Innsbruck: Olympic Villages (1975)

Prior to and during the Winter Olympics of 1976,  I lived in the old Olympic Village which had been constructed for the 1964 games, and which were later converted into apartments.

Innsbruck - Old olympic village


1964 Olympic Village, Innsbruck

Outside the window of my apartment, one could see the final preparations being placed on the new Olympic Village; some athletes had already begun to move in.

Innsbruck - Elder Swenson at Olympic Village


New Olympic Village in final stages of preparation

Innsbruck - Olympic Village - Communist Flag


Flag of the USSR being displayed from a window

Innsbruck - February 1976 - Olympic Flames


While my circumstances did not allow for visiting any of the events, we were able to visit a number of venues prior to the games, and it was possible to see the ski jumping event and the Olympic flames in the stadium from the train station.

Innsbruck - Olympic Stadium from Train Station


The excitement in the city during the games was palpable. I felt this decades later as I volunteered during the winter Olympics of 2002 in Salt Lake City; these games are the event of a lifetime, and Innsbruck was fortunate to be able to host the games twice within 12 years.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

WÖK – Wiener Öffentliche Kuchenbetriebsgesellschafft

The “Vienna Public Feeding GMBH” was established in 1919, with the goal of providing for the nutrition of children and the more vulnerable sections of society. It was renamed the “Viennese public kitchen company” in 1920, and retained that name until the company merged with Wigast. From 1999 to 2001, Wigast was gradually absorbed into the Austrian Tourist Office; at that time it was the largest restaurant umbrella company in Austria and included restaurants such as Rathauskeller, Donauturm and Schloss Wilhelminenberg, as well as the Wienerwald chain. In 2008, the Tourist Office sold off its restaurant holdings to better focus on tourist promotion.

The WÖK above was photographed in the summer of 1976 in the 18th Bezirk of Vienna.

What you got there was cheap and edible, but not much else. It reminded me of the ÖBB Betriebsküche in Villach, where I became acquainted with Beuschel; indeed, when I read Melville’s description of Turkey in “Bartleby the Scrivener” – (his clothes were apt to look oily and smell of eating-houses), WÖK is always what I think of. That said, the memories are indelible, and the WÖKs now belong to history.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Vienna: Chimney Sweep, 1976

I love the light in this photo. This Schornsteinfeger (chimney sweep) was working in Gertrudplatz 7 in the 18th Bezirk of Vienna, sometime in the latter part of 1976. I caught him up in the attic and asked him to pose for a photo. It’s one of my favorite memories of Austria. (Next to the heiße Maroni, the Schnitzel, the Chokoladeschnecken, the mountains of Innsbruck, usw usw usw…=)