Things You Can’t Do in Vienna in Eight Hours

It’s one of my firm convictions that all those 24, 36, 72 hours in this or that city guides are basically the subversive work of the devil trying and very likely succeeding at ruining your holiday, and probably the rest of your life, but that is another, more metaphysical matter, altogether. There is simply no way…

Barlove: Café Phil Vienna

Borges once said that he always imagined Paradise as a library, and he was right, only you can go one better, and picture it as a coffee house with books, or a bookstore with coffee, depends on how you look at it. And breakfast, because if it’s done right, no matter at what hour, breakfast…

Sunlight through the Snowstorm: Vienna’s Kirche am Steinhof

I have often sung the praise of the Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year’s concert (Neujahrskonzert der Wiener Philharmoniker, a little gratuitous German never hurt anyone), which might seem odd for someone who is otherwise rather unattuned to classical music. Waltzes are however an exception, melodic and lightweight enough for the silly, familiar from Tom and Jerry…

Best of 2017 Travels

Sightseeing. The year began with an Arctic snap, which meant the Balaton was almost completely frozen over, and thus just in the perfect state for my tastes- its summery outing as a sea instead of a sea will stay forever alien to someone who grew up with an actual sea- it’s dark yes, and filled…

Accidental Strudels- The Compulsory Pre-Christmas Visit to Vienna

I realize all too well that I have by now exhausted anything new or interesting I could say about Viennese Christmas fairs (that’s last year’s post, and even the links work with Germanic precision), except that I still like them a lot, and yes, I bought that damn mug from Karlsplatz again. This although the…

A Very Short Viennese Dictionary

Blue Danube. Actually, not to be seen during 90% of Viennese day trips, because, unlike in Budapest or Belgrade, where the Danube steals centre stage, in Vienna it flows off the main axis of the city in decidedly sleepy and unspectacular suburbs. Thus, an unassuming but fundamental presence, like air and taxes. Grosser Brauner and…

Best of 2016- Travels

Besides being a retrospective of where we’ve traveled to in these past twelve months, this will also try to be one of those useful travel advice posts, just in case any of you decides to follow in our footsteps in the twelve months to come. Sightseeing. It’s probably a common place, but if you’re in…

Vienna Beyond Christmas

I have already entertained people with the ‘arrival in Hauptbahnhof’ drama this summer, but there is no escape from it yet, for this was the first time it was actually inflicted on me. Objectively though there’s nothing wrong with disembarking in Vienna’s shiny new central station: metro line 1 takes you to the very centre…

Barlove: Kaffemik

As per their website Kaffemik is a Greenlandic word (obviously), which stands for a traditional open house get together, where coffee is served. Presumably plenty of it, since staying awake through the eternal darkness of Greenlandic winters is probably not for the faint hearted.  My first association though was with the Romanian word mic, spelled…

Christmas Lights of Vienna

Certain things have a language which best suits them: rock songs are English, opera is Italian, assembling furniture is Swedish and Christmas in German. Come to think of it, Tannenbaum might have been the first word I learned in German when for the yearly kindergarden event, which had just gone from celebrating socialist ‘winter holidays’…