in the parking lot of a Whole Foods in Long Island New York.  My ex-husband had bought a rather expensive (something like $3) green carbonated drink, which he said was supposed to be really healthy.

I took a sip and was like, “uck, that’s disgusting!”

It was super sour and the base flavor was not that great. It would be my first taste of G.T.’s, one of the the biggest kombucha brewers in the US.

Since it was supposed to be good for me, when we went back to Whole Foods the next weekend, I tried it again, this time the Passionberry Bliss flavor.  My second try went much better, and I was soon hooked!

Since I was on a limited budget (damn law school loans), spending $3 a bottle a day on kombucha (x2 people), was just not in the budget.  I was seriously bummed out. However, after doing some research online, I was delighted to discover that I could brew ‘buch at home for a fraction of the price!

mustard seeds from Sonnentor soaking in kombucha vinegar

Since I have some extra kombucha vinegar laying around, I decided to get creative.  Eric and Jessica Childs (founders of Kombucha Brooklyn in New York City) in their book Kombucha! had a really interesting recipe for kombucha mustard.  I like mustard, so I decided to give it a shot.

Stay tuned for the results!

Hohentauern, Styria

A little more than an hour from Linz is a small village in Styria (Steirmark). During the winter time it is a great place for skiing, but during the rest of the year it is possible to hike up the skiing trails.

It is a wonderful little place for a day hiking trip. There are many trails to chose from for all levels of fitness.

It is also possible to stay for the weekend and there are several hotels in the area. I have personally not stayed in any of these hotels so I cannot make any recommendations.

If you are in the mood for a bite to eat at a cute Austrian restaurant, I would recommend the Passhöhe. Family owned and operated for more than 100 years, this place will not disappoint. However, there are not so many vegetarian or gluten free options as it is very traditional Austrian food.

My First Austrian Encounter

March 2000

From the Diary of my 17 year old self (edited):

March 14, 2000: Breakfast is so much better in Österreich than in Italy.  The bread was excellent.  After breakfast we went to Salzburg. We had a tour with this really nice German lady.  I got a 3rd hole in my ears! I think that my mom will probably kill me.  Unfortunately, they didn’t have any rubbing alcohol at the pharmacy.

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Mirabell Garden, Salzburg (March 2000)

March 15, 2000: It’s snowing! The flakes are huge and so much bigger than at home! Last night it was raining…awful weather.  We are going to Vienna tomorrow.  Hopefully we get to go to the disco tonight!  The Mondsee Church (Mondsee Abbey) was so large it makes American churches seem insignificant.  The Monastery was huge! It was as big as 20 High Schools put together, some stacked on top of each other!  The place we ate at for lunch was a total rip off!  They charged us 50 cents per packet of ketchup! Last time we got ketchup it didn’t cost us anything!  We just got back from the pool. We had to pay 60 shilling (to put my 17 year-old self’s annoyance in perspective, this amounted to about €4.40).  We just got back from the disco.  It was so smokey that sometimes I thought I was going to die.

March 16 2000: We just got back from seeing the palace of Maria Theresa (a.k.a. Schönbrunn Palace), the mother of Marie Antoinette.  It is so cold! The wind chill makes it even colder.  The palace was huge! It had something like 1,444 rooms in it (actually 1,441, but close enough).

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Schönbrunn Palace Gardens (March 2000)

Still March 16, 2000: We are now having a bus tour of Vienna.  We just passed a really big porn/erotic dancing shop.  We are talking Cherry and Web big (I have no recollection of how big this is).  We have just passed the winter palace of Maria Theresa (I believe this is the City Palace).  It had like almost 2,500 rooms.  There are so many churches here!  The ones back home are so plain in comparison (thanks 17 year old me, you already said that).  And none of them are less than a few hundred years old.

We just got back from seeing this really weird house.  It is called Hundertwasser.  Don’t ask me why it is called that.  Oh wait, I was just informed that the last name of the guy who built the apartment building meant “hundred waters”.  They named the building after him.

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Hundertwasserhaus (March 2000)

Still March 16, 2000: I am back at the hotel after a nap and a shower.  Everyone went swimming, but I didn’t want to pay the 60 shillings again (get over it 17 year old me, it was like literally €4.40).

March 17, 2000:  Last night we went to a Strauss concert.  It was really good.  The only problem is, was that we missed the first half of the concert because we went to the wrong Lichtenstein Palace.  But I really liked it.  I thought it was going to be boring, but it wasn’t.  Our teacher told us we had to get up this morning at 6:30 a.m., but I was like, yeah, right.  I got up at 7:00 a.m. (what a rebel I was back then).   Last night before bed, !”§$% dyed my hair brown.  I think it looks good.  Everyone likes it here but I wonder how people are going to react at home.  We just crossed the border into Slovakia…(to be continued…)