Mind and matter

We got a bit of a late start to the day, due to Saint Don having to first negotiate with a Viennese laundromat. But overcome all obstacles he did, and we set off for lunch and some touring.

It would be impossible to leave Vienna with visiting the home and office of Sigmund Freud, at Berggasse, 19 – certainly a shrine for some. While the Freud belongings, including the sacred couch, went with them in 1938 when they left for England (none too soon), their home was left almost intact. In the 1970’s, the museum was created, and Anna Freud provided many of the original furnishings, decorations and photographs of their original state for the entrance hall, waiting room, consulting room and the study. It must be a terrific thrill for Freudians to be in the room where Interpretation of Dreams was written.

Our final stop of the day was the Kunsthistorisches Museum, where the Habsburgs hung their art from the two centuries when they ruled the world. It is a first-rate collection of the best Italian, Dutch, Spanish and German masterpieces of the 15th to 17th century. Overwhelming.

The building itself is a work of art – though perhaps a tad overdone. The exterior is graced with a statue of Empress Maria Theresa, who ruled from 1740 to 1780 – the Habsburg glory days. She practiced statesmanship through fertility, as the ten surviving children of her sixteen were carefully placed in thrones around Europe. Her daughter Marie Antoinette was surely just the victim of bad timing.

Don’s Food Corner

While I had to sacrifice breakfast at Café Central in the name of searching out a laundromat in the interest of clean clothes for the next week, we made up for it at lunch. We settled on a Vienna landmark, the Cafe Landtmann — a grand place with elegant furnishings and uniformed waiters that had at one time been frequented by Freud and his circle.

The menu was exactly the same one we’ve found in all of the places serving traditional Austrian food — namely, wiener schnitzel, goulash, deep-fried chicken breast, and calf’s liver (since you  have to do something with the rest of the animal providing all that veal).

Jo, of course, had the wiener schnitzel. And, again, up to the standard we have come to expect in any Austrian restaurant. Today’s offering had a minor twist to it by providing a small serving of cranberry sauce. It turned out to me a nice addition to the usual lemon slice that brightens up the schnitzel.

I tried the goulash. Like yesterday’s version, this came with “fried dumpling.” But, like yesterday, it seemed like a slice out of a loaf of “dumpling” that had been pan fried and then floated in the goulash. There was also a large dill pickle that had been partially sliced in a fan shape and centered on the goulash. A very nice brightener to this dish as had been the cranberry sauce to the wiener schnitzel. The sauce on today’s goulash was unusually rich and deeply flavored.

We both had a glass of beer.  When the young server brought the beers to us, he pronounced: “Here are some wonderful beers.”  I think he might have been showing off that he could say the letter “w” as an English “w” instead of as a “v” as we’ve heard from nearly every other Austrian who try to say an English word with a “w” in it.

After roaming through Freud’s apartment and before embarking on a few hundred years of Imperial art, we took a little bit of tea and cake in the art museum’s cafe located in the upper level of the central rotunda of that ornately decorated building. The tea was fine and the raspberry and cream cake was equally fine, as we now know is just commonplace in every corner of Vienna. (In all our travels, these are the finest desserts we’ve encountered. They are worth the calories.)


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