This will shock and amaze all who know me and my tendency to take terrible pictures/break cameras but I didn’t do too badly this time, so I thought I’d post a few photo essays rather than try to write up all my experiences more formally.
We’ll see. I suspect there will be more words than pictures, in spite of my best intentions.
I love public transportation, and Vienna has a wonderful system of buses, trams, and subways that I used extensively; the weekly pass is well worth purchasing. The system has only one major flaw: It’s not air-conditioned. This is not a problem most of the time — and, yeah, I know, it’s an American obsession that Europeans don’t share — but I visited during a serious heat wave. Austrians may be generally fastidious in their personal hygiene, but by the end of my visit everyone was a bit ripe. The underground, being underground, was naturally cooled and may have even had some air blowing through it, but the trams and buses were had the shake-and-bake effect down.
I’m pretty sure dogs are permitted on all the forms of public transportation in Vienna, but I only noticed them — and signs alluding to them — on the U-Bahn.
I know pictures are supposed to speak for themselves, but this requires a bit of explanation. Dogs are allowed to ride on trains if they are leashed (Leine) and muzzled (Beißkorb). Sorry icon designer, but I didn’t recognize the muzzle symbol and thought it meant “no barking,” which would have been difficult to enforce, but who knows?
As for the arrow pointing to the dog, that’s an LED display that usually announces the next stop, I realized after the fact. At first I wondered why the dog icon needed to be pointed at; it’s pretty easy to spot.
Well, okay, so not everybody observes the rules in Austria. Maybe this couple thought the bandana could serve as a muzzle in a pinch.
Note the brass handles above the dog’s butt, by the way. Doors on Viennese subways don’t automatically open; you have to have someone on the inside or outside either push a button, in the case of the newer cars, or, in this case, pull the handles sharply to the right or the left. Although the instructions are pretty clear, even in German, the amount of pressure required on the handle may be initially confusing to some (ahem). You can depend — I think — on someone coming to your aid after giving you the “dumbkopf” look.
According to Vienna tourist information,
The subway lines U1, U2 and U3 are Vienna’s “art lines”. For over 20 years, works of art have been placed in many stations to make the stops more attractive. 1.5 million people visit the subway stations every day and are able to enjoy the art.
International artists such as Ken Lum, Nam June Paik and Anton Lehmden as well as Austrian masters like Gottfried Kumpf have provided works — ranging from modern installations to wall murals and sculptures.
Naturally, I didn’t notice any of the aesthetically pleasing ones, only the following.
I think it is in the Karlsplatz station, where I frequently transferred from the U-2 to the U-3 line, but I can’t be sure. Nor do I know who the artist is. All information welcome.