Once Upon A Time
In The Wild West
A first for me:
A Fiaker passing another
fiaker at breakneck speed!
The large Christmas tree in the background
stands at the entrance of Café Central
in Palais Ferstel
St. Michael's Square
seen from where Herrengasse
empties into this large circular square.
St. Michael's Church to the left,
the Imperial Winter Palace emerging to the right -
the Hofburg or "Burg" to the Einheimische -
while the verdigris dome over St. Michael's Gate
is still hidden from view.
I'd like to point out that to the right
Cafe Griensteidl in Palais Herberstein
offers you yet another opportunity
to savour a cup of coffee,
to rest up for the last few hundred feet
you will have to conquer
before finally reaching Demel at Kohlmarkt
to your left, just beyond the Loos-Haus.
There would be other coffee places,
but we do want to continue our walk
at some point, don't we?
I shall keep myself from gossiping
about the Herbersteins and the Loos-Haus scandals,
but will point out that, if you continue
straight ahead, the Lipizzan Stallions
are waiting for you in the Imperial Stables.
Little Shopping Opportunity
is to your left,
the Royal and Imperial Confectioners.
All other shops
are closed by now.
are subject to large fines
if they keep open beyond the
official store hours.
hot mulled wine!
a dozen Champagne glasses -
you do the math!
One Friendly Gentleman,
Take one down and pass it around,
98 bottles of beer on the wall
by now it is 4pm on
New Year's Eve, after all!
What Would The French Do?
Drinking Champagne in the street,
eating Hot Dogs hidden in woolly socks?
Or would they rather nibble daintily
on a single tiny macaroon
with a diameter
of exactly 1 1/4" across!!!? *
Ah, the French!
By now we are at Graben -
no one knows if this is
a wide street or a long narrow square -
and listening to Italian songs
from the Seventies:
The Italians, ever the far-sighted folks,
after Napoleon won the Battle of Solferino,
humiliated the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph
into signing a document that henceforth -
from 1859 onward -
the place known in Vienna as "Graben"
shall be made Italian territory
during the period from Christmas Day on
until La Befana descends,
welcoming any italian citizen
who desires to take up residence there.
Italians ever since, when Christmas Day rolls around,
enthusiastically cross the border
and head north. **
Il Danubio Blu
By now, most everybody
is dancing: Alles Walzer!
Dance lessons are being offered
at various points along the streets,
the Viennese Dancing Authority
wants everybody to whirl along to the
"Blue Danube" waltz at midnight,
anche gli Italiani!
Faster and faster,
I am getting dizzy here!
dances along too!
I have reached
the end of Graben,
this gentleman is heading
Any guesses as to
the chair on his back?
The Last Christmas Chandelier
where Graben meets
St. Stephen's Square
I make my way
leaving the cathedral square
to the revelers and TV and radio stations,
who will party on until way past midnight,
into the New Year
all is calm, light falls from
the windows of the quaint
little coffeehouse, the "Kleines Café".
I begin to walk a little faster,
I have promises to keep,
friends waiting down the lane,
worried about me being "out there"
on an evening where proper Viennese
stay in, preferring the comfort of their home.
Or so I am told.
* Click on the link
**) Se non è vero, è ben trovato! ;-)
Photographed in the late afternoon
of the last day of 2009
Images and text © by Merisi
Update, 31 December 2012
Sunny and bright today,
the bluest sky imaginable
Happy New Year to all of you!