The District Without Qual­it­ies?

Published Categorised as Austria, Books, Travel No Comments on The District Without Qual­it­ies?

So I’m back in the UK. For good now. Most of this week has been taken up with house-hunt­ing, arran­ging vans etc. More on that soon. I don’t like to count my chick­ens before they’re hatched.

However, I was tidy­ing up the folders on my computer this week, and found these miscel­laneous photos of Vienna from Febru­ary. I have been visit­ing Austria often for work since 2010, and know Vienna pretty well by now. These are all little details from back streets of Land­strasse- District III, an area of Vienna next to the Danube. It’s not so far out from the centre, but it’s more of a normal resid­en­tial area than a tour­ist one. I was teach­ing as a guest teach­er in a school there, and on sunny days preferred to wander back rather than go directly to the U-Bahn station oppos­ite the school.

These loom­ing WWII-era flak towers in Aren­ber­g­park are now used as store­houses for the art museums. When they were built, they essen­tially func­tioned as a modern version of a castle keep- hous­ing a radar station and air raid shel­ters.

I wasn’t buying a great deal of ice cream in Febru­ary.

This street in the Weißger­ber neigh­bour­hood of Land­straße had a blue plaque show­ing it was where the writer Robert Musil lived until he was forced into exile by the Nazis. (A few months later I also happened to go to his birth­place in Klagen­furt via work). The stress of having to flee caused him to have a stroke and die at the age of 61. I don’t think he’s as well known in English-speak­ing coun­tries as some of his compat­ri­ots despite being nomin­ated for a Nobel Prize, but I can well recom­mend The Man Without Qual­it­ies, a long novel explor­ing life at all levels of soci­ety in Vienna on the eve of the First World War. A good compan­ion to his contem­por­ary Stefan Zweig‘s The World of Yester­day.

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