Pipe shops in Romania and Austria
Hi, my name is Christian and I live in the south of Vienna, the capital of Austria, Europe. Besides pipesmoking my hobbies are computers and Internet and the Romanian language. So in August, 2007 I traveled to Romania to meet all my friends from Bucharest, the capital of Romania. I smoke pipe since 1987 and have many books in German about pipesmoking, so I am experienced.
Here in Bucharest I have got an old Apple laptop “Macintosh PowerBook 170” from 1991/92 as a donation from my friend Dr. Florin Radulescu and I think why not to start an article here! I didn’t take one of my eleven laptops with me. I have lightened a pipe and I think...
In Romania in general pipesmoking has no tradition and in the dark communist era it was regarded as ”non-proletarian” and “bourgeois”. Till now, pipe tobacco is very expensive due to the high taxes and this good is considered as a luxury one (on the other hand cigarettes are very cheap). In the public you never see a pipesmoker. I know only two friends of mine, Mr. Marius Popescu and Mr. Bogdan Rechi, who smoke pipe. In the rest: nothing! Marius smokes without filter and Bogdan with filter 9mm. In the shops you can find filter pipes and non-filter-pipes as well. The prices of the pipes are normal. In Romania as far as I know there are no pipe-clubs.
In the province it’s very hard to find pipes, tobacco and accessories so when you go to Romania take all you need with you. In the capital Bucharest the situation is much better. All what enjoys the pipesmoker’s heart is concentrated on one single street, the Calea Victoriei (Victory Way).
The best tobacconist you will find is, when you go by Underground to Piata Victoriei (Victory place) where Calea Victorei begins; walk on it to the south: there is on the left hand a building of the Romanian Petrol Company, then there is a shop with luxury goods and then the Tobacconist’s Shop “JPB”. Here you find all accessories like cleaners, filters, and a relative good selection of pipe-tobacco. As far as I have seen they carry only sweet tobacco and don’t have English type. A large amount of quality pipes with and without 9mm-filter is on show, protected by a glass-wall. They have Stanwell, Danske Club, Brebbia and so on from the middle and higher price-segment. They have Meerschaum-pipes too (the only place where I found them in Romania) obviously from Turkish production. The quality of the pipes is good and the prices reasonable.
Then you can walk down Calea Victoriei - it’s a long way and as far as I have seen there is no public transport! - to Magazinul Victoria, a shopping-mall. In the ground floor there is a small department of smoking articles. Here you can find cleaners, lighters, filters and so on. They have a small selection of pipe-tobacco too. Here is the only place where I have found University Flake, all other tobaccos are of American or Danish type. They have a handful of 9mm-pipes from Dutch production but the quality is not the best; when you are not experienced better don’t buy here. Sometimes some goods are sold out. - In general, in both shops the vendors are ladies who have no idea of pipesmoking and they are not able to give you advice or suggestions.
In Austria the situation is much better. We have an old tradition of pipesmoking but here also you see rarely a pipesmoker in the public. We have several clubs, in Vienna two, the best is guided by Mr. Thomas Schober. You can find tobacco and pipes everywhere, also in small towns. The tobacconist’s shops are of a limited number by the government and are called Tabak-Trafik or simple Trafik. They are the only place you find tobacco. The price of pipe-tobacco is much lower than in Romania, about 7 Euro a pouch of 50g. The prices are the same in every Trafik. As in Germany, many smokers use 9mm-filter-pipes but there are pipes without filters too. Most restaurants have non-smoking areas and in railway- and underground-stations you are not allowed to smoke.
You can find pipes everywhere but the “first” pipe-shop in Vienna is Ostermann in the southern part of the square Am Hof. It’s a paradise for pipe-smokers, they have a very large selection of pipes, inclusive Narghiles, and a wide selection of accessories. Alas, the prices are very high but they provide you with first class pipes made by famous pipemakers too. Mostly tourists buy from here. They don’t have tobacco but very close to the pipe shop there is a “Trafik” where you can buy tobacco and pipes too. Go by Underground to the station Herrengasse.
The second pipe-shop - and which I prefer - is Mr. Thomas Schober’s Trafik on Thaliastrasse. You can go by Underground U6 to the station Thaliastrasse and go a few minutes on the left this street to west. Mr. Schober is in his shop every day after 1-9 o’clock p.m. and gives you friendly advice. He is an experienced pipesmoker. You will find almost every pipe-tobacco which is available in Austria here. A large amount of pipes are on show in a wide range of prices. There are luxury-pipes as well as very cheap ones. Also old models and unsmoked vintage pipes are available. Smoking is allowed. The prices are reasonable.
When you go to Europe you should visit these two interesting countries!