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Sunday Shopping

Sunday Shopping

It’s 17:45 on a Saturday afternoon, and the fridge is empty. Frantic, you dash to your neighbourhood supermarket. Damn! The doors are locked. Don’t despair! Contrary to popular belief, not all Vienna shuts down on Sundays. Besides supermarkets at most major train stations and the airport (where check-out lines can be punishingly long) most bakery […]

Scent of a City – Exploring Local Colognes

Scent of a City – Exploring Local Colognes

What are the scents that define Vienna? I don’t mean Kaiserschmarrn with warm plums or Christmas market punch or the acrid smell of the carriage horses by Stephansdom. I mean the bottled fragrances – perfumes, colognes, waters, oils – that cannot be purchased around the world in duty-free carts. Seven generations of the Filz family […]

Dr. Daria Siekhaus: Crossing All Boundaries

Dr. Daria Siekhaus: Crossing All Boundaries

It was just 14:00 as I locked my bike on Kolingasse alongside Café Stein where I was to meet Dr. Daria Siekhaus, a cell and developmental biologist and project leader at the Institute for Science and Technology Austria (IST) in Klosterneuberg.  But she had arrived ahead of me and was leaning, half standing, half perched, […]

Book Review: Deconstructing Karl Kraus

Book Review: Deconstructing Karl Kraus

It has to be an event when a writer who is “arguably America’s greatest living novelist” (so says the dust jacket blurb) goes to great lengths to present a revered and particularly difficult Austrian author to an American reading public in a meticulously produced annotated dual-language edition.  The result is an unusual and unusually challenging […]

Music to Vanquish Nations

Music to Vanquish Nations

The camera is focused on a tall, ornate opera house, and we hear the orchestra surge under a deep, soaring bass. It pans down to show two small people walking out. The young woman – Diane Keaton – is protesting; they had a deal, she says in the famous scene in Woody Allen’s Manhattan Murder […]

Austerity and Demoralisation

Austerity and  Demoralisation

The high unemployment that we have today in Europe, the United States, and elsewhere is a tragedy, not just because of the aggregate output loss that it entails, but also because of the personal and emotional cost to the unemployed of not being a part of working society. Austerity, according to some of its promoters, […]

Tenerife: Eccentricity of Nature

Tenerife: Eccentricity of Nature

The final stretch of single track back to the Tenerife village of La Guancha plunged down steeply over loose rocks. It was a hurtling, stomach-lurching, twisting, arm-jarring descent through the pine trees. Tall flowers lined the path and through the larger gaps between the trees, there were glimpses of the deep blue Atlantic Ocean. My […]

The Snail Prevails

The Snail Prevails

Farmers hate snails. The plague of flower and fruit growers, invaders of  kitchen gardens, for many, snails are a bad dream come true.  Not Andreas Gugumuck, who has turned his neighbours’ nightmare into a profitable business: His fields in the outer reaches of Vienna’s 10th District are populated with 200,000 Roman snails. And he is […]

A Ballroom Reborn

A Ballroom Reborn

On 16 August, 2001 a fire broke out on Marxergasse in Vienna’s 3rd District. Allegedly caused by a careless workman, the flames raged for eight hours. Only when the smoke cleared could the damage be assessed: The legendary Sofiensäle, once Vienna’s most beloved ballroom, was a smouldering ruin.   Bath to ballroom The story of […]

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