36 Years Ago

36 Years Ago, Vienna 1971—A Student Journal

Day 029: The beautiful parks of Vienna

Day 29 — The beautiful parks of Vienna
31-August-1971 (Tue.)

Man with pigeon
Last day of German class exams. Studying in the beautiful parks of Vienna. Travel the world virtually with Google Earth.

Day 028: German class examinations

Day 28 — German class examinations
30-August-1971 (Mon.)

Examinations in German class and my usual advice for young people.

Day 027: My first song; Rick Steve’s Europe on PBS

Day 27 — My first song; Rick Steve’s Europe on PBS
29-August-1971 (Sun.)

A two-line entry today. I’ve written my first young-love pop-folk song ever—“One Summer Day”—for Anjali. It may be corny but it was from my heart. (all girls swoon)

In the contemporary world (today), I happen to see a Rick Steve’s Europe video tour of Vienna. Wonderful video and commentary.

Day 026: Mahler’s 8th Symphony; Schönbrunn Palace

Day 26 — Mahler’s 8th Symphony; Schönbrunn Palace
28-August-1971 (Sat.)

Schonbrunn Palace gardens 01
What a day. A visit to the incredible Schönbrunn Palace and gardens with Anjali, and an incredible performance of Mahler’s 8th Symphony. Shivers…shivers…shivers up and down my spine.

Practice on my new horn and sad to see Achille leave for Italy.

And a little rant on why the RIAA should change their policies and fees on licensing music for Internet-radio and podcasts.

Day 025: Coffee with Mozart, Hadyn, and Beethoven

Day 25 — Coffee with Mozart, Hadyn, and Beethoven
27-August-1971 (Fri.)

A short but historic day. Dining with Schubert, and drinking coffee with Mozart, Hadyn, and Beethoven. I meet my new horn teacher. It looks like the
music’s about to begin. Maestro!

And the first historical documentation of my career as a songwriter. It began in Vienna? Who would have thought?


Day 024: Burgemeister’s Reception at the Rathaus

Day 24 — Burgemeister’s reception at the Rathaus
26-August-1971 (Thur.)

Burgermeister reception at Rathaus
Back in Vienna, I return very tired and head off to German class. I’m not tired enough to miss the Mayor’s Reception that evening, however. A formal ball with everyone dressed up. Especially Anjali, in her soiree. Dancing and enjoyable company. Life is good.

Day 023: My new Alexander French horn

Day 23 — My new Alexander French horn
25-August-1971 (Wed.)

Alexander natural horns
I’m in Mainz, Germany. I buy my first new French horn today at the Alexander horn shop. I’m so happy. I meet Mr. Alexander himself.

Nixon devalued the U.S. dollar a few days ago. He cost me money.

Day 022: I need a French horn—off to Mainz, Germany

Day 22 — I need a French horn—off to Mainz, Germany.
24-August-1971 (Tue.)

Off to Germany
After a day at school, it’s off to Mainz, Germany to buy my French Horn. I also provide a chronological timeline of how I got started in music—ending with an amazing secret.


Day 021: Busy, busy. Why am I writing this blog?

Day 21 — Busy, busy. Why am I writing this blog?
23-August-1971 (Mon.)

• “I’m busy, dude.” For myself, it’s busy in both 1971 and 2007 and in between.
• I revisit the reasons as to why I am writing this blog…

Mostly, to

• Encourage the "young" and the "graduated."
• Encourage the “middies” and “oldsters.”
• Be creative.
• Never give up.
• Follow those dreams.


Day 020: Salzburg finale; Festung Hohensalzburg and the Schubert B-minor Mass

Day 20 — Day 020: Salzburg finale; Festung Hohensalzburg and the Schubert B-minor Mass
22-August-1971 (Sun.)

Magnificent Salzburg 01
I close out my last day in Salzburg with a full day of sightseeing (Mozart museum, Domplatz, and the medieval fortress, Festung Hohensalzburg.

The highlight of the day was my attending a real Mass in a cathedral. 1st row. Oh, it happened to be a full performance of Schubert’s B-minor Mass. Heavenly.

Day 019: Oom-pah-pah bands, yodelers, and folk dancers

Day 19 — Oom-pah-pah bands, yodelers, and folk dancers
21-August-1971 (Sat.)

Salzburg shopping 01
My 2nd day in Salzburg, Austria is a day of sightseeing—Hellbrunn Palace, Mirabell Gardens, a concert, and a beer garden—with oom-pah-pah bands, yodelers, and those “guys who hop and slap themselves.” No, not Chevy Chase, "those guys."


Day 018: Salzburg, Austria; first train trip

Day 18 — Salzburg, Austria; first train trip
20-August-1971 (Fri.)

Magnificent Salzburg 01
Mozart’s birth city — Salzburg, Austria. I take my first train ride, totally standing up, to this wonderful city. Salzburg welcomes me with a hail storm and no student service to help me. What to do? Find a room, walk around, listen to music, and enjoy. Which I do.

Photography is my hobby and Salzburg is a great place to take photographs. (Photos coming soon.) If you aren’t already taking digital pictures, you should be. Come on. Pictures are memories!

[Kodak, soon to advertise.]

Day 017: I'm trying

Day 17 — I’m trying
17-August-1971 (Thur.)

No news today. Just working on German language. I did invent a new literary language device that can be used in any language. Later today—2007—I bought the Berlitz German Premiere CD course. Will I use it?

Sending out over 600 slides to be scanned for this journal. Can’t wait to get them back.

Day 016: Innocence, first kiss

Day 16 — Innocence, first kiss
18-August-1971 (Wed.)

I explain that I typically don’t write about my daily routines in the journal.

This night is special for Anjali and myself. It is a great memory of youth and innocence.

Day 015: 1971—What’s an Austrian schilling worth?

Day 15 — 1971—What’s an Austrian schilling worth?
17-August-1971 (Tue.)

No journal entry today.

So, I explore my financial ledger to figure out the value of the Austrian schilling. We get the approximate value, then go into a price diatribe comparing today to yesteryear, confusing you, me, and the Federal Reserve.

Day 014: My first concert—Washington State Choir

Day 14 — Day 014: My first concert—Washington State Choir
16-August-1971 (Mon.)

• Uh, oh! I’m complaining about learning German again.
• Saw my first concert, a university choir from the United States. Yes!
• And a brief flashback to my student concert-going days at Lincoln Center.


Day 013: Vienna Woods, Kahlenburg

Day 13 — Vienna Woods, Kahlenburg
15-August-1971 (Sun.)

Vienna Woods
A quiet day of walking in the Vienna Woods, and then up the winding path to see a view of Vienna and outlying vineyards from the heights of Kahlenburg. An enjoyable day.

A little bit of an aside on my interest in photography and the Kodak slides that are from 36 years ago, and Austrians.


Day 012: Let’s go to the summer cottage, dear—Belvedere Palace

Day 12 — Let’s go to the summer cottage, dear—Belvedere Palace
14-August-1971 (Sat.)

Belvedere Palace
“Hello, yes it’s me, Prince Eugene of Savoy. Yes, the guy who defeated the Turks in 1683. Well, thanks. We want to take the kids and go to the summer cottage this weekend at Belvedere. Can you round up the 1,000-person staff and have them get the place ready? Chow.”

That was the owner of Belvedere Palace. This was the first palace that I saw up close. Palaces are huge. The gardens are incredible. The interiors are ornate and magnificent. This was only the
summer residence. Wow. I'm ready to move in.

Oh, and Anjali also plays folk guitar, sings, and writes songs. And
I’m supposed to be the musician?


Day 011: Danube boat party, the Iron Curtain

Day 11 — Danube boat party, the Iron Curtain
13-August-1971 (Fri.)

Danube Boat Party
No short posts here. Live on-the-spot journaling, documenting an exciting full-day excursion on the Blue, err Green, Danube River that flows by Vienna (Wein). Sightseeing, plenty of photos, and more.

I’m up to the task and only briefly let the armed patrol boat, barbed-razor-wire security fence (the Iron Curtain), and the armed machine-gun guards in the towers “shock” me. Welcome to Czechoslovakia and communism in the 60’s and 70’s.

Anjali, a young, pretty girl, comes to the rescue. We sightsee, eat, and then learn to dance. I’m her first dance partner.


Day 010: German is hard, yes it is

Day 10 — German is hard, yes it is
12-August-1971 (Thur.)

Today is a slow news day. All I do is complain about the difficulty of the German class.

I wax philosophical and give my non-professional advice on learning theory. Disclaimer: use at your own risk. Learning may be dangerous and contagious.

Day 009: Grinzing wine tasting

Day 9 — Grinzing wine tasting
11-August-1971 (Wed.)

After German class in the morning, where I make a non-funny German joke, we go to wine country—Grinzing—for some, eatin’, talkin’, drinkin’, singin’, and tastin’ some of that mighty-fine Austrian wine.


Day 008: German language class starts

Day 8 — German language class starts
10-August-1971 (Tue.)

Streetcleaning on the Ringstrasse
My German language class started today. Busy with school and enjoying the class and my professor. The photo is that of a streetcleaner on the Ringstrasse, close to where the University of Vienna German classes were being held.

And being that it’s a slow journal day, I make a plea for the young people of the world to save us.

Day 007: Dr. H.—Roommate 2 from Japan

Day 7 — Dr. H.—Roomate 2 from Japan
09-August-1971 (Mon.)

Roommate Doctor H
Roomate 2 arrives from Japan. It's Dr. H.

Today is a short day with not much entered. It was probably a busy day registering for the language course and taking some tests. I like Dr. H. We can only communicate in German. Ya! Das ist richtig!

P.S. Any German in this journal, especially in these reflections, is strictly off the top of my head from my tired-old memory, and may be totally incorrect. Read (“lesen” ?) at your own risk.

Day 006: Achille from Italy

Day 6 — A new roommate, Achille
08-August-1971 (Sun.)

Church stained-glass window
Today is a day of rest, and of meeting many people. First and foremost, I have a new roommate, Achille, who is from Milan, Italy. Together, we meet friendly people over lunch and dinner from South Africa and France, and attend Mass at St. Stephan’s Cathedral.

Day 005: Coffee and call girls

Day 5 — Coffee and call girls
07-August-1971 (Sat.)

Journal Aug 7
Ok, ok! I'm focusing on bra-less girls. I'm young, I'm 22, I'm male. And I still am not sure on how to spell bra-less. [Repeating theme.] Certainly, I'm trying to build up readership for this blog by shamelessly suggesting sexual innuendoes. All of these reflections are probably in my contemporary mind and of less importance those many years ago. Hmmm, I am writing about it a lot. So, I take it back.

Sex sells, they say. Oh boy, does it! [towards the end of the post]

Watch me sit on a bench next to a pretty girl and practice my knock-em-dead-pick-up-German-language skills. As Mastercard says, "priceless."

Did I tell you that I am really enjoying this project? I am. As I type and read the transcript, I'm smiling and going back to those days. It really is a blast. I'm not certain if it's that interesting to the rest of the world. But, heck...I'm going on.


Day 004: To the dorms, to the discotek

Day 4 — To the dorms, to the discotek
06-August-1971 (Fri.)

As a young male, I am becoming infatuated with the beauty of Vienna and the bra-less girls in the Voom-Voom discotek. I finally leave the hotel and enter the student hostel (dorms) where I will spend the summer while attending a German language course.


Day 003: New people, new languages

Day 3 — New people, new languages
05-Aug-1971 (Thur.)

Vienna people in park
Meeting new and interesting people is fun. I’m enjoying my newfound exposure to people that speak foreign languages. Wait a second, in their country I'm the foreigner with the foreign language. Read More...

Day 002: Arrival in Vienna

Day 2 — Arrival in Vienna
04-Aug-1971 (Wed.)

Vienna Burgtheater
Finally, arrival in Vienna. I learn that Vienna is a big city and has actual people. They wear business suits and go to work. Just like us. Helped by the Austrian National Student Service, I get a hotel room, try to make contacts, and mostly sleep.

Jet lag.

Day 001: The journey begins

Day 1 — The journey begins
03-Aug-1971 (Tue.)

First plane flight
Pan Am, Flight 72, 6:00 pm, 747

The journey begins. My first time on a plane. Heck, I had never been outside of NJ, NY, VT, and PA.

I'm on the way to Vienna, Austria for a year's graduate study. Perhaps one of the best years of my life.

For each day that I have a journal entry, I transcribe the entry and then give my retrospective commentary looking back from today, 36 years later. I have posted a few pages of the original journal in the Pictures/Photo section of this website. They are on the small size but give you the general idea of the original.

I hope that you join me. Enjoy.