Extra Walks for Special Interests
SIGMUND FREUD IN VIENNA -A WALK THROUGH THE DAY OF PROFESSOR FREUD
At Berggasse 19 in Vienna’s ninth district , the home and practice of Dr. Sigmund Freud, the days of the famous professor always started exactly the same way.
The professor would not let anything disturb his daily routine even in exceptional situations, like during the break with his colleagues and longtime comrades-in-arms did the professor deviate from his strict daily program. Not even the beginning of a world war could jumble the professor’s daily routine.
At 7 am sharp every morning one of the three house maids ran a hot bath for the professor. Then the maid laid out a fresh towel, hung by the open window Freud’s suit that smelled of cigar smoke and prepared exactly the same breakfast for the head of the household as every day – a soft-boiled egg with steak tartare. After Freud was done freshening up, the barber arrived. At the same time every day he shortened the professor’s beard and combed his hair. Between eight in the morning and twelve noon Freud received patients in the consulting room of his practice.
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Before the patients reached the hypnosis couch, they encountered a lot of Eros and Thanatos. Besides his addiction to cocaine and cigars, Dr. Freud was hooked on one other thing: He collected antique artifacts with such fervor that the waiting and consulting rooms, as well as the work room in his practice resembled a richly furnished ancient Egyptian burial chamber. From every corner mythic gods from the Greek and ancient Egyptian afterworlds stared down at the already confused visitors of the practice. Tombstones, magic votive offerings and sarcophagus portraits, Neolithic bone knives, phallic charms from all epochs, Dionysian vases and the patients – all seemed to be waiting for a hand to open the door of the consulting room to let them in.
About his “old and dirty gods”, as he lovingly called them and once revealed to his friend, the author Stefan Zweig, that his passion for collecting cost him lots of time and money and that he spent more time studying books about archeology than about psychology.
One of the largest archaeological collections of his time
At the time in Vienna only a few members of the imperial family could compete with the professor’s passion for collecting. It was known that the private archeological collection of the brother of Emperor Franz Joseph I, Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico, encompassed almost 2000 objects. At the end of the 19th century his collection was acclaimed as one of the greatest contributions to the Egyptian and Near Eastern Collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
The private collection of Dr. Freud at the time encompassed more than 3000 objects and they all had to fit into his apartment. The living space of the Freud family, the practice with its thirteen rooms and parlors, plus the extra rooms and rooms for running the household, took up the whole piano nobile of the house at Berggasse 19.
Herr Professor with his Assistant
The mythic scenario of the waiting room continued on behind the door of the consulting room. Lying down, the candidates for the art of the healing of the soul entrusted their dreams and hidden desires to the professor, while he floated in the clouds of his own cigar smoke. The only people allowed to enter the healing room were the person in need of help, the shrink and his assistant. Freud’s assistant was his Chow Chow. If she reacted with mistrust and started to growl the first time she saw a new patient, then the famous psychoanalytic knew that he was dealing with a seriously ill person. “The dog is never mistaken”, Freud once claimed in a letter.
At twelve noon all the morning patients had been seen. At 1 pm sharp all members of the Freud family, without exception, had to be at the dining table for lunch. Every day after lunch Freud took a short walk for digestive purposes.
Berggasse, literally alley on the hill, had that name for a reason. The professor, accompanied by his assistant, had to work quite hard to make it up the hill to Wahringer StraBe. After the two of them had crossed Wahringer StraBe, they strolled along SchwarzspanierstraBe and, unimpressed, walked by house number 15 where Beethoven once laid on his deathbed. The professor had never thought much of music and throughout his life preferred all the other arts. The dog was already excited about what was about to come.
The highlight of the afternoon walk was visiting the meadow in front of the nearby Vtive Church. After Freud’s assistant gave full rein to her instincts, the two of them were again ready for the challenges awaiting them in the practice after 3 pm .
At the end of the work day night fell on Berggasse and the last patients were discharged into the darkness of Vienna. For dinner the professor indulged himself in one of his three favorite dishes: Italian artichokes, Franz Joseph’s Tafelspitz (boiled beef) or Viennese onion roast.
After eating, Freud recuperated from the day during an after-dinner walk by himself. For this walk he went on the same route as in the afternoon. Only this time he continued the walk from the V)tive Church on towards the university and the Burgtheater. At the university building the mastermind, or the sex scandal theorist depending on who is talking, turned right onto RingstraBe. Once again unimpressed by another residence of Beethoven’s, the Pasqualati House, he walked on towards Cafe Landmann. At Cafe Landmann he found exactly what he wanted. In the low light of the coffeehouse Dr. Freud lit his twentieth cigar of the day, sipped coffee from his cup and just sat there silently.
Later in the evening when he returned home and encountered his wife Martha, his sister-in-law Minna and his daughter Anna knitting and crocheting, Freud dedicated himself to his favorite literature – The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes . As expected, he always knew right away who the murderer was.
Sigmund Freud Museum
Address: Berggasse 19, 1090 Vienna
Public transport: Underground U2 Schottentor
Opening hours, daily:
July 1 – September 30, 09 am – 06 pm
October 1 – June 30, 09 am – 05 pm