Saturday, September 14, 2013


(Dedicated to L and J who share my affinity)

One of life's greatest pleasures; indeed, one of humanities greatest inventions is the sausage.  Pretty much no one does sausage like the Central Europeans.   Each culture has their signature sausage, and they are equally delicious.    Vienna, being a cultural crossroads is kind of a one-stop shop for all of them.  

We checked into our hotel without incident, took showers and had a nap and waited for our friends, Lori and Joel to come in. When they did make it in and got settled, we agreed it was time for lunch.  They had been to Vienna before and knew just the place, Cafe Mozart.  The cafe is in the Old Town, in the middle of all sorts of great things to see. The menu has many delicious things but there was only one item that spoke, nay, sang to me: the sausage plate.  Four different examples of encased ground meat deliciousness:  one looked like our hot links, one looked like a super-sized Hormel  Vienna sausage (resemblance ends there), a smoky cheese sausage and a pair of tiny little almost kielbasa sausages.  I was in heaven!   They were so rich, though, I couldn't finish and had to let Rob, who had elected for a more healthy prosciutto salad, to eat the rest.  

Appetites sated, it was time for sightseeing.  There's a great pedestrian-only shopping area which Lori and I naturally gravitated to.  In an attempt to make a nod at culture, we did tour St. Stephens Cathedral, a beautiful and awe-inspiring Gothic cathedral.  It never ceases to amaze me how people with the crudest of tools, armed with a vision and a tremendous faith built such delicate looking structures.   St. Stephens is just gorgeous.  The roof is tiled in colored lozenges that we decided had to be Medieval Neko wafers.  

Sisi toy tea set.  Chocolates also available.
Kultchur out of the way it was time to hit the trinketerias.  Vienna is no stranger to the craptastic. Happy little plastic children lederhosen. Snow globes. Christmas ornaments.  Googly-eyed plastic palm trees bearing the inscription, "Vienna."  But, they also have chocolate shops galore.  You want chocolate named for buildings?  Check.  Chocolate named for fictional characters? Got it.  Chocolate bearing the name and likeness of pre-cursor to The Sainted Martyr Diana, Princess of Wales?  Sisi is EVERYWHERE. The woman has been dead for over a century and yet they still make chocolate for her.  (Hear that, Lady Di?  A crappy statue at Harrods is nothing compared to Sisi.)

History lesson, skip if you wish.

Sisi, or Empress Elizabeth, (1837-1898) appears to have been something of a tragic, but nutty figure in Austrian history.  A great beauty in her day, she spent most of her time being beautiful.  She dressed lavishly and her servants often spent an entire day washing and drying her floor length hair.  When she was stabbed to death in 1898, much of the public showed their adoration and that adoration continues to this day.  

The 3D Bald Eagle was a special favorite for us.
Rob mentioned that we were looking for beer steins, which set Joel off on a quest.  We soon discovered that there are a whole lot of incredibly cheesy beer steins out there, all made in...China.  So much for local souvenirs.  We did, however, finally a very nice shop that satisfied  most of our standards and we headed back to the hotel for dinner and bed.  Our hotel specializes in Austrian tapas (don't think about it. Your head will explode.) which were quite delicious and off to bed we went.  

Tomorrow,  an adolescent Lippazaner, house-hunting among the Hapsburgs and Joel goes on a scavenger hunt.  

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