Monday 28 November 2011

Christmastime in Vienna
Of Maronibrater and Vespri Viennesi

Three small Christmas Trees
I spotted them, just beyond the knoll
between the Resselpark metro exit
and the Technical University of Vienna.
They seem suspended between
the leafy remains of late autumn,
a moment frozen in time

Der Maronibrater
The Chestnut Roaster
"... Joseph Branco farmed in spring,
summer and autumn,
working on his land,
and ... in winter he was
a chestnut roaster.
He had a sheepskin coat,
a donkey, a small waggon,
an oven and five sacks full of chestnuts.
With this, he would set off early in November
through various Crown Lands of the Monarchy." *)

Vespri Viennesi
I know of no other place
where people eat and drink
and have the merriest of times
outdoors, even when the temperatures
drop below zero. I am sure the day
hell freezes over, the Viennese will not go gentle
into that cold night, but burn and rave and rage,
rage until the devil let them have a party
with hot mulled wine on hell's icy shores!

*) Quoted from "The Emperor's Tomb"
by Joseph Roth (translated by John Hoare,
published by Granta Books, London)
My favorite book by Joseph Roth:
I read it in Italian - letterature mitteleuropea
all the rage back then -, then in English.
When arrived in Vienna,
I finally read the original.
I loved all of them, and would
encourage you to read it, in whichever
language you feel comfortable with.
It is not only a literary gem,
but a small kaleidoscope of
Vienna a hundred years ago.

Photographed at the
Arts and Crafts Christmas Market
in front of St. Charles Church

Images and own text
© by Merisi


  1. "... burn and rave and rage .... "
    Dylan Thomas, "Do not go gentle into that good night"

  2. Love, love your blog!!!!!
    Thanks, Doris

  3. You paint such beautiful and glorious pictures of the Christmas season in Vienna. After all, folks need to remain merry in such cold weather!

  4. Would love to try these chestnuts.

  5. Thanks for the wonderful memories of that beautiful square and the wonderful gifts on display. I can almost taste that mulled wind ..

  6. Resselpark? Never heard of it.

  7. Thank you all! :-)

    I should stick to pictures only in the future!
    Too much babbling means trouble.

    I am sorry for having said "Resselpark metro exit" - that was a bit confusing. I meant "the Resselpark exit of the Karlsplatz metro station".

    RESSELPARK EXISTS! It comprises the large green areas between approximately the Otto Wagner Pavilion (exit toward Resselpark of the metro station) to the north, the Technische Universität to the south, and the reflecting pool in front of St. Charles church to the east. At least as far as I know. As far as I could ascertain, when in Resselpark, you are always on Karlsplatz.

    So, now, let's see how much I messed up, trying to explain Resselpark! ;-)


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