A few days ago I moved into my apartment in beautiful Vienna. Not only do I love Vienna (having blogged several times) but also the apartment is quite nice.
A beautiful stairway leads to the third floor of my apartment. The apartment has interesting uniqueness such as the beautiful 19th century parquet flooring which makes wonderful creaking sounds as you walk on it.
Just as the snowfall in Brno reminded me of home, hearing the creaking also reminds me of growing up in Somerset, my hometown in the USA.
When I first heard the creaking sounds in my apartment, I thought it was a bit creepy… not creepy as I described in Stalking Dracula but more like my description in Through My Sensual Sibiu Eyes… more curious than scary. I actually like the sound as it brought back childhood memories.
I recalled similar noises at Oehling’s Pharmacy and at McCrory’s “Five and Ten” in Somerset. Just like walking through my apartment, the wooden floors in those places made noise but the noise there more resembled deep moaning groans than bird chirping creaks. Both businesses are long gone in Somerset but I am certain that as I mention this that my readers will also recall similar heart-warming sounds from the days they were growing up.
In “uptown” Somerset the principle department store was J. J. Newberry’s. As a child, Newberry’s had the only escalator in town. It only went up one floor where it was fun to then ride the elevator back to the ground floor and repeat going up the escalator again. Doing this or walking backwards on the escalator provided simple pleasures and memories just like experiencing the groaning floors in McCrory’s or Oehling’s. Actually, the escalator probably brought more customers into the store!
This blog story, however, is not only about nostalgia generated by the creaking floors in my Vienna apartment. But rather, this story is to share an appreciation for having new experiences and observations.
One such experience is that my apartment shower is located in the kitchen. I have not seen this anywhere previously. At coffee recently with Marjorie Bowersox Fiebinger, a permanent Vienna resident also from Somerset, I learned that a shower in the kitchen is quite common here!
In my apartment I also have two windows that open to the stairway… one is in the front door and the other in the kitchen / shower room. Marjorie says that these windows have practical application. The one in the kitchen likely lets cooking smells out of the house into the stairwell while the one in the front door is likely for ventilation as the summers are quite hot in Vienna.
There is also a large heater in the living room / dining room which has since been replaced by water heating through radiators. The wood / coal-fired heater is an interesting conversation piece which served a valuable function in a bygone era.
My apartment, with things I have not seen before, is interesting. However, this is Vienna where music and parks are everywhere, where it is easy to get around, where architecture is gorgeous, and where I feel right at home with a great coffee and apple strudel.