Well done to the students at Vienna’s MODUL Uni for making fun music video – not bad PR for the Uni and City.
Wandering through Vienna’s streets it’s always worth keeping eye open for courtyards and passageways in which nestle shops, restaurants and galleries. Be warned they are not always obvious to the uninitiated despite the efforts of entrepreneurs to attract your attention with strategically placed signs. Part of the problem can be that despite the signs it’s not always obvious whether a doorway is a private or public entrance. Moreover, Vienna streets have so many signs directing you to shops or indicating offices and alike that after a while you tend to filter them out, the way we manage to not quite watch the TV commercials.
Many a Vienna passageway or courtyard provides a wonderful setting for restaurant, bar, or heurigen, a peaceful oasis in which to drink, eat and chat. Others are often home to interesting independent shops. If you do discover or regularly frequent such a location it’s always worth asking yourself about the history of the build(s) which surround you.
A favourite location of mine forms a useful short cut from the Vienna English Theatre and Veganista (the Vegan ice cream shop). It also has a surprising history.
Despite housing galleries, shops, restaurants, offices, apartments and flats (with assorted business signs on the main streets) the passageway linking Lerchenfelderstraße with Neustiftgasse is one of those locations that people seem to often miss. More than once lifelong residents of Vienna have been surprised when I’ve suggested we take this particular short cut. It was a the result of such surprise – and over a rather delicious vegan ice cream standing across the road looking at the buildings Neustiftgasse entrance – that we began to wonder about the buildings history. The name chosen for one of the restaurants, Monastiri, stimulated the debate and after a quick search on the internet we were deep in conversation about the former monastery built in 1847.
So next time you find yourself walking down a Vienna street watch out for one of those oasis with a history.
The Vienna Music Film Festival is taking place in the Rathausplatz. I was in the platz for a bite to eat yesterday and took a few pictures but I’ll be heading back to enjoy some films on Vienna’s warm summer nights.
Here’s a link to the Festival programme
Gem of a building – lesser known Vienna
I’ve driven passed Nußwaldgasse, a quiet side road in Döbling (Vienna’s 19th District), so many times without realising that only a few 100 metres away stands a gem of a building. When I first saw Nußwaldgasse 14 I immediately wonder about its original purpose. Even in my wildest imagination I would never have guess that someone would employ such a beautiful and interesting design to house a factory making insecticide.
Die Zacherlfabrik (Zacherl factory) produced insect powder from pyrethrum imported from Tbilisi in Georgia. The original factory was established in 1873 and the building was re-built between 1882 and 1892. This Wikipedia entry describes the building as a rare example of ‘commercially motivated oriental historicism in European architecture’.
Today the building use includes providing a venue for concerts and art exhibitions.
Well I’ve seen a few strange sights and experienced some unusual events watching football over the years but a pitch invasion by camels and lamas was a first for me.
H had finished her game for the First Vienna FC U11 Girls and had asked if we could stay on to watch the U15 Girls match as one of her friends was playing. The early part of the game saw Vienna take the lead and the main point of note, other than the quality of the football, was a friendly exchange of views between the referee and one of the parents over a contentious decision. The sun was shining, the game was in full flow, and life was unfolding at First Vienna’s youth training centre as normal last Sunday morning. Then we heard a crash….
Over beyond the right hand goal a temporary paddock had been placed to allow camels and lamas from the travelling circus to graze. As we looked across we saw one of the more determined camels give a second push to the rapidly collapsing fence. This Houdini of the camel world showed no interest in the game of football being played but instead turned its attention to the lush grass before it.
Even as our escape artist was joined by fellow camels and a number of lamas the game continued. We spectators were laughing and joking at the sight before for us and naturally people were reaching for cameras and camera phones. Someone was sent to rouse the circus folk and as more animals joined the initial breakout the referee was finally forced to call a temporary halt to the game.
By the time the animal’s keepers had arrived a number of the lamas had followed Houdini along the grass edge of the pitch and towards further grazing near the main builds. Suddenly the rest of the herd took off a speed to join them, chased by their circus guardians.
Suddenly the initial shock and humour of the crowd of parents changed to concern as the whole herd began to move back towards the pitch. We parents had been watching the game from the top of a slope adjacent to the pitch and were know shouting to the youngsters to join us on the safer high ground. As calm returned we all watched as keepers chased the animal around the pitch before successfully returning them to the paddock.
The referee called the players back on the pitch and resumed the game. Over to our right a group of well exercised camels and lamas were being guided from their paddock into the big top.
Today was the moment! I built and developed the garden pond for the purpose of creating an additional habit for the local wildlife – its proved a success in attracting additional birds, mammals, and insects, as well as frogs and toads. But of all the creatures I’d hoped to see in and around the pond, number one on my list was Newts. It’s therefore been an exciting time this evening to finally discover, after seven years, that they have arrived.
I’ve been able to confirm three adults so far but have the impression that there are more yet to be seen. Getting a picture of our new additions hasn’t proved easy and I suspect that it’s going to take some time to secure a blurred shot.
From Kärnten to Vienna and on to the State elections in Tirol and Salzburg, the situation for Austria’s Far-Right FPÖ is currently of failure, leading to crisis, followed by failure and eventually…..well the General Election in September certainly isn’t looking good for them.
First wave hits
After the State elections catastrophe in Kärnten and failure in Lower Austria the FPÖ has faced a wave of bad press coverage portraying a Party in crisis, it image as winners destroyed by corruption and extremism, its leader unable to bring order to the chaos and infighting. The reality of decline was further enhanced by an opinion poll in Vienna, the Party’s last stronghold, showing their vote significantly in decline.
Second wave hits
The only good news for FPÖ leader HC Strache, when the first waves of disaster hit, was that he appears to have managed to overt a direct challenge to his leadership. But this glimmer of light was more than offset by his unsuccessful attempt to remove the leader of the FPÖ (and political rival) in Lower Austria and a failed move to quickly force the FPÖ’s sister party in Kärnten, the FPK, back into the FPÖ. The aftermath left him looking weak, vulnerable to future challenges, and still with an ongoing crisis in Kärnten.
This week the crisis in Kärnten has deepened, and looks set to rumble on for some time to come, with:
The effect of these splits, in one of the FPÖ’s former strongholds, could have a significant impact upon the Party come the general election for the Federal parliament in September.
The general decline in the FPÖ’s position and ongoing events in Kärnten are already having a knock on effect. The leader of the FPÖ in Tirol has called on the party to break now with the FPK. His group face their own State election in Tirol on the 28th April and polls are showing their vote down to around 8%. One week later the State of Salzburg will also hold its elections and the polls there show no sign of an FPÖ advance, despite both the SPÖ and ÖVP begin entangled in a government financial speculation scandal. In short the second wave looks likely to heap further chaos and crisis on the sinking FPÖ.
Here’s an interesting article (in German but Google translate works well enough) in the Kurier looking at the weaknesses of the FPÖ’s Strache. It compares the late Jörg Haider and Heinz-Christian Strache – to summarise HC is no Haider.
So the good news from Austrian politics this week is that it’s all bad news for the FPÖ.
Related story: Austrian polls round-up