Many thanks for your thoughts, ideas and insights! If you have something to say about Vienna or a story you read here, tell us all about it. Send an email to office@metropole.at.

To the editor,

(In response to “Up & Down the Danube,” MET 28, June 2018)

Nick Thorpe’s cover story “Up & Down the Danube“ in the June 2018 issue of Metropole was both enlightening and inspiring. Reading his descriptions of the river’s history in Central and Southeastern Europe and hearing the stories of people who live along its shores was such a pleasure. But best of all was having had the opportunity to meet him in person at the Metropole Salon on June 7.

By the way, the Salon is a tremendous gift to Metropole subscribers. And I encourage those readers who are still buying individual copies at newsstands to think about subscribing so that they can be part of this, and hear authors like Nick Thorpe talk about their stories over a glass of remarkably good Austrian wine.

I also really appreciated the photographs from the Danube Perspectives series of the Capa Contemporary Photography Center in Budapest – a perfect extension of Mr. Thorpe’s mesmerizing prose. I hope you will have him write for Metropole again and if we’re lucky, speak at a future Salon.

Thank you for your fine journalism and compelling stories!

Dr. Gregory Weeks, Vienna

 

To the editor,

(In response to “The Last Word,” MET 28, June 2018)

As a “foreigner” I found the June issue on the great Danube a fascinating and very informative read. Even when I reached The Last Word on page 105. For most of my time here in Vienna I have lived in the 22nd district. Many friends come and go, due to work or studies, and naturally they spend their two or three years in apartments in or near the center.

And so, when I tell people where I live I sometimes get looks of amazement. “You live in the 22nd district?” I am asked. “That’s almost in Hungary!”

Well, not quite. The 21st and 22nd districts are across the river. They are also the largest and fastest growing parts of Vienna and I often thought the reaction a bit weird. It takes about 30 minutes to get downtown via bus and U-Bahn.

But I got to understand this reaction when I read The Last Word:

“The pseudo-geographic moniker evokes the image of a strange and savage place inhabited by barbarians who may or may not eat their young but are certainly not entirely Viennese in their ways or customs, an opinion jokingly held by many people living on the ‘right’ side of the river,” the article says.

The author speculates how the nick-name and prejudice came about. These new areas (created in 1905 and 1954) generally lack the grand imperial architecture and historic landmarks of the rest of Vienna. And a car was necessary, further “discouraging non-natives from exploring this unchartered territory,” – which is not true of course with three metro lines, the U1, U2 and U6, the Straßenbahn and many bus services.

“In the end, it may come down to human nature: just as dyed-in-the-wool New Yorkers have an innate distrust for anything west of the Hudson River, many Viennese react to the notion of venturing beyond the Donauinsel to the wilds of life among the yahoos with apprehension and unease.”

I love living in the wilds (= quiet) of the 22nd in a four-level apartment with little terraces and small back and front gar-dens backing onto a large park full of towering chestnut trees, where the occasional squirrel frolics. And we have neighbors from many countries with lovely kids growing up quite normally.

Brett Bayly, Vienna (I think)

 

To the editor,

(In response to “Up & Down the Danube,” MET 28, June 2018)

I really enjoyed Nick Thorpe’s love letter to the Danube in your June edition. It’s a reminder of how vibrant and diverse cultures along this most international of rivers connect; and how this great body of water has fostered the development of European civilization. I particularly enjoyed the interesting tit-bits of knowledge, such as the role environmental activists of the Danube Circle played in bringing down Communism. In all a fasci-nating journey that made me want to get on a bike and cycle along the banks of this great connector.

Charlie Vatchell, Vienna

 

To the editor,

We’ve been meaning to subscribe since a wonderful trip to Austria last November – our 3rd trip there in 4 years – and I finally sent in a digital (for convenience) and hard copy (my favorite method of reading – still!) subscription.Looking forward to receiving the first issue whenever you can send it and thank you for such high-quality work. Metropole is a beautiful, well-written magazine!

Sincerely,

Paul & Kazué Watlington, Arlington, Virginia

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