PostedDecember 15, 2013
Tagsanimals, Austria, Österreich, carriage, City, fiaker, horse, horses, photography, Travel, urban, Vienna, Wien
A short introduction to the series
In September 2013 friends and me backpacked trough Greece and discovered a beautiful and amazing country torn between its ancient history and struggles of the present. I shot a ton of pictures in these three weeks and it took me months to sort them out. But my plan was right from the beginning to publish them on this blog. I just didn’t know how exactly. So after some brainstorming I decided to organize them thematically and post them in separate collections and not in a chronological order, which didn’t seem like a good fit for this blog. So anyway this is the first part of a long series of pictures which will continue through the winter. Occasionally there may be some postings with wintery shots from Vienna but apart of that it will get sunny, at least over here (well, maybe not right from the beginning) 🙂
In full awareness of the ancient history of Greece and their stunning remains I want to hold the old stones back for now and show you some impressions of urban life in Athens as I saw it.
Impressions collected in late November around Prater and Donaucity.
Being on a conference trip in London the past weekend I didn’t have much spare time to enjoy the city be itself. So there was just one sunday afternoon to dive into the urban jungle of the British capital. Equipped with my camera I wandered around Westminster, Trafalgar up to Paddington where I had to catch my train. So the picture reflect these time constraints I had. There was no time to adjust and to wait for the perfect moment. I just captured the street life as it happened around me.
The second part of my photo series shot in the Viennese Central Cemetery on friday. This one contains pictures from the Jewish and other parts of the cemetery. If you want to know more about this Nekropolis (and a city by itself it certainly is) you are invited to read the foreword to part I.
The great thing about living in Vienna is nothing is really far away and you are abroad quickly. Especially close is Central Eastern Europe and Southern Eastern Europe (the Balkans in other words). Though strangely Austrians seldom go East (except for plastic surgeries and dentists), there is still a mental barrier which I personally never fully understood. In the Austrian mindset the Czech Republic is still in the East and Krakow, Poland seems indefinitely far away, though in reality being much closer to Vienna than the Western most city in Austria Bregenz. Naturally this snooty attitude is viewed with suspicion by our neighbors. Though much is changing and the younger generation begins to embrace the charm of the East.
Especially close to Vienna both in geographic and cultural terms is the capital of Hungary Budapest. Like Vienna it had its heydays around 1900 in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and you still see it. In architectural terms the two cities are closely related, there are a lot baroque churches, large areas of residential buildings from the founding period and some beautiful Jugendstil façades. If you look on the map and see the districts (in both cases 23.) and names of bridges and boroughs you feel like you have landed in a mirror universe. Though there are some differences. Budapest still has maintained its old Railway stations (pictures 1, 3, 5 in the background and 7) which disappeared from Vienna being replaced by shopping-service hybrids in vain of the consumerism society. Also the city is much closer to the Danube than Vienna, having a nice city hill on the Buda site making it very similar to Prague in structure. Hungarians are very patriotic, you see a lot of monuments everywhere. A very important role in their self-view plays the role of a nomad heritage and the culture of horse riding. This heritage is linking closely to the geographic conditions of the country being basically a vast lowland (pictures 2 and 5). Hungary is definitely worth a visit especially for young travellers, being also very affordable at the moment.