Think of Vienna – and you think music, the Opera, art, the Third Man, chocolate cake. I was going to write a full, evocative description of our few days in Vienna. But the 2015 election butted in – so here are a few glimpses.
First The Opera.
A screen had been set up outside the Opera, and we stood and watched. So we are now able to say carelessly, ‘Oh yes, we have been to the Viennese Opera.’
And there was more music in a local music shop.
The shop sells discs and sheet music – I am unable to explain what coffee house favourites Viennese style might be.
But then, tucked into a window was this.
The Third Man
Orson Welles with a knowing smile, as Harry Lime. The Third Man is a theme that recurs throughout Vienna. As the strains of the zither filtered through our brains, we considered taking a tram back to the Prater to go round the giant old Ferris Wheel one more time. But we got the wrong tram, so we bought the tea towel.
But the next morning found us at the Cafe Mozart, where Graham Greene (staying at the Hotel Sacher) while writing the screenplay, enjoyed his morning coffee. Cafe Mozart appears briefly in the film. And we enjoyed the Third Man Breakfast.
And then, a surprising connection. We leaped onto a tram – the 71, not knowing where we were going, German O level has its limits. I even tweeted ‘who knows where the Tram goes?’
And by complete coincidence, where it went was to the Zentralfriedhof – one of the largest cemeteries in the world – and the site of the funerals of Harry Lime at the beginning and end of the film, The Third Man.
And also …
We were only there a few days but we ate goulash, kaiserschmarrn (sweet and sour bread and butter pudding), eggs in a glass (exactly), tafelspitz (beef, horseradish and applesauce), gugelhupf (sponge cake), drank delicious coffee (melange). It wasn’t all gourmandise – we also visited the MAK museum where there was an exhibition of the work of architects Josef Hoffmann and Adolf Loos, entitled Ways to Modernism. It was very interesting, the conflicting ideas about what our living spaces should be and why, what role decoration and art should play in our homes and our environment. I liked Loos’ style, it was quite austere, stark, straight lines. The reconstruction of his bedroom – all white, fluffy and curtains hiding the shelving, was fascinating. It was purely – purely – by coincidence we had visited Loos American Bar. Of course.