Thursday 22 November 2007

Strudlhof Steps in November
Autumn in Vienna

There are so many places
I like to visit during Vienna's glorious autumn season,
from the various gardens
of the Upper and of the Lower Belvedere,
to the rose garden in the Volksgarten,
and the vineyards beyond, up in the hills.

I spend hours, if not days,
looking down into our apartment's "Secret Garden",
watching the leaves turn golden.

I love to walk through Schönbrunn Park,
up to the Gloriette, and from there
to the entrance gate of the Schönbrunn Zoo.
The forest in that area of the park
is left to its own rhythm,
you can hear a tree fall and the birds sing,
while strolling
through a gently rolling wooded countryside.

So many beautiful places,
but for me none exerts greater allure
than the Strudlhof Steps.

When the leaves begin to fall,
the memory of autumn's past
pulls me towards that magic place.

I have to walk down those steps,
listen to the leaves' gentle rustling,

breath in the essence of life,
the last greeting from summer's gentle heat,
a promise of golden days still ahead.

So I walk along the lane
which leads to the upper landing

and as I begin my descent,
wistful step by wistful step,
I begin to feel a sense of peace and belonging.

At the lower landing of the steps,
I pause, to read this poem,
carved in stone:

On the Strudlhof Steps in Vienna

When the leaves upon the steps are lying
from the old stairs is heard an autumn sighing
of all that's gone across them in the past
A moon in which a couple, holding fast,
embraces, lightweight shoes and heavy footfall
the mossed urn in the middle, by the wall,
outlasts the year between the wars and dying.

So much is past and gone, to our dismay,
And beauty shows the frailest power to stay.

Heimito von Doderer, "The Strudlhof Steps"
tranlated by Vincent Kling.



  1. Beautiful pictures! Thanks for stopping by the log today. ;)

  2. Captain Corky:
    You are welcome, enjoy your stay in Vienna! :-)

  3. Sending an e-turkey your way. Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

    Now these pics have more of an autumn feel to them! The snow melted, eh? We actually got our first taste of snow this morning. Just enough to cover the grass.

  4. Happy Thanksgiving...I love all the green vertigris in the pictures!!

  5. Oh my gosh, what beautiful images. I can almost imagine walking down those steps, listening to the dry leaves blowing against each other and smell Autumn in the air.

    Enjoy your turkey this Sunday. My best wishes for you and your family.

  6. BRUCE:
    Thank you, I can already smell it!
    Now, where is that United Parcel guy? Not eating my turkey, I hope! :-)
    I took the photos just before the snow came down, interrupting our autumn days so cruelly, and infact ending the party!

    I'm afraid my picture do not really to justice to the beauty and majesty of those steps! They are magical. Happy Thanksgiving to you too! :-)

    Yes, that is exactly what one experiences, walking down those steps. As I said, magic.
    Thank you, you have yourself a happy Thanksgiving weekend! :-)

  7. Beautifully written.
    Describing the effect autumn has on the soul is difficult - I think you've done a really wonderful job.
    Love the first photo.

    Thank you. :-)

  9. The golden crown of nature!
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

  10. I think Vienna is the most romantic looking city I've ever seen! And I am very taken with your gentleman in the cape and hat! (Is it a cape or does the photo just make his coat seem so?)

  11. We really are taking a walk with you! The mauve flowers look like agapanthuses, usually they bloom( in July, is it an effect of the charming power of Vienna?

  12. I love the tree in the first photo. Do you know what it is called? So there are still leaves on the trees in Vienna? I still have leaves on the oak tree and the sycamores still have a few, but all the rest have dropped now. Moor raking the lawn.

    Thanks for your history of the strudel. If I remember correctly, the unhappy couple were kicked out of the Garden for nicking the apple, so it must have been some other place they invented the strudel pastry. Good thing it didn't get drowned in the Great Flood and Mrs Noah had the sense to take the recipe on board with her, or we would never have tasted STRUDEL and what a loss that would have been for man and womankind!

    Love Lorenzo.

  13. I love these steps. And I love that you have posted them in more than one season.

    There is something absolutely, enchantingly compelling to me about golden leaves carpeting stone stairways.... Mmmmmmm.

  14. What a glorious walk! Beautiful photos of the beauty that surrounds you.

  15. Thnak you for including us in your walk :) A gorgeous reminder of the change of seasons.

  16. Wonderful and touching post . I love it as always ..I'm a fan ..I don't have any objectivity ..I'm sorry

  17. Dead leaves when trod upon, the poet says, rustle like wings taking flight or ladies' dresses in the wind.
    Autumn, colourful as it is, still makes me sad...

    You camera is NOT broken, Merisi. ;o)

  18. Ah, Heimito von Doderer! Die Strudlhofstiege oder Melzer und die Tiefe der Jahre...

  19. just magical! thats all I can say

  20. What a romantic stairway. I love the green iron railings. Someday I shall get to Vienna! I hope you are well, Merisi and enjoying such a lovely fall.

  21. How lovely. The poem is just so sadness for reading about Amber....

  22. I particularly like the tones and hues of the first photo and love the last one because of the air of mystery surrounding the departing figure.

  23. Hey - what's going on?
    You haven't posted for 4 days!
    I know I used to complain you posted
    too much for me to keep up - but this isn't right!
    You okay?

  24. Dear Merisi,
    Thank you for sharing the season with me! You have no idea how fun it is for me to come along with you on your adventures in such a grand, well kept city!!


  25. A very poetic post today Merisi. The picture of the angles of the steps with the leaves is my favorite. I also loke the last one of the man desending. Very good compositions.

  26. hate to be a worry-wart but I have to side with freefalling... a bit concerned. Hope all is well with you and your family. See, I can leave my blog on autopilot for weeks on end and nobody bats an eye, but you, you're a trooper! Every day! (not expected, mind you, but it is a routine). Again, hope all is well :)

  27. Micah:
    I am sorry that I got you worried about me. I tried to, but couldn't come up with any post idea. Total paralysis during the last couple of days, but as you can see from my new post, catharsis has set in at last. ;-)

  28. photowannabe:
    Thank you! :-)

    Thank you, Constance! :-)
    I truly enjoy sharing my little adventures in this magical city with all of you.

    See what happens? I give you a little breather and then .... ;-)

    Fasten your seatbelt and surf over fast, I have posted again! :-)))

  29. Kate:
    "I particularly like the tones and hues of the first photo and love the last one because of the air of mystery surrounding the departing figure."
    Kate, from dozens of photos, I chose those two exactly for the reasons you describe so eloquently. Thank you for appreciating my choice! :-)

    Ever since I had read the novel, I wanted to walk those stairs. Now I can walk them often, thank heaven. They captivate me, they are magic indeed!

  30. Becca:
    Yes, beautiful and romantic, both. :-) I can't get enough of them. Infact, today I shall walk down those steps again. Fall has turned very winter-like, but I am fine, thank you! :-)

    Thank you. :-)
    The poem "sings" better in the original German. My sprachgefühl is not too happy with the translation. As so often, it is very difficult, if not impossible, not to loose the power of the original words.
    Young Amber's loss is sad to no end.

  31. Mélanie:
    Thank you, I appreciate your kind words very much. :-)

    Such beautiful lines, thank you!
    Melancholic yes, but sad, no, autum doesn't make me sad. :-)

  32. Maalie:
    Are you saying you read Heimito von Doderer's "Strudlhofstiege"?

  33. Merisi: thanks for sharing your beautiful city, I especially love the third photo of the view looking up the steps, the perspective here is great, really makes me want to climb the steps and admire the view! The caped gentleman is a great captured moment. Lovely post, as always :)

    Thank you, it's always a pleasure sharing this city with you. :-)

    I know. Still, I didn't expect anybody outside Austria and not studying German literature would have read it. How did you like it?


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