After nine years as an International Civil Servant in the post of Chief, Training Section, in the On-site inspection (OSI) division of the CTBTO, I finished my last term, after three extensions of contract (2 years each) beyond the official retirement age. In my job I was responsible for developing the training programme for future inspectors under the CTBTO, while conducting training for different groups of audience through the years: diplomats, technical experts, and specific courses for potential (future) inspectors. This meant running a complex of outreach activities plus actual training for experts who later get involved in the development of the OSI regime.

The OSI Division organized a farewell party on Oct 11, 2011, my last working day.

OSI Director congratulating

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Hershfinkels were on a ski vacation in March 2011, and on the way back stopped in Vienna for two days. On Sunday 13 March we went for a walk in downtown Vienna.

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Street in Vienna

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This summer again our grandchildren came to spend some time with us in Vienna. First the Geva kids (Yoav, Adi and Noam) arrived. During their first weekend here we went to visit the mouse Forfel in Burg Fortechstein which is in Burgenland. During the summer there is a middle ages festival for kids in the burg (castle).

Burg Fortechstein

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The next weekend the Hershfinkel kids (Shira, Maya and Roy) arrived. We had a nice weekend with the six of them walking along the Donau, in the Alte Donau on pedal boats, in the evening in the Rathhaus film festival watching a modern version of the opera Carmen and a sunday afternoon on the Sommerrodelbahn.

We are in Vienna

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Carmen at the Rathaus film festival

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Feeding the geese on the Danube

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Alte Donau pedal boats

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Sommerrodelbahn in Vienna/Mauerbach

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Every year on the Sunday following May 5th there is a memorial day at the concentration camp at Mauthausen, Austria, This was a central camp providing force workers to dozens of other camps in Austria during the second world war. People were pushed to work until death in inhuman conditions. May 5th is the day the camp was released by the US and British forces.

Mauthausen camp is on a hill in the midst of beaytiful country side of rolling hills, and seeing this it is inconceivable how cruel can human being be towards other human beings. It was mainly a camp for political prisoners but many Jews have perished here including many children (see Mathausen on Wikipedia).

Delegations from many countrys participate in the memorial day which starts with ceremonies at the different monuments built around the camp by states whose citizens were inmates here. Delegations also put flowers on the different monuments.

The jewish community of Vienna organises a ceremony at the Jewish memorial that was erected by the state of Israel. The Israeli ambassador and other members of the embassy participate also, including the ambassador to the IAEA and CTBTO.

After the ceremonies there is a central ceremony at the camp and each delegation puts a wreath at the central memorial. It is quite a big event, and the Italians are especially colorfull with their flags of the different communities from italy who participate.

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After 21 March the spring suddenly arrived. We made a weekend trip to the Vienna woods. We visited the Schloss Grafenstein, which we found closed, but comanding a nice view of the Danube. A short visit to Tuln center and it beautiful square.

Next weekend we took a walk in the neighborhood on Beethovegang and its surroundings and found the trees exploding with flowers of all colors.

Schloss Grafenstein

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Myrafalls are a beautiful nature site near Muggendorf, not far from Vienna. It is a cascade of small waterfalls in a canyon; the canyon is equipped with wooden boardwalks and stairs and the entrance fee is 2 Euros. There are restaurants and parking on both ends.

In April, when Aviv (our daughter) was visiting us we went to the site for a nice day trip which we enjoyed very much. For Israelis such water sites are very atractive, especially for us who leave in Beer Sheva which is in the desert.

The trip to Myrafalls and back was also beautiful passing through wooded hils. These hills are actually the eastern edge of the Alps range. The mountain peaks in Semering were stil snow covered as can be seen from the main road (A2) and the water in the stream are snow that melted not long ago.Aviv tasted the water which are fresh and cold.

Next to the falls there is an unpaved way that was used in prevous centuries to bring down wood from the mountains on mule drawn carts; these left their marks in the soft rocks as can be seen in one of the pictures. When energy demands were lower then today the flow was also used for creating energy in a mill that turned later to hydroelectrical plant for a few decades.

This blog is a reminder of an old visit to St Anton that we made in January 2006. St Anton is one of the best ski resorts in Austria and we went there to visit Ittai (our son) who was having fun skiing there. St Anton is an old town spread along one main street running east west in a valley below the mountains. On the main streets you can see nice hotels and restaurants all decorated in the old tradition. It was a very cold period of the year, but most of the days were sunny and beutiful; still, it was too cold to sit outside even when the chairs were covered with sheep skin, so we went inside to warm up with a good Austrian coffrr. More ski resorts around the area are Zurs and Lech (see map above). We went one day on a trip to Bergenz and found ourselves in a frozen valley which is on the St Anton pass (on the way back we used the 14 km tunnel below the pass). Trees looked like they are taken from the story book about the trees with glass leaves.

On the way to Bergenz we stopped for a visit in Feldkirch; this is a typical Austrian town sitting on the river ILL with a central market place, a castle and remains of a city wall arouthe old city. For a link to Feldkirch see

http://gemgis-vorarlberg.geoportal.at/VORARLBERG/FrontController?project=feldkirch6800

From Feldkirch we went to Bergenz which is another typicl Austrian town.

Business signs are a special art in central Europe and here you may see a few examples collected in Feldkirch.

By the end of the week grandma cleaned-up and C&A store for all to have presents.

The other attraction of the day was the Prater amusement park from where they came exhausted.

On Sunday we enjoyed the Haus der Musik, which is the Museum of sound and then had sandwiches in the stadtpark with Strauss. After that we finished with a cake in the hueriger.

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