Monday, October 27, 2014

Day Tripper

...I only had a couple of hours in these magical fairytale-like places. It's simply not fair to find oneself *there* and not be able to stay longer! But I'm so glad to have visited, because now I KNOW! And will return one day to explore. So much beauty.

Salzburg, Austria
Prague, Czech Republic

Village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany
Neuschwanstein Castle in southwest Bavaria, built by Kind Ludwig II.
Walt Disney's Cinderella Castle was modeled after it.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Vienna, Part 2: Wiener Kaffeehaus Encore!

...continuing from my previous post about Vienna's beautiful cafes. Here are all the other ones I visited.

Café Landtmann‬, once upon a time frequented by Freud. I was sitting outside, facing Burg Theater.

. . .

 "Part of what made the cafes so important [a century ago] was that 'everyone' went. [...] So there was a cross-fertilisation across disciplines and interests, in fact boundaries that later became so rigid in western thought were very fluid."

. . .
Cafe Central.  Grand interior, with live piano music. Opened in late 19th century, and became the key meeting place for Viennese intellectuals. Notorious for having Lenin, Trotsky, Hitler and Freud, among others, as patrons and regulars.

"The [ Café ] Central-people are always attracted like the murderer to the scene of the crime, to where they killed so much time, wiped out entire years.” – Alfred Polgar: “Theory of the Café Central”

Cafe Central.

Cafe Central.

Café Frauenhuber, oldest in Vienna, Mozart's favorite. Very cozy.

Café Schwarzenberg. Proximity to Viennese Opera House drives colorful, touristy crowds. Here's a dapper waiter rushing back and forth.

Café Schwarzenberg. Lady behind the sweets counter.
Café Schwarzenberg. Proximity to the Opera House drives diverse touristy crowds. Here's a group of international businessmen having late-night wine.
Cafe Tirolerhof. Best Gulaschsuppe in town! Here, it's mostly locals, who come to read newspapers and spend time with friends.

Drawings of Cafe Sperl are here >

Monday, October 20, 2014

Vienna, Part 1: Killing Time in Wiener Kaffeehaus (Viennese Coffeehouse)

Volksgarten. Public park in Vienna, part of the Hofburg Palace.
If you ask me what was most memorable about my recent vacation in Vienna, I'd first think of Klimt's paintings from up-close. Unforgettable impressions.  Then, the Secession Building, which I visited right upon arrival. Of course I would mention the grandeur and Art Nouveau splendor of the architecture, and all the museums.  But then…then I would settle on my memories of cozy, quiet cafes with endless apple strudels, arched windows and crystal chandeliers, worn-out velvet upholstery of Victorian furniture and mannerly waiters in bow ties. Some of these lovely Wiener Kaffeehäuser go as far back as 18th century.

 “An asylum for those who want to kill time without being killed by it.” -Alfred Polgar

I lingered for many unhurried hours in Vienna's most beautiful cafes, sipping wine or having tea and pancakes with cranberry jam, people-watching and drawing. This series of drawings is from Cafe Sperl. I went there more than once. Its ornamental interior and predominantly Austrian patronage created a very special atmosphere. Some of the other cafes I visited were frequented by Mozart and Freud (drawings coming soon.)

Since 2011, Wiener Kaffeehaus is listed with UNESCO as "Intangible Cultural Heritage", with the following description: "[a place] where time and space are consumed, but only the coffee is found on the bill."

Cafe Sperl.

Cafe Sperl. The waiters.

Cafe Sperl.
Cafe Sperl.  Lady in the niche.

Cafe Sperl.
A local patron who came in for a cup of espresso and news. It's customary to offer daily
newspapers that are fitted into large wooden frames in every cafe.

Drawings of other cafes in Vienna are here >