Neville Walker on Vienna

Neville Walker’s ode to Vienna in this past weekend’s Financial Times is gorgeous and plaintive. Writing about Vienna in the newspaper’s “What I Love About…” series, Walker compellingly nails Vienna’s eccentric character.

Walker writes that Vienna was “once a cul-de-sac on the edge of the Eastern Bloc” now “learning to be hip and modern.” Yet what makes the city so interesting is not its uneven emergence into contemporary European cool but rather its vestigal otherworldliness. Walker knows this; by singling out the Kettenbrückengasse flea market and Peter’s Operncafé Hartauer as emblems of today’s Vienna, he gets at a city that is not so much resting on its laurels as much as it is holding the uncanny tight, as if it were a lifevest. Or, in Walker’s words: “Vienna is like an estranged relative grown eccentric by living alone, but suddenly seized with enthusiasm for a newly-expanded social circle.”

About the author

Alex Robertson Textor
About the author: Bitten by the travel bug at 11, Alex Robertson Textor has fond childhood memories of ultracheap Spanish hotels (the kind with Styrofoam shelving) and supermarket lunches scarfed on park benches. Formerly an academic, Alex has spent the last several years redirecting his professional life into full-time travel journalism and editing. He has published articles in the New York Times, Guardian Unlimited, Condé Nast Traveler, Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel, and the San Francisco Bay Guardian, among other publications.
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