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Vienna: Last Two Days

August 27, 2011


Our museum tours and sightseeing are done, and our last two days are spent wrapping up loose ends. We had a couple of must-eats to fit in, of which see above, and some more mundane obligations.

Friday, August 26

Talk about serendipity. While waiting for a haircut appointment at the local friseur, we turned onto a side street and came upon this plaque honoring Sibelius’ residence in Vienna. Who knew?

And so it came to pass that I found the retail outlet for Universal Edition, the publisher for the music of Mahler and Berg. And just off the Karntnerstrasse, too! And then the decision: sibstantially enlarge my collection of scores by two of my musical idols, or make provisions for the future well-being of my children? I’m sure that in the long run Alyssa and Nick will come to see the wisdom of my final choice.

One of the things we just had to do was taste the famous Sacher Torte. It’s basically a chocolate cake, but to say that is like saying a Lamborghini is a four-wheeled vehicle. The individual layers are covered in an apricot confection, and the whole thing is coated with some very good chocolate. We had it with champagne, and we liked it a whole lot.


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Musically-minded city that it is, Vienna has taken a page from Hollywood and sprinkled its sidewalks with tributes to its musical stars. In front of the Staatsoper we found two of my favorites within a few feet of each other.

Saturday, August 27

Our friend Al, who had spent a lot of time in Europe, had implored me to have the classic Viennese tafelspitz from the Plachutta restaurant, and this was our last major accomplishment.

Tafelspitz is described as boiled beef, but that is a considerable understatement. The very tender cut of beef is served in a soup with noodles and vegetables and a cut of bone from which you are to spread the marrow on some rye bread, and this is accompanied, in my case, with their roasted potatoes, creamed spinach, and chive and apple-and-horseradish sauce.

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Peggy had the seabass; both of our choices were delicious, portions were generous, and the service was extraordinarily attentive. Nice tip, Al.

More Cultural Notes

You can buy newspapers from a magazine vendor on the street, but everywhere one can find these self-service bags with a coin drop attached. It works for them.


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…and that’s not the half of it.

Tonight we pack for tomorrow’s trip to Budapest, where we are advised that the percentage of English speakers is rather low. Pray for us.


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  1. Alyssa permalink

    I completely understand if you want to spend our inheritance on sheet music… 🙂

    Glad you got to the sachertorte, and with champagne? Maahhvelous!

  2. Leticia permalink

    Thank you Bill and Peggy for delighting me with such wonderful food, architecture, history, nature, culture and beauty!! I really enjoy your blog!!!! Bill, i think you should publish it!!

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