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Vienna – the Danube

The Mighty, Mighty Donau in Vienna, July 2008
Vienna sits on the Mighty, Mighty Donau
Vienna doesn’t sit quite on the mighty, mighty Donau (the Danube, in English), it kind of sits alongside it. The Donau is indeed a mighty river, wide and with banks that could no doubt overflow from time to time, so you wouldn’t really want to build a city on it in areas of relative flatland, you’d be better off keeping a respectable distance. That is what Vienna does, or did. Of course these days, when you can master these things to a reasonable degree, it’s possible to get quite close, and so now Vienna sprawls to the banks, though still in a somewhat tentative fashion.
The Danube alongside Vienna splits into two tracks around an island. The less-wide track is bridged by a footbridge (and of course a road bridge), on the far side of which is the UNO City, a modern development, where United Nations people live and work.
Actually, immediately on the other side of the river across the footbridge, on the riverbanks, is a string of Greek restaurants. Quite why or how the Greeks have established themselves here, is for some reason only known to those who know these things, and not reported in the guidebooks (these guidebooks, they are to be ritually burned upon a pyre in the square, when the revolution comes).
The Greek restaurants, or many of them, have clearly been there for quite some time, with menus to match (tzatsiki, taramasalata, ‘Russian salad’, hummus, lamb on the grill, pitta bread – yes, yes, we know it well).
Footbridge over the Danube
The picture shows the footbridge, with the UNO City behind the (admittedly hard to see in this pic) Greek restaurants on the waterside.
Young people crossing bridge
The young people crossing the bridge are presumably Austrian, though since they are coming from the UNO City could perhaps be any nationality. The female members of the party have hunched shoulders. Are they sisters from a hunched-shoulder family? Or are girls taught to be reticent and submissive in Vienna schools? I looked in the guidebook but was unable to find any clues to these puzzles. Long live the revolution!
Marketing gobbledygook
The UNO City demonstrates for us one of those examples of branding, which the perpetrators no doubt feel is very clever, and perhaps cost them lots of money, where we who know that gerunds are to be avoided in all things branding, and who get paid nothing for this wisdom, can do little but scoff at at their spiritual expense. The slogan says, ‘Building Visions. Building Values. Building Europe’. To which the human beings in the world, those who live in penury for the pains of their normality, can only ask, what the bloody hell does that mean?
Donau cruise ship
To see the Danube in all its mighty mightiness you need to turn about from where I took the pic of the hunched-shouldered girls, to the other flow alongside the island, and there you might see one of the Rhine-Donau cruiseships. The example in the picture was registered at Basel, to where it could quite easily be going, via the Rhine-Donau canal.
These cruise ships are long, floating boxes, with, so far as I can tell from seeing them at various locations, all that you’d want from a cruise boat, including a bedroom with windows over the water, sun-loungers with waiters carrying trays of colourful glasses, and a dance in the evenings. The boat in the picture seems to be on a staff day off, while its paying inhabitants are ferried around the sights of Vienna (though only the sights in the guidebook perhaps, unfortunately for the poor cruisers).
More about Vienna on my Puzzling Things in the Wiener Prater page.
In Vienna, too, we saw strange things in the streets.


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