A primer of Viennese Life

When I started writing this blog, I didn’t think about my potential audience that are not familiar with my little corner of the world, so this page is intended to clear up the various references to Viennese life that I may have failed to explain in posts. If you spot something that I haven’t cleared up adequately, let me know!

Arschgeweih: Whale tail.

Ausländer: a foreigner – usually meant pejoratively, although not exclusively so. But that is a subject for a separate post of its own.

Beisl: a restaurant serving local Austrian-cum-Central-European-fayre. Lashings of Schnitzel and Knödel.

Boboland: a tag for any hip and up and coming area of Vienna – I had long presumed the term to be restricted to Vienna’s 7th district (Neubau), particularly around the Spittelberg area (and the MQ) but there are also satellites in other districts – e.g. the 2nd district by the Karmelitermarkt, parts of the 15th district, most of the 8th and 9th districts. The term Bobo apparently is now on the wane, having been at its height in the early noughties, although ostarrichi.org suggests that “Bobostan” is a more recently coined term.

Cottageviertel: A neighbourhood in Vienna’s 18th and 19th districts (Währing and Döbling) looked upon enviously as prime real estate.

Eissalon Tichy: Until recently by the end station at the south end of the U1, Reumannplatz. Renowned for its Eismarillenknödeln (ice cream dumplings with apricot purée filling) and its ice cream.

Fahne: (1) a flag; (2) slang for a hangover. Usually schnapps induced.

Fischerbräu: brewery and Beisl, only stumbling distance from the Cottageviertel. Not quite local enough to be a local though.

Flohmarkt: fleamarket – a regular opportunity for people to get rid of their tat and buy other people’s.

Garconniere: a one room flat (usually with a bathroom) that has everything in a single room (like a UK-style “bedsit”)

Grätzl: in rapper slang, as my wife’s nephew confidently informs me, your Grätzl is your ‘hood. The Cottageviertel along with parts of Döbling are my Grätzl.

Hahnenkammrennen: ski race in Kitzbühel which apparently enthralls all of Austria, held in mid-late January.

Handy: German word for a mobile phone. Although giving way to “Smartphone” as we head into the 21st century.

Kirtag: a street fair loosely connected with the parish church, with an accent on excessive alcohol consumption.

Ottakringer: Vienna’s local brew, from Ottakring, the 16th district.

Pension: small family-run B&B style accommodation. Often seen with a “Zimmer frei” flag or sign from the road in case you are looking for down at heel accommodation on your travels through rural Austria.

Planquadrat: a police check, conducted either to check for speeding or drink driving. Particularly prevalent near Heurigen and during the Punsch season.

Rauchverbot: smoking ban in bars and restaurants, now finally in force since November 2019

S45: Schnellbahn (suburban railway) line 45. It runs from Handelskai to Hütteldorf and conveniently stops close to my home.

Schnellbahn: regional train services, which are operated by Austrian Federal Railways, and which connect into Vienna’s public transportation network.

Sommerloch: the part of the summer when there is little news, restaurants and bars go on Betriebsurlaub (some permanently!) or renovate. People are on holiday and it all grinds to a halt, meaning that newspaper have to plumb desperate depths to find news to report.

Therme: (1) a spa resort, where Austrians get their “Wellness”. (2) a boiler, which invariably breaks down on a public holiday or a holyday.

Transdanubien: humourous term for the part of Vienna that is located across the Danube (ie. the Districts of Floridsdorf and Donaustadt).

Tschocherl: a dive bar, a local denizen for local people as a friend who tried to impress me with “The League of Gentlemen” once claimed. Usually suitably nicotine-stained décor.

U1 (the red line): Vienna’s original underground line, coloured red on maps. In 2017 it was extended to the south (5 new stations), having been extended in the north in the mid noughties.

Vanillakipferl: a Christmas biscuit shaped like a crescent.

“Zimmer frei”: a sign seen frequently in tourist regions, advising that there is a free room in case you are seeking accommodation.

“Zweite Kassa, bitte!”: The benchmark of integration for any common or garden Ausländer is apparently to bellow for a second cashier at a supermarket, where the queue is too long. There is a lot more to integrating than this platitude, one that is oft cited in blogs about fitting in in Vienna, sadly all too frequently without the necessary degree of irony it deserves.