It’s 10 pm and I just got in from an exhausting day. I have to pack, but the city still reverberates about me and within me and I want to be there. Wien isn’t the sleepy burg I’ve visited elsewhere. She is manic, going at all times, moving, pounding, racing, cleaning, selling, prepping, one day melting endlessly into another. The subway cars careen about madly, like corpuscles in her arteries, transferring their loads as they fly from station to station. Her puissance is overwhelming. She is Charlie Sheen.
I started the day at St. Stephan’s Cathedral. It is the center of town, and all roads seem to lead there.
I’ve entered the church a couple times already, but they keep having mass, and it’s been interfering with my plans. I can’t begin to describe it inside. We will just say spectacular and leave it at that. Conveniently, however, they have an elevator. For a mere €4.50, I rode to the top of the belltower, and climbed the remaining steps so I could get a view of Vienna from above. It was quite an astonishing sight. Still, I don’t know why I keep taking these excursions to perilous heights, particularly since it had rained this morning and the steps were slippery. At least this seemed like a permanent structure, as opposed to the flimsy scaffolding of yesterday.
After this, I took the tram to Belvidere Palace based on the recommendation of a colleague. As you may have guessed after yesterday’s diatribe, I’m about museum-ed out. It’s not that there aren’t other beautifully painted and sculpted pieces besides the ones I recognize, but after seeing a few hundred they all start to look the same, and nuance gets lost. It’s like palate fatigue. That said, the Belvidere has a nice collection with a number of Klimts. Very impressive.
I officially called an end to museums and churches after this. It was past due.
This got me to lunch, which I decided had to be good. I went to Wein in the City, which shares an owner with Weibel’s Wirsthaus from 2 nights ago. I had roast suckling pig, served on a bed of cabbage slaw with “bakon” and caraway, and 2 semolina dumplings with tapioca chips. The overall dish is a variation on an ongoing Austrian theme: meat with cabbage and dumplings, and this was possibly the best rendition so far. Delicious.
I followed this with an almond cake. But the cake was just the beginning, as it was served with raspberries, pears, lemon ice, and a local dessert wine. It was perfectly balanced, the creaminess of the almond cake and the brightness of the lemon being the highlights. I’m glad I went there.
I decided to do another traditional tavern for dinner, and try Wienerschnitzel one last time. Beer again, this time Gösser Zwickl. It was unfiltered. It was good. Remember, this is beer. I got nuthin’ else for ya.
I started with consommé and a semolina dumpling. This is my second semolina dumpling today, and I’ve decided that semolina gives the dumpling a distinct flavor and texture that I really enjoy. It seems to make a lighter dumpling. In this presentation, it is like a beefy matzo ball soup. Still, I think I’m done with dumplings for a while now, and will file them with churches and museums.
Now for the wienerschnitzel … Today’s was a very uniform golden color, and no oily side. I think this is probably a technically better preparation than I had in Salzburg. Still, I liked the prior rendition better. You may recall that I had found the flavor to be multidimensional, because one side was a little overcooked. Today’s version was almost too perfect, and thereby boring. I’m glad I had this one, though, as it gave me another reference point.
The schnitzel was served with potato salad. It tasted like the salad was made with sliced boiled potatoes, vinegar, oil, mustard, salt, and sugar. Not remarkable, but a good solid potato salad. They served it with chopped chives on top. They love chives here, and they put them on everything. If there is ever a chive blight, I don’t know what the Austrians will do.
I didn’t have dessert with dinner tonight. Instead I went back to Karlskirche for a Vivaldi concert. Beautiful music in a beautiful setting.
When the last notes of the concert had faded away, I strolled home through the chaos of Vienna and I grabbed a gelato, losing myself in her sights, smells, and sounds for a few final moments.
And I tried to forget the guys jacking off in the subway WC.
March 15, 2021.
This post starts off with Butterblogger at his best, capturing and describing the essence and energy of a time and place. I still love that opening paragraph. And I laughed out loud at the Charlie Sheen comment – I had forgotten that entirely. It’s dated, but it still feels right.
Of course the next few paragraphs suggested the original title to be a lie, as I used the term “rickety,” but in reality nothing about the climb sounds like that, but rather just a nerve-wracking or perhaps hazardous situation. As I recall, however, there were iron steps hanging from the side of the church (which I really should have mentioned somewhere), so the title is apropos and the description was just inadequate.
More food blogging, and at 10 years later I honestly don’t care much about what I ate. I don’t know how anybody read it at the time. Then again, I appreciate the comment about chives. I love that little comment. It saves the section on food here.
The last line about the WC remains one of my favorite endings to a trip.