Returning from Bern, I decided to take a walk to the Augarten, an old Baroque formal garden not far from my flat. The palais building is best known currently as the home of the Vienna Choir Boys, and there is a modern concert hall. Formerly the Palais was the venue for concerts by Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert. The grounds are somewhat bare now in the fall, but it is a typical Baroque garden with wide lawns intersected by symmetrical paths. Families come to play with children, and older couples stroll and sit on the benches. The experience was deeply marred for me, however, by the enormous Nazi bunker that looms over the park. People seem to ignore it, but I found it overwhelming. I’ve heard that the city tried to destroy it, but it was so fortified that it could not be destroyed without much collateral damage. Whatever the reason, this stark reminder of Hitler’s paranoia and brutality scars the landscape. I will not go to seek peace and fresh air at the Augarten again.
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