Yesterday night I participated at http://journeyvienna.at/. “Journey to the end of the night. Join us for a free street game of epic proportion; a pursuit across Vienna in multiple parts.” Basically, its a game of “tag” done in the whole city of Vienna, spreading over many square kilometers and a rough distance of 10km and more. Its fun, its geek, its exercise, its social.
I wondered if I should participate because it started at 18:30 and I just arrived on 16:05 on Vienna International Airport coming from Thessaloniki from a meeting of organik-project.eu ad: organik is drupal+semantics for SMEs to help knowledge management, it pays my bills. So, when exiting the airplane I checked with some people I know if anyone else participates and Marius Kintel did, so I decided to go. First reason: exercise! I haven’t been running or sweating for a week, so any reason to exercise is a good one for a geek like me.
I guess a lot of photos will pop up today, I made a view and I made some “live action” videos for you to enjoy. Below also a video of the award ceremony. To better show what happened, I tracked my route with walkjogrun.net/
My Journey: btw: when I usually speak of “war stories” (term I will use below) I mean the term in the meaning used in project management, when people talk about experiences, but here it also works well
(original walkjogrun.net track)
Arrived late at 19:00 at Werkzeugh where a big crowd already gathered. I guess you will get pictures of that soon. Didn’t see Marius, but I didn’t want to run alone, so I asked Richard if I can join his party. He introduced me to his group of 5 people, including Tim: an Australian living in Germany who just arrived for a weekend in Vienna and was invited to run by his friends – excellent. Spotting Marius, I chatted with him and was impressed by his geek preparations. He already scheduled all public transport on his iPhone and had a backpack of equipment with him, I thought my chances to win are higher with him, so I asked him and Daniel if I could join. So we began…
Fin announced the rules and started the game – off we went in south direction Zentagasse. Took a tram (together with 2 other runners with whom Marius, Daniel and I shared a small softdrink I brought – team! :-). Exited the tram directly in the safe zone at checkpoint 1. Prayed for my sins at checkpoint 1 (that was the task), then back to the tram. Chaser! Because we were sure to still be in the safe-zone on Paulanergasse, we discussed him away from us (ha, arguments can safe you, the pen is stronger than the chaser, etc.). Still, we wanted to cross the street to get on the tram again, and the tram station was not safezone. So while standing next to the baffled chaser who was occupied thinking about life, Marius, Daniel and I slowly moved towards tram station, when the tram arrived in the station and had doors open, we hit the tires and ran. The chaser suddenly realized his dumbfoddledy and was behind us, we split and entered the tram from three entries – safe zone on the tram. phew, nobody lost. Ok, getting off tram and to 13a to get to Südbahnhof. We planned to cross the park cleverly but got lost, and the cell-based tracking of Marius iPhone was not precise enough to tell us the truth of our fate. Although we used every bush and moved very indian-rogue-style, we ended up Arsenalstrasse again. Shit, ok, but instead of following original plan of “through the shadows of the park”, we gave it a try and went down arsenalstrasse. Spotting some chasers, we went into the park again and went from bush to bush. Nearly in the safe-zone, we were walking behind someone who seemed to be a runner – but he didn’t move as suspiciously as a runner (looking back every 10 secs, being nervous, etc) and we noticed too late when he turned around and chased us. I crossed the street, Marius and Daniel and I split, and I was on safe-zone at Arsenal, Checkpoint 2. Marius got cought here, which was his team sacrifice to make our team win at the end (see video below :-). I did not find checkpoint 2 and ran around arsenal uselessly but surely scared one guy walking his dog when I was hiding in the bushes. Found checkpoint 2, danced there, and met Tim again (whom I didn’t recognize now as someone I knew already) and met Wolfgang. I asked Tim if I could join him, but his plan didn’t sound convincing. Wolfgang’s plan sounded much better – taking long extra walks to avoid chasers at all. Ok, so we went SOUTH-EAST of checkpoint 2, which took us really far down.
As far as this rotten fence in the middle of some military compounds, probably 800m south of checkpoint 2 (crazy).
We had to run south of the complex there and ended up on Landstrasser Gürtel and then went up Landstrasse Hauptstrasse. Our plan was to enter checkpoint 3 from the east side, through Barichgasse. We jogged the whole part up to Eslarngasse and once we saw the Juchgasse, we knew we were in chaser-area again. Everything went well according to plan, the park was safe-zone and we had to find “a LAZOR”, I guess correctly that someone would have setup the lazor-bike and would lasertag on one of the ww2 bunkers in the park. Right, on the west side of the park we found a lot of chasers lasertagging.
Excellent, Wolfgang and I tagged and went on. None of the chasers followed us (ha!) and we ran into a group of 5-10 blue ones who said that the way we came in is safe – ok! So we exited through Barichgasse, but on Landstrasse Hauptstrasse a chaser was on us. We accidentially split and I ran down Messenhausergasse, following our plan of “run along the danube and then come to checkpoint 4 via Radetzkyplatz”. I was alone, here is the moment on video:
And I took a wrong street and ended up at Siemens (oh shoots), but used the moment to call my wife Ingrid to say “everything is fine, it rocks”. I stuck to Wolfang and my plan, running along danube, and expected to find him. But he was already ahead of me, as I later learned. I didn’t want to go up Radetzkyplatz, as I didn’t know the area too well. Wolfgang knew it and would have known some shortcuts. But I know the area around Strandbar Hermann good, so I went there to get up to Vordere Zollamtstrasse at the Strandbar ramp. That was really awful – going alone up there, sure to face a few chasers. No one in sight, I crossed the street, 50m to safe zone… chaser behind me! running… chasers in front of me (in the safe zone) … running, avoiding the front chasers just out of instinct, falling into bushes, tagged, but on Zollamstrasse, which is safe zone and they accepted this. Ok, didn’t find checkpoint 4 on the front, went around the building with two chasers who also looked for the checkpoint (this is so fun, that you can talk and socialize with chasers while in safe zones). At checkpoint 4 I met Wolfgang again! He was already finished safing the nucleus, so I asked him to wait for me which was fine with him. Here is the task “free nuclear science”:
Wolfgang and I went with a bigger group who wanted to take the tram. Wolfgang said he knew a shortcut through the buildings and across the bridge, which would bring us cross the 200 meter to the “ring” safe-zone. As we didn’t know how the “getting the tram” plan of the bigger group would go, we split from them and went across the bridge to ring. We met chasers at the ring, inside safe-zone, they asked us where to find runners (ha-never). We also met runners who asked for a safe passage and we passed on the route we took, which was probably not safe anymore. On ring we were safe, so we wanted to run along. Instead of running all, I suggested to jump one station on U4 to Schottenring, fine.
Entering and exiting the station is not-safe, so we were careful and stood guard while waiting for the tram, also we picked the waggon which would be right in the middle at the “stairs” exit so we would have three ways to run if trouble came – which did not. Anyway, the preparations are all the fun. Back on ring, we met Tim, who was a yellow “respawned” runner and I recognized him from checkpoint 2 and we asked him to join us. He recognized me also, he was with the group I initially joined but left for Marius. So, regroup of this team in the middle of the night. At checkpoint 5 we were sure to die, as we have been warned of many chasers south of it. We came in north, Neutorgasse, it was fine. Of course, every pedestrian, every couple, every guy-walking-dog peacefully could be a chaser, so it was tense… 🙂
btw, you see guys-walking-dogs everywhere on the streets around game-time. If they were safe-zones, the game would be easy 🙂
Checkpoint 5 was fun, we were greeted with the task to improve a theater play. The girl said she prepared some roles for us, one was “Astronaut”, and I immediately said: then the others have to be Captain and Dolphin – which was true. I guess right – it was from mp3experiment two. I was the Captain, Tim the lovesick Dolphin, Wolfgang the astronaut. I centered my play around “searching for love” and we had a dance at the end, Disney would be proud of us. I want to see the video!
We went back the way we came, no chasers but again tense, and decided to stick together. Tim said it was his first time in Vienna and he had no clue about the city and show the instructions to strangers to find his way, awesome that he made it so far! He is really motivated. We met some chasers sitting on a tramstation on Ring, but that was safezone. Phew. Took the tram to Rathaus, walked next to metalab (whew, I thought we will meet some chasers there, just BECAUSE, but we were lucky) and into the backstreets to Lange-Gasse. Our plan was to approach checkpoint 6 from West, Burggasse, as this is opposite of the obvious entrance. We planned our entry to checkpoint 6 on my Nokia E70 with google maps (ah, E70 rocks (careful-explicit language behind that link)).
No chasers, but still used our proven approach: “gentlemen, it is an honor to know you. This could be the last time we see each other alive, if we have to run, run towards the safe-zone, good luck”.
Inside safe-zone, we learned that 6 blues arrived before us (amazing!) but were drinking and partying with a wedding that was in the pub that was the checkpoint. We drank some shots and decided to win the game now and party later at the final checkpoint (you know, don’t eath the marshmellow yet, our parents gave us the right values…:-).
Ok, Museumsquartier would be tough because that was the final point and chasers would be everywhere. Tim, Wolfgang and I decided to approach the back-entry at Breite Gasse through narrow side-streets and, if things go wrong, run south to Mariahilfer street to take the entry there. No chasers, we smoothly went throught the back-entry. Safe-Zone! Finished! To have a clear winner, I said to Tim and Wolfgang that we should stop and run down the stairs to the Electric Avenue, who is there first is the winner. We did so, I was first, but at Raum D where the finishing line was actually upstairs in the Quintessenz office, so I entered this after Wolfgang, who knew. We were happy! As we did the whole thing together and we also did the last sprint ex-equo, we said we were there at the same time, thanks to Wolfgang! We arrived at 23:08 (my watch).
Tim was also good in the field of respawned runners.
Here is the war stories Wolgang exchanged with his buddies:
I also exchanged war stories with Marius:
Fin came late to give the awards ceremony and Chris asked me to do the bar of Quintessenz for a moment, so I had a reason to drink – I would miss the last bus anyway, so I could also have a longer party now. We got our prices, gave our talks, had a lot of fun.
Thanks to the organizers!!! you rock, and I hope you had as much fun as we did.
At the ceremony I met Christian “Twistie”, a guy with whom I studied and whom I didn’t see for years, so we had many things to talk about and catch up on things happening in our lives, like, for example, the vineyard church I would usually be at on sunday mornings when not blogging about jtteotn, or his work of improving the java jit-compiler. Wih his friend Geri we hang out at Cantina until 3am, and met Sophie and Susanne, who also raced, they were on the table next to us. Sophie made the winning shoe I and Wolfgang got.
(As childish as I am – I am very happy about keeping the shoe for us and will expose it at the www.gnowsis.com offices, Wolfgang was fine with our price being on exposé there).