A Truly Viennese Experience (Or "How I Came to Fear My Downstairs Neighbor")

Fionna Lehmann
May 16, 2015
The Hundertwasser Haus

Though it is tempting to visit a different city or country every weekend while studying abroad, it is also important to just stay in Vienna once in a while. There is plenty to keep you busy within the city, and it’s nice to have some time off from all of the traveling. Thus, that is what I did!

One of the weekends that I stayed home happened to be on my RA’s (Carin’s) birthday. There are only three of us living in the apartment, along with Carin, a native Austrian, so we were all invited to join her and some friends for a birthday dinner in the apartment. There were seven of us total, and we all squeezed ourselves around our dining table. Carin cooked, and the food was magnificent! We were having a great time, and the hours flew by. Before we knew it, ten o’clock, the start of the city-wide quite hours, came and went. We weren’t being particularly loud, but we were enjoying our conversation, and laughing about the funny stories being told. Suddenly we heard a bonking, which sounded like someone was pounding a broom against the ceiling in the apartment below (we later found out that that was exactly what it was). We kind of looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders and moved on. Around eleven we decided to call an end to the gathering, and moved to the hallway to see our guests out. One of the girls was telling one final funny story when there was a sudden frenzied ringing at the door. Silence fell, and we all just looked at each other. Carin got up her nerve first, and opened the little window in the door to see who was out there. The moment the window opened, a yelling started up, roughly translating to “DO YOU KNOW HOW LATE IT IS?! WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING BEING THIS UNTOLERABLY LOUD AT THIS TIME OF NIGHT??!?!?!??!!!????” and on and on and on. Carin just quietly and repeatedly apologized, hoping to quiet the woman outside down. When the tirade was done, and the woman had left, Carin turned to us to explain.

The woman living below us is extremely old, and extremely grumpy. Though we can often hear her television at three in the morning, she loves to chastise people for breaking quiet hours. Though our noise did not go over conversation level, with the occasional burst of laughter, it was still too loud for her!

In my pre-Vienna research, I had heard that there would be a city-wide quiet hour, and that some neighbors actually kept you to it (going so far as to call the police, at worst), but I never imagined that it would actually end up factoring into my experience of Vienna! But I suppose that this was something that could only be experienced here, so I can add it to my list of “truly Viennese experiences!” 

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Fionna Lehmann

<p>Fionna studies Anthropology and Molecular Biology at the University of Pittsburgh. Though she is originally from the Netherlands, she has spent the last ten or so years in California. Her free time is spent reading, horseback riding, nerding out about television shows, hiking, and dreaming of future travels and adventures. She is looking forward to spending her spring semester enjoying the life and culture in Vienna, Austria and the surrounding countries.&nbsp;</p>

2015 Spring
Home University:
University of Pittsburgh
Biological Sciences
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