Saturday 2 January 2010

On The Last Day Of The Year

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,
almost within sight,
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.

The Last
Little Shopping Opportunity

is to your left,
at Demel,
the Royal and Imperial Confectioners.
All other shops
are closed by now.
Viennese shopkeepers
are subject to large fines
if they keep open beyond the
official store hours.

Coffee Mugs?
You bet!
More like
hot mulled wine!

Four Persons,
a dozen Champagne glasses -
you do the math!

One Friendly Gentleman,
two Bratwürstl,
99 4 bottles of beer on the wall, 99 bottles of beer.
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 point along the streets,
the Viennese Dancing Authority
wants everybody to whirl along to the
"Blue Danube" waltz at midnight,
anche gli Italiani!

Everybody Dance!
Faster and faster,
I am getting dizzy here!

dances along too!

I have reached
the end of Graben,
this gentleman is heading
towards it.
Any guesses as to
the chair on his back?

The Last Christmas Chandelier
where Graben meets
St. Stephen's Square

I make my way
towards Singerstrasse,
leaving the cathedral square
to the revelers and TV and radio stations,
who will party on until way past midnight,
into the New Year

At Franziskanerplatz
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.


in the late afternoon
of the last day of 2009

Images and Text
© by Merisi

* Click on the link
**) Se non è vero,
è ben trovato! ;-)


  1. Oh, Merisi, this is my favorite post ever! Thank you for letting me spend this day waltzing in the Graben and drinking champagne!

  2. I am totally without words!

    You are my favorite travel companion ever...... And I know what I talk about!

  3. "Follow that Fiaker!" he cried to the driver as he saw Merisi whirl by him on her way to New Year revelry.

    Wonderful post!

  4. Wonderful pics and prose! I will return!

  5. What a wonderful story you relate in pictures and words! You take us to Vienna indeed!

  6. Thank you for allowing me
    to celebrate with you!
    All best wishes for a stunning 2010
    much love!

  7. What a beautiful post, Merisi! I just watched "Before Sunrise" the other day, and seeing the Kleines Cafe just reminded me of it! Your shots are so vivid, and your descriptions so magical - thank you for sharing! :)

  8. Thank you for taking me along. You are the best tour guide giving one some time to enjoy "a little something" as Winnie the Pooh would say, at Demels, and do wome wonderful whirling waltzing into the New Year and sampling a drop or two of some bubbly. In amongst all that beautiul architecture - just perfect!

  9. Wonderful shots. Especially enjoyed that first of the dancers in form. What a gorgeous moment.

    Happy New Year to you, Merisi!

  10. Thanks so much for sharing these Superior Snaps. I'd LOVE to have a recipe for hot mulled wine, too, if you could spare it...

  11. Merisi: You captured the evening so wonderfully. Cool photos from your world.

  12. You have the inimitable eye.
    Thank you for these vignettes.
    May 2010 be the best year of your life.

  13. I would want the chair if I had to stand online somewhere...I always say this but your blog is so unique.. I am not surprised that you have been recognized...I wonder if I could ever do something similar for first time travelers to downtown Buffalo even you could make that look magical....Have a very happy and healthy New Year... Michelle

  14. And here I thought that New Year's Eve in Vienna was all about the waltz! Thank you for showing me otherwise--this was a fabulous "tour." (interesting about the Italians; love those little quirks of history)

    Happy New Year, Merisi, all joy and health to you!

  15. Two "fiakers" racing. Oh, how we folks over here might twist that one around.

  16. Happy New Year 2010,Merisi! Wunderschöne Foto´s!

    LG Steffi

  17. I know no other word but gorgeous Merisi. Thank you for taking us along for the end of the year.

    We've only been in Europe once during new years and were staying in a hotel in Zurich. At midnight it sounded like a thousand church bells ringing all over the city. We stood on our balcony in awe. That was definitely the way to bring in the new year. Earlier in the day we had drunk champagne in flutes (just as you've shown) - not plastic as you would find in the states - on the main street. One of our best new years ever.

    Wishing you a very happy new year and a healthy and prosperous 2010.

  18. you brought a smile to my face. delightful out there. but smart, for the viennese to stay in too...

  19. what a delightful tour, sugar! one year i'll spend my birthday in vienna! xxoxoox

  20. Thank you for sharing this wonderful day with us...truly amazing, and i love the dancing in the street :-) a truly magical blog.

  21. I'm supposed to be in Wien! Wah!

  22. I am still in awe of any word that has seventeen letters...

    People in my country can't correctly spell most words that only have four or five letters! If words here had seventeen letters, nobody would talk and nobody would write.

    Hey, that's not a bad idea maybe... at least the talking part...

  23. Perhaps that faster Fiaker was fueled with champagne? Goodness, this was a bubbly post. Happy New Year, Merisi!

  24. Thank you all for your kind comments - each and every one is loved and appreciated, I assure you: You are my fuel and my inspiration and the only way I know how to thank you is to continue publishing my daily blurbs (oh Bee, you had me giggle out loud here: I misread "bubbly" and thought, "Well, that's your Merisi!" - only to realize that you wrote bubbly, not burbly *hehe*).

    A Happy New Year to all of you,

  25. P.S.:
    The little tale about Emperor FJ having to sign away Vienna's Graben was entirely my invention. No truth to it. What's true is that during the Twelve Days of Christmas, Italian surely must be "the" language spoken all over Vienna, I hear it everywhere, and for me it sings of home (I was una Romana di Roma for some time, after all).

  26. Vonderbar!!!
    I really feel like I am there in this post!
    merci :)

  27. These are all the great pictures and it seems great to see these beautiful pictures while staying at home.


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