Monday, August 3, 2009

Jiminy Cricket it's hot here

Jiminy Cricket it’s hot here at the moment.

Stadtpark is empty as it is too hot for the locals to lie on the grass. Even the ducks are having a hard time. I have been going down there and throwing ice at them.

We had a wonderful meal at Fabios for Gwenyth’s Birthday and some of the best wine we have had in Austria. For the record it was a Prager Gruner Veltliner Smaragd and it was sensational.

It was the noisiest meal I have ever had as half a block away in the street there was a group of people singing (very loudly and very badly) music from the 70s and 80s and this went on for the entire time that we were there.

We met Fabio – who had just been sailing in New Zealand - and he gave me his card and told me to contact him if we needed anything. He would not have done this if he knew anything about me at all.

The chain smokers at the table next to us eventually drove us out – but apart from the noise and the smoke - the meal was a fitting celebration.

During the meal I exchanged a few words with two American women sitting next to us and – one thing leading to another – we invited them back home for a nightcap.

One of them turned out to be a world famous and Grammy Award winning concert pianist (and writer). ‘Concert Pianists’ is not a category which I would choose in a quiz show so I knew nothing about her at all - but she is going to send me an autographed copy of her book.

I have no idea what time we got to bed but it was very quiet around here on Saturday morning and the planned visit to Schönbrunn did not happen.

Melissa and I went to the Wien Kriminalmuseum and which was highly entertaining and made us very glad we did not live in Wien in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The Austrians used a guillotine without a blade which seems like a very odd idea indeed. The block of wood rested on the victim’s neck and the executioner hit it with a club until his/her head fell off. I imagine this took some time and would not have been a happy experience.

All the descriptions were in German but we got the idea from the very graphic pictures and photos. It was our idea of a morning well spent.

We went to Café Schwarzenburg for lunch and then tried Akakiko in Landstrasser-Hauptstrasse for dinner.

This is a Japanese restaurant chain but it is Thai Wochen so we decided to have Thai dishes - and they were excellent. Cate won’t go to Akakiko on the basis that it is a chain of restaurants and therefore cannot be any good at all.

My view is that if it is chain of restaurants – and is successful in Wien – it must be because they serve good food. I am right.

It has the added advantage of being non smoking and that is always an attractive feature simply because smoke gives me a headache at best and a migraine at worst.

Cate and Gwenyth left at 6:00 on Sunday morning for Copenhagen and then Aarhus where they are going sailing. I know it was 6:00 because I was the Bunny who drove them to the airport.

I have heard from Gwenyth that her bag was lost in transit so she is now wearing my trousers. This has happened because Cate stole my two pairs of long shorts for the trip and is now sharing them with Gwenyth.

Gwenyth is one of the most competent people I know so she will no doubt sew herself a new wardrobe of out old sails before the week is out. I am sure she will also find a plank from which she can carve herself clogs using her Swiss Army Knife.

Melissa and I have a big week planned. We went to the main cemetery in Simmering on Friday and there are definitely no cats there so we shall widen our horizons. There must surely be cemetery cats somewhere in Wien.


  1. Regarding your inquiry for pet cemeteries, I suggest to try "Tierfriedhof Donaustadt gmbh"
    at Industriestraße 148 in the district of Donaustadt. Its founding is a typical Viennese story. The municipal government initally only wanted to authorize it under the condition that only the cremated remains of the pets (citing some obscure regional health and sanitary law) were buried there,while the owner insisted on being also allowed to accept the whole corpse and quoting, on his part, EU legislation...

    Give it a try, it is supposed to be highly enjoyable...(the cemetary, not the process of burrying your furred or scaled friend there or getting into a legal fight with the municipal government).

    Completely off the track, but as you raised the issue in your blog several times: the famous "ledge" or "shelf toilet" is also of proud product of Austria legislation legal: Apparently, until some years ago, it was mandated on the grounds of public sanitation. The reason is that the so called "shelf" was indeed intended to allow for an easy checking of stool - apparently due to the round-worm epidemics of time past... so, it has all to do with law and tradition, as everything in Vienna. Indeed, but I may meandering to much off the track, even the famous Sachertorte was the result of grim and intense IP fight between the "Demel" pastry shop and the hotel Sacher which strechted for more than a decade and delighted (and enriched) a good deal of lawyers and expert witnesses...

  2. It seems ludicrous that a restaurant like Fabio's thinks it's alright that the enjoyment of what may well be excellent meals is disturbed by the smokers at the table next to you. The sad truth is that his Viennese customers think it is their god-given right to smoke wherever they please (except maybe in their own homes!), and even non-smokers will defend the smokers' rights.

    Reading again and again that these restaurant owners' point of view is that smokers have rights and nonsmokers have the right to go elsewhere, I am doing exactly that.

    The Sachertorte is not "the result of grim and intense IP fight" - that fight was about the rights to the name of that cake and was waged about 130 years after the Sachertorte was "invented" in 1832. The court case ended in 1965, affirming the Hotel Sacher's right to name its cake "Original Sachertorte" and Demel has called its cake "Demels Sachertorte" ever since. ;-)