Sunday, 23 January 2011

Austria - The first sachertorte

Hello everyone!

So we're now in Vienna. Well, that's what I was told. However the first place of interest that we visited had much of a very different language...

Was I back in Korea?? Probably not - it was about 2'C, far too warm to be a Korean January - but seeing some hangeul did excite me a bit. Probably more than it should. Maybe I need to let go a little bit. Though Vienna didn't help me with that, as various Korean signs kept popping up - the kimchi restaurant sign below was spotted the following day. The market that housed all of these Korean delights was actually an interesting place in its own right, full of numerous exotic fruits and other goodies. Well, they didn't seem that exotic to me as I've lived in a region that classes these things as normal for the past year, but exotic to your standard European.

Kristina was racking her brains as to what she could show me, as I had seen all of the main attractions that Vienna has to offer. Or so I thought. We were walking through the main shopping area when this conversation happened:
Kristina: (pointing) I'm guessing you've seen that, then?
Matt: What?
Kristina: (pointing at a massive church-like building) That!
Matt: Umm...(takes a closer look)...err...I don't think so?
Kristina: (shocked) You didn't see the really big church???
Matt: I...umm...
Kristina: The biggest attraction in Vienna?!

She was talking about the Stephansdom which, though maybe not the 'biggest' tourist attraction of this city, is pretty damn big, and probably would be seen by anyone claiming to have seen all of the main buildings of Vienna. Big gothic church. Not much more to say about it, really.

We ended up seeing many of the normal sights - the Höfburg palace, the opera house, the Sezession - but one good thing about being with a local is that you are given a new perspective on seemingly trivial matters. See these blue things below? Art, right? No. In the summer these are seats transported into the Museumquarter, where people get drunk and dance the night away.

Tiredness still reigned supreme, so we took a pitstop in a café. At this point I was able to sample another new food - sachertorte. A cake with a layer of jam interspersing the chocolate. Wonderful, if a little dry without cream. Austria do some excellent chocolate. The country's most famous son has his own chocolates. No, not the Fritzl kid (too soon?). It seems that, aside from composing and all of that, Mozart also made chocolates***. Mighty fine chocolates.
*** I may have made that up.

Due to a faux pas Kristina had to work both nights that I was in Vienna, so I investigated the buildings after dark before heading back. I wasn't bothered - I'm supposed to be saving money, after all. The buildings possess an even greater charm when illuminated. I was going to have company, though. I was staying at Kristina's house, and her mother was going to be home. Her mother who speaks English as a third language. Talking to a guy to whom German is his...well...nacht sprechen Deutsch, put it that way. That's probably wrong, as well.

It was a great experience, actually. It was always going to be when the third question fired my way was 'You like beer?' Add in a very interesting person and some home-cooked food, and it's fair to say that I had a very interesting evening. Aah, the home-cooked food - wiener schnitzel, one of Austria's famous dishes. Many would just call it pork in batter, but they are proud of this food. I've had it before, but as with most food it is far better when prepared by an expert at home. Another new occasion in a city that I thought I had seen before, but in reality had hardly scratched the surface of.

Love you all


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