Places You Don′t Want to Go in Austria - Part II
7.) Klagenfurt & Carinthia
So what′s wrong with Carinthia? The province has scenic lakes, mountains and pretty towns; even the small capital of Klagenfurt managed to preserve a cosy atmosphere and has a few attractions for those keen on sightseeing. Thus, all in all, Carinthia is great - unless you are Jewish, black, gay, a punk, left-wing or - worst of them all - of Slavonic descent.
A very long time ago, Carinthia developed from the Slavonic kingdom of Carantania; however, this doesn′t keep today′s Carinthians to have a jolly good time voting for right-wing populist parties that stoke the eternal hate against everything Slovenian. The tourism industries try hard to maintain a friendly face to the foreigner; but an in-depth experience of Austria′s most Southern province should soon reveal the spirit of the place as a somewhat peculiar one.
The German term "viertel" literally means "fourth" and is used like quarter. The province of Lower Austria is divided into Mostviertel ("Cider Quarter"), Weinviertel ("Wine Quarter"), Waldviertel ("Forest Quarter") and - the name says it all - the Industrieviertel ("Industry Quarter"). This division is a colloquial and not a political or administrative one, so the borders are not too strict. Generally, the Industrieviertel stretches from the South of Vienna and the Eastern part of the Danube to Baden and the outskirts of the Vienna Woods.
It is best known for - you guessed it - heavy industries, factories, loads of traffic due to commuters on their way to or from Vienna, as well as more industries. An economic powerhouse for the province, but in most parts a no-go area for tourists. Apart from certain areas (such as the National Park Donauauen, the Semmering area or Baden), the entire area is full of dull and ugly towns surrounded by boring landscape well worth ignoring.
I made it to Mayerling exactly twice, both times when I was on my way to somewhere else - and I do recommend others to do the same. Mayerling is a hamlet in the Vienna Woods, two small, unspectacular nunneries and a former hunting chateau called Schloss Mayerling. "Former" means in this case that the original chateau doesn′t really exist anymore. Beyond that, there are millions of elderly tourists crowding the place and taking pictures.
This is due to an event that took place here in 1889: Crown Prince Rudolf committed suicide together with his lover Mary Vetsera, which still nourishes Imperial Habsburg-nostalgia. Rudolf′s father, Emperor Franz-Joseph I ordered to "re-model" the chateau - which resulted more or less in a demolition of the building the way it was before 1889. Today, there is very little to see in the area and the Vienna Woods are more attractive pretty much anywhere but at Mayerling.
10.) "The Unknown Suburb"
To me, anywhere in the World, Suburbia ranks among the most disgusting places. Austria is no exception. Thank god there are few actual cities and thus a relatively small number of suburbs. If you want to "enjoy" an in-depth experience of life in Austrian suburbs, try the 2001 movie "Dog Days" by Ulrich Seidl. The country′s biggest suburb is Lower Austria, which I here finally declare the second-least attractive province of Austria after Vienna.
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