Friday, January 4, 2008

Ghost Town

We live on Nussdorferstrasse, which translates, loosely, as the Nut Village Street. It is, in the words of Monty Python, a very silly place.

All of the shops are always empty, possibly because they sell rarified, slightly odd, though not undesirable things. Two or three doors down, next to a house where Schubert lived, is a Vespa dealership. I always thought Vespas were sort of cool, but I've never seen a sentient lifeform inside the place. A hundred meters farther on is the Klang Konig ("Sound King"), a stereo and home theatre hut; they sell lots of Bose and Bang and Olufsen equipment, which I've always heard was quality merchandise. Well, the Klang Konig never has any customers either. In this city that time forgot, most of the natives have forgotten about Nussdorferstrasse.

There's the Taj Mahal and Mozart Stuberl, restaurants which serve, respectively, Indian and Wiener Kuche, and I don't know how either stays in business. There's the Central Cola Corner, which wants to be a Hard Rock cafe simulacrum, but it never appears to be open, so Bon Jovi fans--if there are any in Vienna, Austria--wouldn't be able to grab a brew there even if they wanted to.

I suppose I ought to try shopping at the Pride of India grocery, because I've been working on my chicken curry recipe. But after all this time, I'm hesitant to actually step inside one of these shops. I think I might break some spell. Or become trapped inside the Pride of India forever and ever.

The most unforgettable spot used to have a plain, all-glass storefront window to display all of their wares, which happened to be marble gravestones. But that business too is empty, shut down, gone. Even the dead go some place else now.

6 comments:

Elizabeth said...

i went to college in Providence, RI for a couple of years. There were stores like that - no business, dusty window displays with dead flies littered here and there - all over Providence. i asked a friend who had grown up there and she blithely told me that they were all actually mafia store fronts. Probably not the case in your neighborhood, though.

pat said...

Yeah, if this were New York City, they would definitely be drugstore fronts, of bordello fronts or something. Being Vienna, these stores are probably all fronts for classical music boutiques. Or architecture book outlets.

EuroTrippen said...

Hmmm, based on our love affair with Salzburg we just finalized plans for a week-long trip to Vienna. Hopefully it won't be two tumbleweeds, a sad little Primavera 125 in a plate-glass window, and us.

We live in the happening part of Dresden... bars on every corner with people pouring in & out at all hours. There are many days when I contemplate the opening scene of Vanilla Sky and sigh with envy.

Would love to hear any tips you have to offer on things to see/do while we're in town (we'll be there Feb. 8th-15th)- especially child-friendly venues. And, naturally, I would happily buy a fellow Austinite a beer & swap stories of days long since gone in the sunny Texas hill country.

pat said...

I would love to meet you, EutoT. Let's make a plan. And don't worry, there's plenty for you to love in Vienna, despite my griping.....

Odessa said...

I just stumbled upon your blog and MUST agree with you about the eerie quality of those stores, especially the used handy shops!

Our Ethiopian Journey... said...

I really enjoy reading your blog...you are a very interesting person and it is refreshing!