Apartment Riverside (sleeps 4)

Apartment Prater (sleeps 4)

Apartment Nestroy (sleeps 7)

Monday, January 31, 2011

Vienna Opera Ball - "Alles Walzer"

The Vienna Opera Ball is definitely the highlight of the Viennese Carneval.
I personally think it's the most prestigious and most beautiful society event of the world!

Many many years ago, I attended the ball myself .... as a teenager.
In some upper-class families it is a form of undisputed duty to be a part of the tradition to open the Opera Ball as a Polonaise-dancer.
Well, I did not .....
2011 the 55th Operaball  will take place on the 3rd of March.
That's unbelievable late, BUT as the carneval is that long, also this date is scheduled that late in calender.

We've posted earlier that the first ball took place in 1935, for charity purposes.

Nowadays it is the biggest celeb-get-together in Austria: politicians, business men, employers, proms, artistsfrom everywhere international and national.
5.500 guests are expected this year, half of it coming from outside Austria!

In case you somehow have been able to get a ticket, you must have paid a fortune:
Prices for the seating in a box range up to 17.000 EUR. Then you need the normal entrance ticket: per person 230 EUR.
In the end the Opera will gain about 1,1 Million EUR for that night only.
It's said, that this is the only profitable night of the year!

After one night of preparation and re-setting of the whole opera, stage and auditorium, decorated with 40.000 flowers, the opera is transferred into the biggest and poshes dancing stage of the world!

The whole opera building is used that night, from cellar up to the attic. There are several restaurants, bars, a disco, a casino and even a heuriger. The caterin is done by the Wiener K.u.K. Hofzuckerbäckerei Gerstner - without interruption since 1869!

The "Entrée" is fitted with a "heated red carpet", so that the guests do not have to shiver and get frozen tiny toes when moving slowly between the pre-entrance and the opera-entrance. As the main stairways is a bit of a bottleneck, it takes ages until all the celebs make their way. Never to forget the paparrazzi!

Each year the Opening of the Ball is choreographed and supervised by a different Austrian dancing school.
This year for the first time ever, it will be a woman, who is in charge for this organisational part, Juanita Hieble, who opened the ball herself in 1987.

160 couples coming from all over the world will have a white gawn, a little crown, some flowers and a black dress coat to fit in the tradition.

The opening ceremony, kind of a Quadrille, is followed by Johann Strauß' Waltz and secret hymn "An der schönen blauen Donau" or Blue Danube Waltz.
This is the moment when you hear the words: "Alles Walzer" "Everyone waltz" - and the ball is officially opened!
At midnight there is again a midnights-Quadrille and 5am spot on the ball is over after the orchestra played these 3 "hits":

-  Blue Danube Waltz,
-  Radetzkymarsch
-  "Brüderlein fein" from the play "Der Bauer als Millionär" (Ferdinand Raimund -1826)

Brüderlein fein, Brüderlein fein,
Mußt mir ja nicht böse sein;
Brüderlein fein, Brüderlein fein,
Mußt nicht böse sein.
Scheint die Sonne noch so schön,
Einmal muß sie untergehn.
Brüderlein fein, Brüderlein fein,
Mußt nicht traurig sein.

Tradition has is, that the last guests take the flowers with them .... as a memory!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Faschingskrapfen - Vienna's answer to McDonalds Bagel

Hmmmmmm, can you smell it? Can you feel the delicious texture? And after the first bite the wonderful jam melts on your tongue!

This is a Faschingskrapfen!

And Faschingskrapfen belong to Vienna's Carneval like cucumber sandwiches to tea time!

This wonderfully sweety tastes that good, that you can't have only one. You'll get addicted to a second. Then you need a third, as "all good things come in three". And finally you will take a fourth, as it's festive season, so you're alowed to bottle in whatever you can.

So often they come already packed as 4 - easy to go.

You can buy them everywhere these days: in the bakery, in the supermarkets, in the coffee shops .... just beware of one thing: They must be absolutely fresh!

As soon as they get more than 2 hours fresh air - the taste is gone!

So ask for their date of birth, buy them, eat them - even on the road!

The history about them?
Ok, you know, there's always a good story - so here it is:

A Viennese "chef" of the king's court, named Cäcilie Krapf, is said to have invented those fatty sweets.
She had her bakery in the Naglergasse in the 1st district.
This delicious sweet delicacy was served at the Congress of Vienna, you remember the G6 meeting, where they danced more than they disputed.
The lady in question, Mrs Krapf, nicknamed Cilli, created the "Krapfen" for one of the big balls in the Hofburg - those dough scoops, which have to be baked in oil and be filled with sweet apricot jam.

It is said that only in the year 1815 around 10 millions of Faschingskrapfen where eaten.
WOW! Can you imagine the number of calories!

Sorry, I have to go ..... and eat my Faschingskrapfen .... can't wait any longer

Ahhh, opposite the bluedanube apartment, at the supermarket chain HOFER, the Krapfen are delicious .... and come as 4!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Dialect vs Accent - German vs Austrian

Guys, the festive season is almost over, so it's high time to report about some trivia.

I've just came over a nice discussion about dialects ... or is it accents?

Well, how would you call it, if someone speaks obviously German, but changes the pronounciacion of words that much, that it's quite difficult to follow. And uses different words at all. Is this dialect or just a strong accent?

I remember when living in London, it was quite interesting to listen to the different kinds of "English".
The Received Pronounciation (RP) varies from Cockney quite a lot, a Liverpudlian is sometimes quite difficult to understand, as well as someone from the northern countries.
And don't forget Wales, where Welsh English is spoken, which again differs from the Welsh language!
And the wonderful Scottish accent! What a pleasure, when you finally grasp the words!
And let's not forget about all the celtic parts that made it into English ...
Oh, last but not least Anglish .... I'd rather say Germanglish - yes, this is a mix between English and German words! Like "Rucksack" or "Misch-Masch" or "Zeitgeist".

But back to the difference between German and Austrian language and Viennese dialect!
You are right, basically it's the same language. But there are a lot of words which are completely different.

Interestingly the Austrian language and its dialects has adopted lots of words from Italian, French, Slavic and Yiddish. And these words were the basics for the later dialect. Like "Trottoir" (Gehsteig-pavement) or "Lavoir" (große schüssel-big bowl) or "Kombinege"(Unterkleid-lingerie) - funny even the Brits need to borrow a french word!

These examples have almost died out - means, you will only hear them spoken by people 40+. Seems that dialect changes .....
No wonder, 44% of all pupils in Austria do not have German as their mother tongue.
Maybe that's not so bad at all, as dialect and language and accent are therefore in a constant progress!

Did you know that in Vienna there were 3 different dialects: the "Schönbrunner-ish", the "Floridsdorfer-ish" and the "Meidlinger L", as people pronounced the L in a very specific way.

Now back to the vocabulary list - Viennese-German

Sackerl - Tüte .................... plastic bag
Gackerl - Hundekot
Semmerl - Brötchen ........... roll
Schwammerl - Pilz ............. mushroom
Sessel - Stuhl ..................... chair
Polster - Kissen ................. pillow
Jause - Pausenbrot ............. tea time
Fetzen - Tuch .................... shred, rug, cloth
Gwand - Kleidung
Kieberer - Polizist .............. police
Ohrwaschl - Ohr ............... ear
Blunzn - Blutwurst ............. black pudding
Watschn - Ohrfeige ........... slap in da face
Futzerl - kleines Stück ....... nibble
Gatsch - Brei, Schlamm ..... mash
Haxn - Bein ....................... leg
Nachtkastl -Nachttisch ....... bedside cabinet
nimmer - nicht mehr ............ no longer
Ribisel - Johannesbeere ...... red currant
Topfen - Quark ................. curd
Beisl - Wirtshaus ................ pub
a wengerl - ein bisschen ..... a bit
there are lots and lots more, but I have to hold them back for my next posts!
Maybe one final sentence, when staying at and you wanna expierence traditional Viennese food, why not ask in a typical Viennese way:
                                      "Wo is des nächste Beisl? Where is the local pub? 
My recommendation would be : not even 1 minute accross the road!
Servas!  Tschüss!  Byebye!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Prosit Neujahr - Happy New Year

Welcome to the New Year!
How do you feel? Hope you had a good party and a good "Rutsch" into the New Year, as we locals say.
"Rutsch" means slide or ride.

Now then just to give you an impression on how serious we live our traditions, here is our daughter and our dog, celebrating with the tradition "Glücksfisch essen" - eating the sponge finger fishes!

And this was Vienna 1hr before midnight -
a party throughout
all nationalities bunched together, happy, singing & drinking!

Happy New Year!