A baryton (that’s what they call it here, not sure if it has the same name in English) is… what. Like if you had a cello and a gambe? And they mated and the egg hatched? It might be a baryton? Lots of strings – maybe six in front, and more behind the neck to be plucked with the left thumb. The neck is 3 times as wide as normal, because it has what looks like a resonance thing alongside it, for those rear strings. Of which there must be a dozen, judging from all the tuning pegs.
And the whole thing is topped off with a carved head of a guy.
And it was built in 1651, approximately. Mid 17th century, anyway.
And it’s being played by an instrument geek, played well, in a trio (violin/viola and cello, 18th century instruments) in the Ruprechtskirche, Vienna’s oldest church.
Josef Haydn and Andreas Lidl.
Alpha and I were there last night, with Jessica and Brendan, the famous bloggers. You would think, with music that good, and company that interesting, and pews that uncomfortable, in a church that cold, it would be harder to fall asleep, but I managed. And I wasn’t the only one, people were nodding off all over.
Still, it was brilliant.
The whole day was.
Here, if a sausage isn’t unhealthy enough for you, they will wrap one in cheese and bacon and fry it if you want, and call it a Bernerwuersterl. I had one for lunch just to demonstrate it to our visitors. For dinner, we weren’t very hungry so we all had sausages standing up at a sausage stand prior to the concert (we were standing up, the sausages were lying down, sliced into pieces).
We did a lot of walking.
We looked at a courtyard.
We had coffee at the Hawelka coffee house, which is miraculously still run by the original owners, who were in their seventies twenty years ago when I first went there. They are still there, ancient and sweet and apparently in love.

7 responses to “Baryton

  1. Had I known about such a thing as this Bernerwuersterl, I would have had to try it out.

    /looks around for flights on web.

  2. I miss days like that. Atlanta is not so wander-friendly, an while standup sausage is not an option, one can get fried chicken, roti, barbeque and other pretty decent substitutes.

    When I lived in Vienna, I was student poor. Delights like the Kaesekrainer (a cheese-injected, plump sausage) or anything that required extra labor, such as frying or grilling (always an extra charge) were a rare and relished treat. I had to languish in the lower end of the Wurstelstandt menu: Burenwurst (gekocht, not gegrillt, which cost extra), hotdog spezial mit sharfen Senf from the stand near Schwedenplatz en route to school. I became intimate with several of the finer (by my book) purveyors. On my last night in my Hausfrau’s apartment, before I transferred across town to stay another couple weeks in the stoner school teacher’s apartment, the nice lady at my corner Wurstelstand gave me a free meal and a chocolate bar “fuer die Reise” — for the trip.

    When I lived in Vienna, walking a mile seemed like nothing. I would walk from my apartment near Franz Josef’s Bahnhof all the way to Johanessgasse in the First District and usually make it in less time than had I taken the streetcar-UBahn-UBahn commute route. I was a power walker, and poor. I would walk from a rock club in the outer reaches all the way across the city to my home to avoid the cab fare. Despite my steady diet of sausages and many, many beers, I was losing weight. Too few calories in, many, many calories consumed by the walking. Always walking. Always exploring.

    In a way, I wish I could move to a new city every two years so I could walk like that — where everything seems new and foreign. I like that feeling. I spent a hot summer in Atlanta when I first arrived, unemployed, and walking. Sweating. Walking through Sweet Auburn to get homemade ginger beer from the Jamaicans. Plowing through the then-vacant wastelands of intown Atlanta, I could walk from Little Five Points to Midtown without ever using a street. Crumbled foundations, burnt-out mills. Now they’ve put condos on every scrap of that former urban forest. Where I used to trip over homeless sleepers, people now sleep in stacks, partitioned by sheet rock and newly-set hardwood floors.

  3. mig

    Vienna can be like that too, cj. Sometimes it seems there is nothing here. Jessica and Brendan seemed to have had a very interesting time here. Those sausages, Mark, are quite high in fat and nasty cholesterol, I’m sure. You might want to try a Schmalzbrot instead, which is an open-face lard sandwich (with a bit of salt and pepper, and maybe chopped onions on top. Mmm.).

    I’ve been broke in Vienna, too, Scott, and it was as charming as you describe. When I was a student we used to invite friends to our apartment once a week to cook macaroni and macaroni (we often didn’t have any cheese) because the combination of guests and boiling noodles warmed our apartment above freezing.

  4. I remember the Berner Wuerstl, and I remember Vienna. I particularly loved the Hundertwasser Haus and always wanted to live in there. I think I still now the schedule of the Vienna-Munich ICE. I am from Bavaria and lived right at the Austrian border – worked as a missionary in Klein Walsertal. LOL
    Now I live in California which is not bad either. The Berner Wuerstl, however, is not here. I did find the Einspaenner coffee, and the Kaiserschmarrn. I also found a fast food place called Wiener Schnitzel and when I went in there, all they sold were freakin’ Hot Dogs.
    I put you on my blogroll as I enjoy reading your entries.
    As German immigrant I feel in between as well – just the other way round: too less American to feel 100% at home but not German enough anymore to wanting to go back.

  5. edieraye

    Can I come visit? Sounds like a lovely time was had by all.

  6. j-a

    gosh. what’s the average age of your first heart attack there?!

  7. mig

    Oh, about forty-fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii