I wasn’t able to verify nor falsify the urban legend that the apartment-complex Alt-Erlaa has more inhabitents than Eisenstadt, the capital of Burgenland.
Anyway, apartment complex is a bit of a euphemism anyway. The four buildings are enormous, but it’s mainly their shape that is intimidating when you’re standing directly in front of one of them. They remind me of a model of an imaginary town on the moon that I once saw in a science museum.
There is not much to do here apart from staring at the buildings that I’ve never been that close to. They are one of the first things you see when you are approaching Vienna from Western direction.
I would like to sneak into one of the buildings and spend 10 minutes waiting for someone to come out or get in, but nobody shows up. That’s a bit scary. As if you were standing at a central spot in Eisenstadt on a Sunday afternoon, and no living soul would pass by.
I move on to the so-called “shopping park”, an open air mall. There’s also a primary school there, and a library, and many doctors, two Chinese restaurants, a pizzeria and Café Leonardo. Middle-aged guys with beer cans. Single people walking their dogs. It’s very silent, given that both Eisenstadt and Alt-Erlaa should have around 13.000 inhabitants. Deserted open air malls are creepy.
I enter Café Leonardo. The atmosphere, the mint-coloured plastic seats remind me a lot of the cafés in Neusiedl where we had our very first experiences with alcohol at a school trip in 1996. That’s why I order a Pfirsichspritzer almost without thinking – some sort of peach-flavoured wine cocktail, gateway drug of Austrian teenagers.
Three other people at Café Leonardo, plus the waitress. Reading newspapers, devouring ice cream. Everyone sitting at their own table. They seem to vaguely know each other, though.
Radio Arabella is playing Danzer’s “Hupf in Gatsch”.
That’s Alt-Erlaa, 1230 Vienna.