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… Always Ring Twice?

When my father drove to town to shop at nearby Ikea, he also planned to swing by and perform some minor Mr. Fix-its at our flat.   As he was leaving Ikea, he phoned to say he was five minutes away. Sure enough, five minutes later our buzzer sounded and I let Papa into the […]

Is the West Doomed? (or only Vienna?)

It had been a fascinating lecture (at the Gesellschaft für Außenpolitik und die Vereinten Nationen (ÖGAVN)) in the Hofburg/Stallburg (yes, up a small stone staircase right beside the Lippizaners’ stables.) And as we got up to leave, the young Chinese woman beside me noticed the book on my lap (Wien:Top-spot für Business).  Where could she […]

Eavesdropping

It was a sunny day (sunny for Vienna, at least), so on my way home I decided to stop in for a minute at the MQ, and soak in the rays. Back home in Portugal it had been raining cats and dogs, my mother had told me on the phone, and I found myself laughing […]

Divided We Ride

In our modern, progressive city, cycling is all the rage: Ever since the Green Party’s been running the traffic authority, designated bicycle lanes have been popping up on the city’s streets like veins on blue cheese. I have been on the forefront, weaving my way through traffic, imagining myself a big city rancher herding gas […]

Literary Power

Everyone has a routine when navigating the U-Bahn. Escalator down, take the stairs to the right, and wait on the far side of the platform. One morning as I headed for the out-escalator, I was walking behind a tall man in a dark overcoat. Suddenly he stopped, back-tracked, and crashed right into me. Startling out […]

Hell on Wheels

Negotiating right-of-way on Mariahilferstraße is still an awkward and sometimes painful experience.  For a city cyclist, the switch from car/bike/pedestrian congestion to pedestrian/bike/bus confusion, has had mixed effects. On weekends it’s impossible to steer around the sea of swaying shoppers, but during the week the street is a wide open freeway, perfect for sailing downhill […]

International Intervention

It’s a sunny Saturday morning in the 1st District and an editor is on his way to the bullpen. There’s an Aida coffee shop just round the corner, where perfectly coiffed elderly Wienerinnen meet for a Melange-Klatsch. Just as he is about to leave with emergency nutrition, a visibly irritated man asks if they have […]

Communism Brewing

So far, all of my international visitors have fallen hopelessly in love with Vienna, envying me for its rich culture and history. However, my father-in-law, a Texan investment manager and fierce Republican, had some trouble getting used to the Viennese way of life. During our sightseeing tours, he noticed the multitude of Gemeindebauten, Vienna’s internationally-acclaimed […]

Walk About

When you live abroad for a while, you sometimes stop noticing the differences between Vienna and your homeland – that is until you have visitors from home. When my parents visited recently, they found out the hard way how much extra walking is done in Vienna. Being from America – the Land of Cars – […]

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