Category: Vienna

Categories

All Caught Up Again & Austrian History

For only the second time in the ca. 15 years since I started writing for my main website, I’m all caught up, i.e. I’ve completed and uploaded all the chapters that I had material for from my own travels. (The first time I had come to that point was earlier this year.)

First I finished the remaining chapters for Namibia, namely about Swakopmund and its local museum. And then I still had a substantial chapter to write about a relatively recent addition to the museum portfolio of the city I live in, Vienna, namely the House of Austrian History (“Haus der Geschichte Österreichs” in the original German, or HdGÖ for short), housed in

Budapest in 2022

This past Whitsun weekend I was in Budapest. Even though it’s just a 2 ½ hour train ride from Vienna (where I live) I hadn’t been to this fabulous capital city of Hungary since October 2008, so a re-visit was overdue. I had only a bit over 48 hours there but used the time well. Here’s a short report with some selected photos:

In terms of dark tourism my first priority was a sight that I learned about only after my previous visit to Budapest. That’s the Hospital in the Rock and

Dark Tourism in the Literally Dark – Vienna’s Central Cemetery by night

Last Saturday I joined an exclusive guided group tour of the grand Central Cemetery (‘Zentralfriedhof’) in Vienna that took place after dark. I had visited this vast burial ground several times before and cover it extensively on my main DT website. Now I was able to add another, even literally darker element to it. On the basis of that I’ve amended my website’s entry for the cemetery a little and added a few extra photos to the photo gallery.

Here on the DT Blog I can give you a fuller report and a much more substantial photo essay – here we go:

Dark Tourism & Boxes

Today is the day after Christmas Day, referred to in Britain (and some of its former colonies) as “Boxing Day”. Last year around this time (on Christmas Eve) I brought you a post about “Dark Tourism & Christmas”, and that more or less exhausted the theme so I can’t do that again. But with a bit of lateral thinking applied, I derive from “Boxing Day” another unusual theme: Dark Tourism & Boxes. Here we go:

The sort of thing some of you may think of first in the

9 November

9 November 1938 was a day of infamy, when throughout the Third Reich (by then including Austria) Nazi mobs attacked and humiliated Jews openly, destroyed Jewish businesses and desecrated and burned down numerous synagogues. This is now officially referred to as the November Pogrom(s), but is still commonly also known as “Kristallnacht”, typically rendered in English as “Night of Broken Glass”. The older term, and especially its longer form “Reichskristallnacht”, are now avoided as they

1 November – Cemetery Day!

Here in Vienna, Austria, All Saints’ Day is a public holiday, but a much more low-key affair compared to Mexico. Many people visit graves of relatives in the various cemeteries of the city and lay flowers, wreaths or light little red candles. It’s the one day in the year when the city is very quiet while the cemeteries are at their busiest. I’ve never visited any cemeteries on All Saints’ Day, though some of the official ceremonies might be interesting to see. But it’s mostly a private affair and I don’t want to be intruding on that. I also prefer cemeteries quiet, ideally

Dark Tourism & Furniture

And here comes the second of the themed posts (after last week’s “DT & hands”) that featured in our most recent poll, which didn’t have a clear result. So for this time I’ve picked furniture.

The photo below was taken at the DDR-Museum (‘GDR museum’) in Berlin and shows a reconstruction of the furnishings of a typical East German 1970s/early 80s living room – note in particular the

Two Reasons to Celebrate

on this day, 23 September 2021, my book is already being released in Germany, Austria and Switzerland! Whereas the release date in the UK and the US remains at 26 October. When I saw the date on the German Laurence King website I initially thought it must be a mistake, as I had assumed the October release date was the one to wait for in general. But I was then informed by my contacts at the publishers’ base in London that Germany will indeed be ahead on today’s date. It’s got something to do with

A medical theme

To make up for last week’s absence of a new blog post (and the likelihood of there not being one next week), I give you an extra-elaborate one today – on a medical theme, not decided on by a readers’ poll, but just by myself. The reason being that early tomorrow morning I’ll have my left hand operated on. Hence I picked the above photo as the lead image.

I took that in

Dark Tourism & Toys

As decided in our most recent theme poll, I now bring you the winner, DT & toys. It was probably the oddest of the choices, the biggest juxtaposition, and hence the most intriguing. In any case it was a very clear win far ahead of all the other choices.

So what kind of dark do we get with toys. Well, for starters there are war toys, like model planes, tanks, toy guns and whatnot. In fact, one of the

DT & New Year’s Eves

As a kind of follow-on from last Thursday’s post about dark tourism & Christmas, I now give you another photo essay composed of photos from my archives that were all taken on a New Year’s Eve, mostly when travelling abroad. Of course, the New Year’s Eves themselves were not the dark elements here, but took place in countries with a dark reputation and/or where we had undertaken dark-tourism fieldwork during the day.

I’ll do it in reverse chronological order and begin with last year’s New Year’s Eve – when

Dark Tourism & Christmas

As promised, I’ll try to do my bit to brighten up the Christmas period that for so many of us will be very different this year, much reduced in terms of gatherings with family and friends, due to the pandemic.

In previous years, when we were not visiting our respective families, my wife and I often went travelling at this time of year. Hence we saw Christmas decorations in a wide range of places, including some where you wouldn’t normally expect them at all. It goes to show how

Dark Tourism & Clothing

As decided in the most recent poll, and announced on Monday, today we come to the theme “dark tourism and clothing”:

You could be forgiven if you think this is a really exotic theme within the wider subject of dark tourism. But items of clothing do actually come up quite often. And the ones featured below are only a selection.

Perhaps the most predictable case of clothes with a dark association is those iconic and infamous striped

National Day and poll result

Today it’s “Nationalfeiertag” (literally ‘National Celebration Day’, or just ‘National Day’ for short) in Austria, the country I reside in. It’s another good opportunity to dig out from my archives the photos and texts I posted on my DT page on Facebook until it got purged. I’m reproducing them here in reverse chronological order, i.e. starting with last year’s post first:

Dark Tourism & Cars

As decided in the latest poll, the theme of this post is ‘dark tourism and cars’. It won by two votes ahead of ‘dark tourism and clothes’, so that will be entered again in the next poll. And since several people said that their second choice (and close contender) was ‘dark tourism and spheres’ I’ll give that another chance next time too. NPPs will have to wait a little longer, but as that is one of my personal favourites it is bound to pop up at some point as well (whether in another poll or independently I can’t say yet).

But now to cars. Searching through my archives I found

New Flak Tower Photos – and a New Poll

Flaktürme, or ‘flak towers’, in Vienna’s Augarten park. In case you don’t know, “Flak” is short for “Flugabwehrkanone”, or ‘anti-aircraft gun’, and these towers were constructed to house batteries of big guns of that type during WWII. They were each complemented by another tower for radar/aiming technology. Hence the main towers were called “Gefechstturm” (‘combat tower’), while the smaller secondary tower was called “Leitturm” (‘directing tower’ or ‘lead tower’). Thus these installations always came in pairs. On the lower floors they additionally provided much needed air-raid-shelter space for civilians. But in their main military purpose,

Iconoclasm versus Interpretation

The photo above shows a plaque in Vienna commemorating Joseph Stalin’s short sojourn in this city as a young man. I’ve been reminded of this by the recent images on the news from the USA, where protesters are disfiguring or toppling monuments to former proponents of slavery and such like, in the wake of the unrest caused by the killing of George Floyd by police. Now, how do the topics of Stalinism and the Black Lives Matter movement go together, you may ask. Let me explain:

Make no mistake, I do understand the outrage of the protesters about the

The Fluffy Side of Nazism

Another one related to my recent purge from Facebook. I mentioned in my earlier post about this censorship case that I had posted photos on Facebook that I would have considered more “risqué” than the one that started all the trouble. Here’s an example from way back, namely from 25 May 2017. This had been part of a themed week of posts all showing the “fluffy side of something” (see below!). This was probably