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Posts Tagged ‘austrian empire’

I really do need a vacation. Exhausted, slept all Saturday – and the week wasn’t anything special, just a regular step-forward-two-steps-back annoyance. So I have to tick off  all chores on the list in one instead of two days.

Weather in Hungary and Slovenia is unseasonably cold, I now have to be very selective and pack carefully. My layover in Helsinki is only 40 min, so I am not taking a big case, only carry-on.

My itinerary is complicated: starting by 5 days in Budapest (Pest side), then on the 29th taking an overnight train to Ljubljana (transfer in  Saltzburg), then at 6:30am taking a ride-share van by company called GoOpti to the Adriatic coast, to resort town Portoroz, where I booked 4 nights at spa hotel. Between salt scrub massages and sea mud body wraps I hope to take a ferry across the waves to Venice – no ticket yet. Then on the 4th at 4am – GoOpti van will pick me up and return to Ljubljana train station, this time for a day-long ride back to Budapest, this time to Buda side, where all the famous baths are spread around the Castle and couple of museums. Morning of May 6th should find me at the hotel’s lobby waiting for a shuttle ride to airport, then British Airlines will fly me home.

Frankly, I feel a bit uneasy re: whole enterprise. Logistics have been difficult, and the chain can break at any link, ruining the whole sequence. Doesn’t make for relaxing mood. But…too late to cancel, and all I can do is to wait and see if my nervousness justified or, hopefully, not.

I’ll say good bye now  – and you tell me what do you want me to bring from my travels.

 

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a space of constant insecurity.

John Self wrote an insightful review to a new Pushkin Press book of essays (two of them) about L’vov.

Must be a good companion to Lem. Adding it to my “to buy” list.

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А вот чем хороша жара – вылезаю из комнаты с кондиционером только периодически, к интернету, а чтоб себя занять в без-интернетном пространстве, перелистываю приятные мне и давно нетронутые книги и альбомы.

Взялась, между прочим, да и подрубила несколько пар костюмных брюк, с весны лежали. Тоже польза.

Ну так вот,  лежу, листаю тучный альбом Wiener Werkstaette изданный TASCHEN, нахожу давно позабытые вкусные подробности, сердце моё радуется, и даже отвращение к очередной переделке собственного портфолио стало проходить. И тут посетила меня мысль: а интересно, венцы тоже называют свой Secession Серебряным Веком? Ведь и у них были свои пертурбации – война (одна и вторая), не говоря уже об аншлюсе, epic fall с положения имперской столицы во второстепенный придаток Германии, итп. Конечно, колхозами и соцреализмом там дело не кончилось, но знает ли кто-нибудь в мире венских архитекторов, художников и композиторов после Второй Мировой масштаба тех, из 1910х?

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Michael Jennings, The Traveler Extraordinaire, is in Lwow (Lviv, Lvov – Львов, Л’вiв) on business, and kindly took a momentary picture for me while seating in a cafe (and consuming a” piece of cake with [my] coffee that turned out to be so rich that it just about explains the downfall of the Austrian-Hungarian empire”).

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There was something I collected for its own sake, and persistently, for a long time: electrical-mechanical junk. To this day I have a special feeling for broken bells, alarm clocks, old radio coils, telephone speakers and in general for objects derailed, worn out, abandoned, and which are given for the last time a chance to exist, with a pitiful vestige if respectability, at a flee market behind a theater. I went to ours often, a little like a philanthropist visiting a slum[…]. I was a patron of for old spark plugs, and bought dilapidated car magnetos, nuts, utterly useless commutators, fragments of unknown devices, and carried them home and hid them in shoe boxes, in drawers, wherever I could[..]. Had someone asked me, no doubt I would have answered immediately that this thing or that might prove useful in some project – but that was not the whole truth, and I knew it.

(Stanislaw Lem, Highcastle. A remembrance.)

I don’t know is it the influence of that city, of its rich old-cultures-spun fabric, of layers and overlaps, under-the-ground and above- artifacts of generations of lives, but my late father-in-law developed the same ailment. I hear his son now resembles his father, even though in his younger years he was making fun of his father obsession. Just like his own son does, now. Even though I, too, had been laughing, something inside made – still makes -me lust after the lost treasures of his numerous boxes, bundles and drawers, filled with remnants of vintage clocks, rusty locks, opulent keys from disappeared cabinets, bronze door knockers and brass hardware…

[Photo credit:  Jonathan G.]

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As you know, in April I went on a short vacation in pre-Catskills. It was a much-needed break, even the lack of proper hiking weather during most of my stay was not objectionable: over its 140 years Mohonk House collected a library any country-house should be proud of. Seated comfortably in a deep chair, warmth from a fireplace on my cheeks, it was such a pleasure to leasurely turn pages of random volumes, some from the 30’s, some older, and every once in a while look up at the peaceful lake framed by the A&C oak window frame. (more…)

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