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Seven Days in Vienna

Seven Days in Vienna

The night before my flight to Vienna, I sat down to watch Before Sunrise (1995). Despite brutally highlighting the current lacklustre state of my love life, I did enjoy it. Scenes captured Vienna’s beautiful landscape – romance at the Riesenrad, the Danube in the moonlight, seedy bars. In some ways, the film can even be […]

Their (Least) Favourite Thing

On my Austrian husband’s first holiday in the U.S., my whole family was there, and in an annual ritual, we all sat down in front of the TV and put on The Sound of Music. As scenic views of Julie Andrews cavorting through the Alps rolled out before us, my sister exclaimed to her children, […]

Heroes of the Polar Seas

Heroes of the Polar Seas

Sometimes in winter, Austria can be gripped by a cold spell you could swear was worthy of the Arctic. So surely there is no need to actually go there. Yet others have, and two memorials in Vienna honour men who made their names in the frozen north. Now, with a chill in the air, it’s […]

English Teaching

Learning a foreign language, nailing the pronunciation is often the most difficult. Teaching a foreign language, on the other hand, it’s keeping a straight face. I should point out here that I make my own share of beginner’s mistakes. I once asked a confused grocer where I could buy a bunch of Tauben (pigeons), when […]

English Practice

One day on Landstraße, I was searching for an obscure Gasse on my map, when an elderly lady approached, asking “May I help you?” She knew the street and offered to walk me there, about three blocks. I was impressed by her excellent English. After the war, she said, her family had emigrated to New York City, […]

Letters to the Editor: Nov. 2012

To the Editor [Re: “The Yugosphere: Not Just Balkan Nostalgia” TVR Oct. 2012] I think Yugonostalgia is more pronounced in all parts of the former Yugoslavia. I agree that the possibilities offered by cultures are most visible. Renovation of the former homeland will, in my judgment, first be implemented across cultures, but it should be […]

Us and Them

“Zug fährt ab!” sounded the warning of “train departing!” as I jumped through the U-Bahn doors at the last minute before they closed behind me with a loud thud. Thankfully, I had a four-seater all to myself, with an extra seat for my bags and one for my legs. Lacking a better way to pass […]

World Champions at Getting in the Way

World Champions at Getting in the Way

Austria is glowing under the spell of famous Austrian expatriates. When Arnold Schwarzenegger visits his Styrian homeland, dignitaries and photographers go wild. When Frank Stronach founds a party in Vienna, a shock wave goes through the country. Ridiculous? No. It’s a show of intellectual arrogance to make fun of the Styrian-American speach, appearance and world […]

Being Austrian

Being Austrian

“To be honest, I think Austrians are quite lazy. Lazy and unfriendly,” said Clemens L., lounging on the Donauinsel on a mid-week holiday afternoon. “At the same time they always believe that they are oh-so-great, which they are not.” Born in Tyrol, the 21-year-old student’s judgment about his fellow citizens can be construed as harsh. […]

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