Saturday 25 July 2015


Credit for writing out the title goes to my sis >w<

Thursday something that usually never ever happens in Vienna, well, happened.
We had a proper Hollywood, big name stars (.. star, singular, really) movie premiere.

Tom Cruise, after having filmed parts of the newest Mission: Impossible in and on our State Opera, apparently liked it so much he decided that's where he wanted to hold the world premiere of said movie.

I would have loved to watch a movie at the State Opera, especially this one, since I very much enjoyed the previous parts and also watched them film Tom Cruise hurl himself off the side of the building. But alas, no such luck.
I did win tickets for the fan zone though, a fenced off area in front of the Opera where a limited number of fans could watch the stars walk the red carpet.

Admission Wristbands

Part of the red carpet was a staircase, erected specifically for this occasion (and blocking the view of half the Opera House). The Children's Opera got covered too (but in this case that's a good thing).

With space limited, the mobile unit of the Red Cross drove segways.

Presumably, if something happens and they have to cart you off, they hoist their backpacks and strap you into the thus empty holding area ..

Before the whole show started properly, various TV channels filmed their introduction on the red carpet and a few excited looking hosts took their selfies with the crowd.

On that note, if you watched the live stream and found the crowd looked a little unenthusiastic, they really weren't, it was just the weather. When everything finally started off we'd all already been roasting in the sun for a good while.

The main hosts were Jenni Falconer and Steven Gätjen. Steven is one of the few people I actually recognized. He's the German live reporter for the Academy Awards and, more importantly, he used to host Disney Filmparade (a weekly Disney show).

Steven Gätjen
Simon Pegg and Tom Cruise came at about half past four and almost immediately started giving autographs and taking pictures with the fans. Stuck where I was I only saw their arrival on screen though.

Though I couldn't see much from my spot I could tell whereabouts they were from which parts of the crowd seemed to go a bit crazy.

Even when they got closer and even though I was pretty close to the front I didn't get to see more than a few glimpses when I got on tiptoes.

This is my best shot of Simon Pegg during his photo/autograph session.
One of the (happily very few) things that annoyed me that evening was the mutter of "it's just the other guy" when Pegg passed us. Don't get me wrong, there were loads of people wanting his photo and/or autograph. But it's annoying being not quite close enough and thinking "if only those uninterested people weren't between us I might get Simon's autograph".
A girl I'd been talking to before realized then "oh, but it's your guy" and since she was taller and a bit closer tried to get a good shot with my camera. You can see a good deal more of the crowd on her photos, but about as much of Simon as in above picture. It was nice of her though.
(And I don't know why my brain hates me so much, but as soon as I talk to English speaking people it decides to forget everything we've ever learned. I had problems remembering such very difficult words like "suits" and "offices" -_- )

A good deal later Tom Cruise arrived at our spot.
Can you see him?

Yeah well, neither could I.
That's the problem with me being 1.60 m (5'3"), him 1.70 m (5'7"), and the people between us taller.

While Tom Cruise was only about halfway through with signing and picture-taking, Simon Pegg had already changed into his suit.

Talking about the car chase (real screaming, no acting required there) Pegg managed to get in Top Gun (I almost wrote Top Gear there):
He feels the need .. the need for speed!

During one of the questions Simon noticed the people watching from the house opposite and waved up at them. Don't ask me why this gets a special mention, everyone waved at everyone, but that somehow really stuck.

Talking about that house though, and while I'm happy for the people in there getting a great view, this is one of my other minor annoyances. Vienna, as mentioned over and over by the host and the stars, is beautiful. It really is. Unfortunately the office building across the Opera House is far from it. And from what I got to see on the screen they managed to get that building into way too many shots of the red carpet. You'd think they'd set the cameras up so when they film the stars arriving and posing they have the Opera in the background.

After having finished with the fans (and I'm not kidding when I say I'm pretty sure he took a picture with and/or autographed something for everyone who managed to get to barrier) it was Tom Cruise's turn on stage.

I think what got Tom grinning there was when a fan answered the question "how did Ethan Hunt change during the years" with a loud "he got sexier".

What I love about Tom here was that, unlike all the others, he wasn't turned towards Gätjen the whole time he was interviewed. He just grabbed the mic from the host and turned every which way while answering, so everyone could get a proper look at him. (That's also why he's squinting in most of the pictures: when he turned our way he looked directly into the sun.)

No matter what nutter he may be in his private life, in his professional one he is brilliant. I personally think he's a great actor, and judging by accounts of people who've met him and what we saw at the premiere he's a total ace when it comes to fans.

Don Granger, Dana Goldberg and David Ellison

Director Christopher McQuarry greatest fear while filming the plane stunt were birds. I hadn't even thought of that, but yeah, that could have had a messy ending.

I don't know much about Rebecca Ferguson but she seemed really cute.

The most important people apart from the actors were the guys handing out bottles of water. You were allowed to bring a 0,5l bottle into the fan zone, but cuddling with a bunch of people in a 33°C weather that one bottle really wasn't enough. So thanks to whoever paid for those Vöslauers and ta very much to the guys handing them out. Lifesavers, all of you.

This wasn't "our" water guy, but I was to squeezed in to take a picture of him.
And look what I found skipping through the recording: you can actually see us in the (by then already thinning) crowd.

So while I got neither a picture with, nor an autograph of either Tom or Simon (I did manage to get a sunburn though) it was a fun afternoon :)

A Night at the Opera

Or rather an afternoon and two nights in front of it.
Last summer scenes for the new Mission: Impossible movie were being filmed in Vienna and I thought I'd go and see if there was anything to see.

I think it was on the first day that I got to watch them film the Police arriving in front of the Opera. (And not like in the pictures here, but with lights and sirens and the whole shebang.)

Apparently I missed all the fun parts of that day though, as I'd read the day after that they'd also  been filming a car explosion.

The next day I had more luck.

The Ring (the street in front of the Opera) was closed off properly this time, with spectators having to go quite a way down the side streets. We got to watch the cars and tram go back and forth for some time.

I hadn't expected to actually see any of the main actors, but after the stunt people had tested the rig for the stunt, Tom Cruise actually appeared on the roof waving at the onlookers. (And presumably the lady jumping off the roof with him was Rebecca Ferguson, but I didn't even know her name back then, so that didn't get me as excited as seeing Mr Cruise.)

 Here, have a crappy gif of the action:

Saturday 18 July 2015

I've got a Golden Ticket ♫

Well, not really.
But I had the next best thing: an invitation to a Milka chocolate factory.

My sister's got a really lucky hand when it comes to giveaways and this time she won a family trip to Bludenz for their annual chocolate festival plus an exclusive tour of the factory.
Milka - being awesome - decided that, even though they'd meant "two adults and their kids", 4 adults would be okay as well.

They also paid for us to get there, which in this case was by plane to Innsbruck and then on to Bludenz by train ... and the last bit by shuttle bus driven by a guy with apparently places to be.

We stayed at Hotel Traube Braz, which had nice big rooms with a lovely view (which you didn't even have to get out of the bed for.)

Waiting for us were some grab-bags filled with lots and lots of Milka goodness.

This much Milka goodness to be exact:

We had some welcome drinks (my mum got some special Hugo-like drink from the region, I forgot the name but it had a really nice colour) before wandering off to find one of the waterfalls we'd spotted from our balcony. On our way I think we passed a Hobbit's house.

In the evening we were invited to a 5-course dinner. The pictures for the first and last course don't quite match what it says on the menu, but they were fine with us changing stuff around.

Day two started with our tour of the factory. I thought you could actually book tours like that for special occasions, but apparently they don't do this anymore, which made our visit even more special.

First we had a quick intro about Milka and the factory we were at, and then came to the fun part: safety. For our (and the chocolate quality's) safety we had to don a special outfit consisting of closed and skid proofed shoes, a lab coat, a hair net (which in its unopened form looked somewhat like a garter .. which had me wondering for a moment), a beard net if needed, and ear plugs.

Next we came to a table were the ingredients plus various stages of chocolate were shown and could be tasted. Last in line was a chocolate fountain with biscuits, my favourite part here were the as-used-in-chocolate-bars Oreos.

After that we unfortunately (but not unexpectedly) were not allowed to take pictures, which is a pity because they have so much nice stuff in there. You'd think the most interesting part of a chocolate factory is the chocolate, but I loved the various machines and robots. (Yes, I also loved the chocolates we got to try, but still.)

We got to see two different production lines: one for filled 300g chocolate bars, and one for solid 300g bars.

The tour ended with us getting € 20,- to spend at the Lädele (their factory outlet shop) which also had a short History of Milka Walk-through in the back.

After that we were led through the chocolate festival to the VIP area.

I thought we were there for drinks, but it was much better:

Obviously there were drinks too (with it being summer and somewhere around 36°C) and they got refilled as soon as the glass was empty. They also had a buffet. But still, the best part were the lovely ladies with the chocolate.

Apparently, if we'd left later than we did, we would have gotten another goody bag. Because you can never have too much chocolate.
But we left pretty early, on account of it being way too hot. I spent the next hour being dead in our room, and the rest of the afternoon playing pool billiard with dad.

On the third day we tried to divide the chocolate as best we could between our bags (thinking maybe it was a good thing we didn't get those extra goody bags) and at about noon started our journey home.

Thanks Milka, that was fun :)