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The Main Problem for Viennese

14 Nov

From Helmut Qualtinger, author, cabaret artist and more.

“The problem for every Viennese: One can’t bear it in Vienna anymore–nor anywhere else.”

Measures of drink in Viennese German

30 Aug

My comment: For my German (Viennese)-speaking readers. Just a quick note for the others: the “erl” at the end of a word forms the diminutive thereby making each amount sound harmless or at least more harmless than it otherwise would. You’ll notice there is no “erl” on the last one. That’s because it’s “a double”–in other words a two-liter bottle of (usually very acidic and unpleasant) wine.

Eating out

16 May

Yes, you read that correctly. As of yesterday our restaurants are open and people are allowed to eat out. There are, of course, certain restrictions, but they don’t seem that tough.

What is really interesting and, I feel, particularly Viennese is that the city of Vienna is issuing gift certificates to each household for use in a restaurant. EUR 25 for single households and EUR 50 for families. Gives new meaning to the expression “Put your money where your mouth is,” doesn’t it?

Runners

28 Mar

Not me! I’m just a dog-walking observer. And as an observer I can’t help noticing how many more runners there are than there were just two weeks ago.

The other thing I’m noticing is how fast some of them are running. I still remember walking through Central Park in New York with my then Austrian partner, about 15 years ago, who couldn’t get over how fast all the runners were moving. Vienna was in the throes of the “slow running” fad, and until now I hadn’t really thought about it, but Vienna was still in the throes until the coronavirus lockdown started!

Clearly, there’s currently a lot of energy out there that is not getting used up in other ways.

Day 11 – There are signs in the parks

26 Mar

These are new. As the weather gets warmer probably a necessary precaution. I wish the teams of young men hanging them up had thought to take the advised distance into account, though. They were separated only by the thickness of the tree, one holding and one tying.

Special coronavirus opening hours

21 Mar

Maylo and I are still in bed as I write this. We would get up (it has stopped raining), but then we would get to the Trafik before they opened and not be able to get treats (Maylo) and Saturday newspaper and instant lottery ticket (me). They’re opening an hour later than usual for the time being. Special coronavirus opening hours.

A good start to the day

20 Feb

Just one of those fun exchanges with the men of the MA 48 (city sanitation) to start the day off well, including a good example of Wiener Schmäh:

Maylo and I walked out of our door and down the street this morning. There was a worker from the MA 48 in his distinctive orange uniform at the entrance to the apartment building next door. As we approached, he held up his hand to someone in the building. Maylo and I stopped, and then he encouraged us to carry on and made sure his colleague who was bringing out the trash bins waited until we had passed. I thanked him. A few seconds went by and he said, “Auf den Hund passma [passen wir] auf.” That is, “We’re looking out for the dog” emphasis on “dog”. What could I do but laugh, thank him again, and carry on.

That kind of humor is part of what is called “Wiener Schmäh”–a kind of humor that requires a winky emoticon.

“Magistratsabteilungen” or MAs are city offices. They all have numbers and you start to realize the central points of your life by which numbers you know by heart–MA 6 for pets, MA 35 for immigration, MA 42 for parks and gardens, and MA 48 for sanitation.

Vanillekipferln 2019

23 Dec

It’s been a while since I’ve written about Vanillekipferln. For anyone who has not taken my word for how important Vanillekipferln are to the Viennese at Christmas let me quote a statistic from the Kurier: 71% of Austrians think of Vanillekipferln when they think of Christmas cookies. In Vienna I suspect that percentage is even higher. (I don’t have a sense that Vanillekipferln are quite as central to Christmas in Tirol and Vorarlberg, for example.) 😉

In any case, Merry Christmas to all my readers who celebrate Christmas!

07 – Lainzer Tor to Rodaun

27 Oct

Dear Reader,

Yes, we are back to the Rundumadum trail. Today we took advantage of the last warm day of autumn (the ORF tells us) to walk the seventh stretch, from the Lainzer Tor to Rodaun. And we (Maylo and I) walked with a friend (which I will use as an excuse for not noticing more about the scenery and happenings).

Because Maylo came with us we could not do the usual route through the Lainzer Tiergarten. The City of Vienna being what it is, though, had devised an alternate route for people with dogs. 🙂 The first half hour or so of this route was along roads lined with beautiful houses and gardens. We were a little distracted from the beauty around us, however, as it was all we could do to not get run over by bikes and cars and to not crash into other pedestrians. (There were many–many–people out enjoying the beautiful weather.)

After this stretch, we made it to a “Forststraße” where cars, at least, were not allowed and could take time to photograph the view and the vineyards.

Then we followed the path along the wall of the Lainzer Tiergarten until we turned off to the left in the direction of Mauer. It was an exquisite walk through an autumn woods at its peak, with just the occasional flurry of bright leaves blown from the trees.

We briefly considered a stop at the Schießstätte–one of the many simple restaurants that fortify the walkers in the Vienna Woods–but decided we weren’t hungry enough yet. We carried on and found to our suprise and pleasure that both of us did know the area somewhat after all. We had both, separately, done the Stadtwanderweg (City Hiking Trail) #6 at some point, which in part coincides with the Rundumadum trail at this point.

Before we really expected it, we arrived in Kalksburg in the 23rd district and followed the trailmarkers to the Liesing River and then walked along the river to the Number 60 tram.

The tram routes in Vienna do get changed occasionally and not always in ways that maximize convenience. This time, however, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the 60 tram had been extended to Westbahnhof (the westerly train station) and took that more or less home.

Next time Rodaun to Alterlaa …

Distance of alternative route: 7.5 km

Time: approx. 2 hours subtracting the break we took on a sunny bench

More Helmut Deutsch

6 Sep

Ever since I read Helmut Deutsch’s memoirs I’ve been meaning to post this “review” I wrote almost 10 years ago of a concert with Barbara Bonney (who doesn’t come off terribly well in Deutsch’s memoirs), Angelika Kirchschlager (who does), and Helmut Deutsch himself.

Here goes, finally:

An Evening of Duets, 5 November 2009, Konzerthaus, Mozart-Saal

I have just come home from a mythical concert. It was the kind of concert you hear about the way you might hear about unicorns but can never be sure exist. It was a concert that made me forget that parts of Pakistan are increasingly ruled by the Taliban, that Iran is building up nuclear capability, and that bonuses are back on Wall Street with no one having learned anything from the economic crisis we are not even yet out of. It was a concert that made the world seem whole and a cheerful place to be. And it truly was miraculous—it provided a mass healing of the TB patients who usually attend concerts in the Mozart-Saal in the cold months. I think I heard only six coughs the whole evening. I’m referring to the evening of duets done by Barbara Bonney, Angelika Kirchschlager, and Helmut Deutsch at the Konzerthaus.

Kirchschlager was completely her usual extravagant self, a kind of Dorabella to Bonney’s more Fiordiligi-like gravitas. Her singing as always was simply an extension of herself. More than any singer I have had the privilege to hear live Kirchschlager embodies what one of my singing teachers referred to as singing from the inside out. She is, quite simply, a force of nature.

Deutsch was even more than usual a frame for the singers. In fact he, together with the Steinway grand piano open, unusually, on the full stick, was quite literally the perfect frame this evening, enveloping the singers in the warm curve of the piano, supporting them with his exquisite playing and remaining unobtrusive yet present in the background for the bows.

Most touching was Bonney who recently, according to reliable sources, has had several very poor years vocally. The voice this evening was not quite what it was in her early career, and I like it better. It has lost some of the ping and for that gained a kind of gentleness which at times almost suggests a fragility as well as a maturity it did not have before. It has much more power to move me than it ever did. And in the second encore, by Gounod, when she started alone and sang with such fervency it was almost unbearably moving. This rather hardened concert-goer quite suddenly found tears streaming down her face.

At the end of the evening one realized again how unusual the concert had been. Not only had the coughs been soothed, but not a single person had clapped in the French group in spite of the fact that the group incorporated the work of several composers. And when the last tones of the second encore died away, there was at first a great hush and then a roar of approval. Then came perhaps the biggest miracle of all. This Viennese audience, who usually insists on four or five encores, understood that the program was complete and needed no additional songs. After bringing the performers back for a few more rapturously received bows, the members of the audience gathered up their things and flowed in perfect harmony from the concert hall.