Archive | July, 2012

Bösendorfer pianos

30 Jul

Somehow I had missed the news that the Bösendorfer building in the 4th district of Vienna with the beautiful concert hall, as well as production floor, was going to be torn down. Last Wednesday I picked up a copy of the free newspaper in Vienna “Heute” and what should I see on page 13 but a photo of the building already half gone and a caption that says the site would provide room for 80 new apartments. The company will go on. There is a new Bösendorfer concert hall now in the Mozart House on Domgasse, and the showrooms with practice facilities and the factory in Wiener Neustadt continue to operate, but somehow it is not the same. Apparently someone in Vienna’s Office for the Preservation of Historic Sites said that the building was a classic case for a commemorative plaque only. Even in Vienna.


Vivaldi in Vienna

28 Jul

This morning I learned in the most pleasant way possible that Antonio Vivaldi died in Vienna. There is a very nice Vivaldi monument in the park around the Votiv Church.

Vivaldi Monument

This morning I noticed something that is not there every day.

Vivaldi Monument with rose

And this is a close-up of the rose …

The rose

In case you can’t read the heart-shaped tag it simply says “Antonio Vivaldi, 28 July 1741.” At first I thought the rose was to celebrate his birthday but when I got home I checked my music dictionary and found out that he was buried in Vienna on that day.

Wonderful to be remembered–and so beautifully–after well over 250 years!

More things growing in Vienna

25 Jul

Whether by accident or design there are squash plants growing in some concrete planters not far from the communal gardens. I was very tempted to pick the blossoms and make stuffed squash blossoms but (a) I don’t know how 😉 and (b) I’d rather see what happens with them. The photo below is at least a week old. They have grown considerably since then. (We’ve had quite a bit of rain.)

squash plants in the city

Taking care of trash in Vienna – 2

22 Jul

Waste or trash prevention [Müllvermeidung] has been a hot topic for years in Vienna. One of the first things I noticed 24 years ago when I arrived was that you had to pay for bags in the grocery stores. Most people brought their own and I quickly learned to, too. Stores are now required to have containers for different kinds of packaging after the checkout area, and customers have the right to unpack what they have bought right there and leave the trash in the store. No point in carrying it home and then having to separate it and dispose of it there!

A truly creative approach for preventing unnecessary waste was written up in yesterday’s Kurier*.  A man named Christof Stein has had the really clever idea of buying heir-less estates and getting the public to come directly to the effects and choose what they want. He waits until he has several such estates, puts together a list of the addresses which he publishes on Facebook a few days ahead of time ( People who are interested pay EUR 10 for “entrance” to the apartments in question and, for that sum, can take away whatever they can carry and fit into their car. One of the photos showed two young men carrying out a (presumably working) refrigerator! And if the treasure seekers don’t find anything they want, they even get their EUR 10 back.

Even better than craigslist, I think!

* “Nachlass-Hopping: Auf Schatzsuche in alten Wohnungen”. Kurier, 21. Juli 2012.

Viennese dialect and I

21 Jul

For years I have fondly been telling myself that I understand Viennese dialect. (I have even learned to say a few phrases.) This belief has been based on a certain facility to understand what is said in Hans Moser* films and has been supported by Viennese friends who speak high German with me, albeit with a Viennese accent. One thing about walking Mylo, though, is that I run into people who have no idea that I am a foreigner and who speak with me as they speak with other Viennese. And I understand, if I am lucky, about half of what they are saying! Quite a shock just before the 24th anniversary of my arrival in this city.

*  A wonderful Viennese stage and film actor (1880-1964) who often played the concierge or a similar role and was famous for his melancholic demeanor and how indistinctly he spoke.

Waterproofing a raincoat

21 Jul

Imagine my surprise when the dry cleaner asked me if I wanted to have my raincoat “impregnated” (in German “imprägniert”). Just one possible pitfall when navigating life in German … 😉

Waldbeer Stanitzl @ Café Landtmann

21 Jul

A few days ago I had to run the kind of errands (taking things to my tax adviser and so on) that make one feel in need of a treat. Since Café Landtmann on the Ring, one of the oldest and most traditional Viennese coffeehouses, lies on the route home from my tax adviser, I decided to stop there for my treat. Good choice! (See photo.)

Waldbeer Stanitzl at the Café Landtmann

It didn’t only look good. It was delicious!!! 🙂