Sunday, July 06, 2008

Vienna Report, part I: Downtown Wien

We are the Champions! We did it again! (Last time in 1998 with a slightly different team. Slightly.)

Birthday Celebrations. Football Euro Cup 2008. The Third Man. Mauthausen (Gusen) Concentration Camp.

Those were the overall themes of our recent visit to Vienna. We were ten happy Finns, four of us children between 3, sorry, 4 and 17.

* * * * *

The Third Man, Opening narrator:
I never knew the old Vienna before the war with its Strauss music, its glamour and easy charm. Constantinople suited me better. I really got to know it in the classic period of the black market. We'd run anything if people wanted it enough and whom had the money to pay. Of course a situation like that does tempt amateurs but, well, umm, you know they can't stay the course like a professional.

Now the city is divided into four zones, you know, each occupied by a power: the American, the British, the Russian and the French. But the centre of the city that's international policed by an international patrol. One member of each of the four powers. Wonderful! What a hope they had! All strangers to the place and none of them could speak the same language. Except a sort of smattering of German.

Good fellows on the whole, did their best you know. Vienna doesn't really look any worse than a lot of other European cities. Bombed about a bit.

Oh, I was going to tell you, wait, I was going to tell you about Holly Martins, an American. Came all the way here to visit a friend of his. The name was Lime, Harry Lime. Now Martins was broke and Lime had offered him, some sort, I don't know, some sort of job.

Anyway, there he was, poor chap. Happy as a lark and without a cent.

Anna Schmidt: You know, you ought to get yourself a girl.

That's a nice girl, that. But she ought to go careful in Vienna. Everybody ought to go careful in a city like this.

A monument respecting the Austrian victims in concentration camps. Mr HP, Miss Funnybunny and I have visited Salaspils near Riga, too. (Cheerfull travellers as we are.)

Harry Lime: What did you want me to do? Be reasonable. You didn't expect me to give myself up... 'It's a far, far better thing that I do.' The old limelight. The fall of the curtain. Oh, Holly, you and I aren't heroes. The world doesn't make any heroes outside of your stories.

The Final scene on The Third Man is taking place near this spot, the Schwedenplatz.

Really cool disco in Karlsplatz, the park nearest to our place.

The dragons helped when it was too hot hot hot.

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