The district I’m living in now, Währing, the 18th, is known for its many parks. A special one is the Sternwartepark, which is in my street! It’s the garden of the old observatory, which was built in the 1880ies. There are a couple of smaller buildings in the park as well, which look abandoned – I do think that the rooms of the main observatory are still used, though not for astronomical/observative reasons – there is just way too much light pollution.
But the special thing about this park is that it was closed to the public for at least forty years and that nature has gained the upper hand during that time. There are thickets, fallen trees, overgrown stumps… Since the opening of the park in 2013, the magistrate did some ‘cleaning-up’ and cleared the paths, but much of this untamed and fascinating character still exists.
It seems to me that there is something slightly eerie and strange about this park, though. I felt like I discovered ancient ruins, but not in a good way – it was more like returning to a place that people deserted due to a catastrophy – a place that has been abandoned for a bad reason. Maybe I had this impression because of the weather (the sky already darkened, it rained later), or simply because I was in the middle of a big city yet there was this place, looking completely natural and somehow out of place.
I know that I will certainly come back again and again, though: It’s just a great place to clear your head and be alone for a while…. and pretend that you’re the last surviving human on this earth.