Postcard from Vienna

Ephesos Museum, Vienna

Ephesos Museum, Vienna

A week in Vienna, staying in the Innere Stadt where The Daughter is living for three months. Some unreasonably good weather, warm enough to take coffee sitting outside. The city looking wonderful in the bright sun. And then in a different way, looking wonderful again as we walk delightedly through the centre almost every night after dinner (the pleasure of doing this is of course tinged with shame and indeed anger when we think of the horrible experience of late night English city centres). The cityscapes, street after street, palais after palais, are extraordinary (and yes, we rather liked the caryatids everywhere, despite the Secessionists’ scorn).

The museums and galleries have bowled us over, stunning collections quite beautifully displayed (I’m running out of superlatives here) — and though busy at the weekend, they are not overwhelmed with visitors in the way that the National Gallery and British Museum are. Even modest cafés are as they should be. A very generous son-in-law takes us to Restaurant Steirereck, which  is as good as they say, not to mention the restaurant at Hotel Sacher. Going to the ballet at the Staatsoper has been another delight — seemingly a much more mixed and more relaxed audience than the London equivalent.

It has all been far, far too short. To our surprise, our embarrassing lack of more than a few German phrases has been little hindrance (rather, we’d immediately be addressed in English in shops or cafés if we’d been heard chatting together), and we’ve felt very relaxed here. We must return for longer next year (the joys of retirement); maybe we can arrange a house swap …

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