Wanderlust: Vienna

Wanderlust Vienna

From the minute we landed in Vienna, there was a clear sense of order and process in the air (which I admittedly LOVED). We arrived in the late afternoon and immediately fell in love with the Viennese hospitality as we rolled into the Hotel Sacher, which was every little bit what it had been built up to be; a PERFECT glimpse into the daintily precious Viennese culture. Especially the Sacher-Torte…which they actually leave next to your bed every night — it was delightful.


I have imagined sitting at a grand Viennese coffee house, sipping on a glass of wine while theorizing (or writing for an online publication:) for most of my adult life, so the second I wandered into the Grande Cafe for dinner I felt right at home. There was a pianist playing different varieties of the Vienna Waltz (and other beautiful classical music) while my mother patiently waited for Edelweiss, which was sadly never played. The wiener schnitzel was wonderful, but nothing was as special as the marriage of grandeur and coziness this cafe graciously brought together. The Viennese say a good coffee house brings you home away from home. Once refuge to writers, great thinkers, politicos, and culturally savvy on-lookers and wannabes, we felt right at home for several hours.


Sadly, Austria was one with the Germans during WW2, so many Austrian Jews were murdered during the war. There is still a rich and relevant Jewish community within Vienna, but it seemed a bit hushed. It’s almost as though the embarrassment of the Viennese was being guarded by arrogance and irreverence. There were many small and protected Synagogues, as well as a few beautiful and creative memorials. I didn’t find the memorials to be in-line with the mass murder the Austrians participated in, but something is better than nothing. I was most touched by a small monument created by a neighborhood association (mainly non-Jewish) within the former Jewish quarter. These neighbors labeled a key for each Jewish family who was removed from their home during the war.


Sigmund Freud was from Vienna. The Austrians did nothing to protect him or his family, most of whom were murdered at Auschwitz. Freud died in London in exile. To the Austrians surprise, the remaining members of his family would NOT authorize any parts of his museum in Vienna (at his former home), nor would they offer any of his few items spared from the war to be showcased. Perhaps a classic case of too little too late.


The  Naschmarkt may be one of the finest and most interesting outdoor markets I have seen in central Europe.  With a heavy middle-Eastern influence, you can find anything from fresh falafel to barrels of Austrian sauerkraut sandwiched between streets of soaring, pristine mansion blocks straight out of a Parisian movie. I got lost here for hours and ended up grabbing a lovely early dinner at Neni.


Wanderlust Vienna Collage

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