This is the last post about our trip to Vienna earlier this month. You have so far stepped inside our classic Viennese apartment, been introduced to hip Neubau district, taken out to Naschmarkt and Wieden on a sunny Saturday morning, and been served mouth-watering Apfelstrudel with a cup of frothy Wiener Melange.
But to me this trip wouldn’t have been complete without revisiting the area where most of my Viennese memories were located – Alsergrund, the 9th district. Ten years ago, my best friend and I, together with our then-boyfriends, were in the city for the Christmas market. Alser Straße was the metro stop where we would meet, as we stayed at different hotels. Alser Straße is a name I could never forget. Same as that bar under the bridge where a Romanian girl living in Vienna – a friend of my best friend – took us one night. I cannot recall the music they played in the main area, but I know they had U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday at the ladies room.
So yeah, I wanted to walk those streets again, see how they changed, see how much I can recognise.
Once in this part of town, it becomes immediately clear that it is very residential and quiet. But this is not all. Alsergrund is famous for its numerous students and medics. That’s because it is home to the University of Vienna and the General Hospital. Sigmund Freud himself lived here, his house now a museum. I saw it on my previous visit, so we skipped it this time.
One place in Alsergrund still haunting me ten years later is the Pathologisch-anatomisches Bundesmuseum (Pathological-Anatomical State Museum). Housed in a former asylum for mental disorder patients, this unusual museum contains some dusty corners of the annals of medicine: preserved hydrocephalic infants, wax castings of tertiary syphilis, antique medical devices, laryngeal tuberculous ulcer – to name but a few. Needless to say, I didn’t revisit.
I am glad I got to walk around Alsergrund again, after so much time. It felt a bit strange, too, as if I were the only survivor of those memories. Although I know I’m not.