Sunday, August 27, 2006

auf Wiederschauen

We said goodbye to Graz with a fantastic meal at Stainzerbauer. The waiter gave us each a glass of Styrian Scnapps as a goodbye and thank-you.
We're in Vienna for our last 2 nights, and tomorrow we fly home!

We can hardly believe how fast the year went by! We'll see some of you very soon, and will miss some of you very much.

... that's all folks!

Friday, August 25, 2006

A last look around Graz

Here is a collection of panoramic views around Graz that we will miss seeing every day:
Looking South over Graz from the Schlossberg: A view of the rooftops in the Old Town:
Mariahilfe church and the Murinsel:

The Hauptplatz with the Rathaus in the distance: The stands selling food in the Hauptplatz:
Looking North on the river Mur from the Hauptbrucke:
Looking South on the river Mur from the Hauptbrucke:
Schlossbergplatz with the steps up the Schlossberg:

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Here are some of the paintings I've made during my time in Graz. As you will notice, I'm really into painting trees. I am drawn to their sinuous shape. They are simultaneously alive and static. They have character and emotions of their own.

gouache, acrylic on canvas, 50 x 70 cm
This is the last painting I made here, and I feel like it comes full-circle. It could be a mature version of the first painting I made here, incorporating all the lessons I learned as I experimented with the paints.

der Alte Baum
gouache, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 80 cm
In this one I decided to not paint the whole tree, and have more of a close-up to the trunk.

The Cherry Tree
gouache, acrylic, pen on canvas, 60 x 80 cm
I'm not actually sure if this is a cherry tree, but I thought it should be one. The composition was inspired from views I had while hiking in Salzburgland, and the tree is inspired by a tree that grows on the fortress in Salzburg.

Yellow Field
gouache, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 80 cm
This painting was inspired by my train ride from Vienna to Budapest. There were huge fields of yellow flowers rolling by out the window.

La Reve [the dream]
gouache, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 80 cm
This painting started off abstract, and eventually a tree emerged. I really like the dripping effect of the gouache.

Across The River
gouache on canvas, 60 x 80 cm
I saw my first big Alps on a train ride to Salzburg. The massive rock walls left an impression on me. I also tried experimenting more with the gouache paint on this painting.

gouache on canvas, each panel 25 x 25 cm
These three paintings were going to be a series of abstract shapes, but I just couldn't resist putting trees in them!

Two Trees
gouache, acrylic on canvas, 40 x 30 cm
I don't consider this painting to be finished, but I like the idea of keeping it full of potential, like the two trees will grow up together. This was when I first noticed the nice effect of the gouache dripping.

St Jakob im Winter
arylic on canvas, 40 x 50 cm
I was so inspired by our weekend in St Jakob with Ingrid & Alois, that I decided to make then a painting for their hut. The tough part was that I had never painted snow before! It is much more complicated than "just white."

acrylic on canvas, 40 x 50 cm
In this painting I wanted to make an interesting abstract composition with the colors, while still including a tree as the subject matter.

The Beet Tree
gouache, acrylic on canvas, 40 x 50 cm
This was my first painting here. I just had fun with the colors. I didn't want to pressure myself to make anything great. I think it's a very happy painting.

All images © 2006 Robin Litster Sussillo

Monday, August 21, 2006

Eating Habits

As we look forward to returning to the USA, there are several foods we are excited to eat again:
- Buffalo Wings
- nachos
- Korean food
- Chinese food
- Mexican food
- sushi
- greasy diner food
- spicy foods
- hamburgers (David)
- peanut butter (Robin)
- delivery!!!
Of course, there are many foods we've come to love here, and will definitely miss. Most of all, we will miss Kürbiskernöl. The dark, nutty oil that is a specialty of this region of Austria. In fact, we may go insane without it, and will need to find a way to start an import business so we don't turn into homicidal maniacs. This stuff is sooooo goooood!!

There is a juice brand here that I love, Pago. It is 100% natural, and is concentrated so you have to mix it 1/2 & 1/2 with sparkling water. Very refreshing and tasty!
The yogurt here is so much better than in the USA. It's rich, creamy and delicious. The only brand that comes close in the USA is "Brown Cow." There's this stuff called "topfen creme" which my mother was obsessed with eating when she visited. It's like yogurt on steroids- yum!
The bacon and sausages here are excellent. We will miss all the different choices once we're home and stuck with Oscar Mayer.

This is an excellent canned soup that we are very fond of and will definitely miss. It's got beans, veggis, oats, and bacon in a rich, hearty soup.
We will also really miss the warm food and cold refreshing drinks served at the huts in the mountains. Now it's back to packing your own lunch and eating squished sandwiches.

Also, my friend Michele who's living in Paris now pointed out after a visit to New York that you can get coffee in a paper cup in NYC (well, anywhere in the USA). And we realized, we have not drunk coffee out of a paper cup in a year! Actually, nothing out of paper or plastic. When they have street festivals here beer is served in a real glass and the food on real plates with silverware! As we've said before, it's the little things...

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Goodbye Party

This was our last weekend in Graz (since we will be in Vienna before our flight next weekend), so Andrea & Jakob had us over for a BBQ!!! Yummy! Werner, Alois & Ingrid were there too.

They all gave David a tie and me a scarf and edelweiss necklace (all are officially pieces of Austrian Tracht). They were presented on these great little stick figures of us that Jakob made:
Ingrid gave us a zucchini that grew in her garden, and this was the smaller of the two!! Here it is next to a normal bottle of wine, wow!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


This week I (Robin) took a trip to Bratislava, Slovakia. David is busy finishing up his research before we leave for home, but I wanted to take advantage of still being in Europe! I met a really nice girl from Australia on the train, so we hung out in the city together which was really nice. I stayed in a "botel", how fun!

A panorama of the old town:
Looking across the river to the depressing blocks of communist-built apartment blocks.
This is the "new bridge" that the communists built in the 1970's. I wonder if the lookout platform was to spy on who was floating along the Danube. Bratislava is only about 10 kilometers from the Austrian border.

The old town is really charming:
hmmm... what do you think this says?
I thought these guys had great facial expressions:

I came across an indoor market: