Directions, Burgenland style.
Lest you organize a trip to perhaps catch sight of a curvaceous Gerti, don't, as firstly Gerti isn't very curvy and secondly, it was a description of the bend in the road next to her house.
Hardly anyone local explains directions with the proper street names:
" Turn left after you've passed Kainz. "
" You know where the church is? Take the road next to the cemetery and turn right after blue house. "
" She lives next door to where Susie's Oma was born. "
The beautifully green new street signs are really more for show and decorations as the postman, salesmen or the odd tourist are the only ones who seem to make use of them. Getting around our village with often cryptic explanations being the only clues, is rather fun and fashionably eccentric.
Learning to navigate the roads around our area is better than a history lesson. It's those little tidbits dropped in casual conversation, or while giving directions, which make life delightfully rounded and ever so different. I have a sneaking suspicion that a lot of locals can't place the street names as they are so used to talking about the families who have lived and still live in the houses.
Having conversations with the matriarchs of our village requires an out of the box way of linking thoughts. The scaffolding holding up their memories is indelibly linked with the lives lived inside the various houses in our village. Often a conversational train of thought gets derailed with a delightful story about a particular house and the women who married into it.
Even our house is locally known by the previous owner's nickname. Isn't it strange how as soon as one finds out about the history of a house, it changes into a home and more importantly, you can visualize a life lived in it.
Men from our village who are more known as Silver Foxes, were those lads in short pants decades ago, making their mark on their home or rather giving it its character.
By the way, even Bob and I have taken to this way of giving directions. We live on Teichgasse ( Pond Lane ) and most of the time we merely tell visitors to turn left when they see the pond and that our house is the one next to the pink one...