All Saint’s Day is major in Austria, and in most Christian countries around Central and Eastern Europe as well. All week long the flower shops and pop-up stands near cemeteries have swelled with red candles and flower arrangements in preparation for this weekend’s mass melancholy. It goes without saying, too, that everything here is closed. Everything, that is, except for golf courses, souvenir stores in the Inner Stadt, and grocery stores at train stations, petrol stations, and the airport. Don’t ask me to explain the logic behind these protocols.
After a beautifully crisp morning ride at the barn (also open!), we, too, headed to one of Vienna’s most famous cemeteries, the St. Marxer Friedhof. For most Austrians dying and remembrance is a cherished part of their culture, so it was of no surprise to us to see families picnicking on the grassy areas of the graveyard today. Extra trams were in service to Vienna’s Central Cemetery, where over 3 million are interred; and even our little village cemetery offered shuttle bus service from the closest tram stop.
The St. Marxer Friedhof is almost park-like, with dappled, quiet lanes lined with the markers of Vienna’s 18th century bourgeois, some very weathered and faded; others, still full of Biedermeier-era grace and style.
The protected grave of a Jewish person, one of a handful across the cemetery.
Following a group of Segway tourists (yes, in a cemetery), we came to what is believed to be the final resting place of the cemetery’s most famous interred, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Really, as strange as it might seem, St. Marxer Friedhof was the perfect place to be today.