Villach is a town at a river, or better two of them, Drau, the big one, and Gail, the one that we had yesterday. And not only that, it’s that you feel it all the time.
I grew up in Klagenfurt, the capital of Carinthia. Nowadays it calls itself “Klagenfurt am Wörthersee” (at Lake Wörth), but Klagenfurt never did much with its lake. There is a big bath at the lake, sure, there is a big park as well and all kinds of tourist infrastructure, but this area does not feel like a part of the town. It’s apart.
Vienna is also more beside river Danube than anything else. It’s not the feeling that you get in London, Paris, Rome or Florence. Of course Vienna sprawls in Transdanubia, but it’s more like two cities, one of old splendor and one typical suburbia, separated by a stream, connected by some bridges and two underground lines. It’s only different along a small channel, “Donaukanal”, that separates from the main stream in the west, comes all the way in, touches the first district at the center, and then joins back east of the city. Donaukanal is the only place where Vienna lives along its river. On the other hand, Vienna is pretty big and where I live, it’s easy to ignore the river altogether.
Not so in Villach. You can’t ignore the rivers, because whenever you’ve got to get from A to B, it’s likely that you have to cross the river Drau, and that means you must consider bridges.
I shot this particular image yesterday afternoon, when I went to town per pedes, just to get a feeling for the actual dimensions. It took me 35 minutes of strolling to reach the center, taking images in between, all the while making a mental map and correcting old misconceptions about the geography of Villach.
Weather was overcast, just not raining, light was flat and boring, and so this is the only remains, a little bit of geometry, a place where the town reaches all the way down to the river.
The Song of the Day is “Where The Lazy River Goes By” by Roy Eldridge. I have it on disc 76 of “The Ultimate Jazz Archive”, but you could also get it on the collection “Little Jazz”. Another source (if it’s the same recording indeed) claims the vocals to be added and by Gladys Palmer.