Now, here's a quick run-down of some of my Viennese holiday highlights:
- One of the exhibits at the Schönbrunn Palace is Crown Prince Rudolf's lederhosen. I noticed that they've been very well worn in and have imperial eagles embroidered all over them. Very classy.
- The Sachertorte in the Hotel Sacher is really, really nice. One may imagine Sachertorte to be a very rich, heavy thing, but in Vienna, the sponge cake aspect tends to be surprisingly light, perhaps to compensate for the chocolate icing being rich. I don't know if it's absolutely the best in the world, but I need to do more international research in this area to find out if it is true. I also really liked Mohntorte and Maroniherzen.
- As intended, I saw a lot of art. Klimt is of course the king, not only for his golden twiddly bits but for his ability to listen to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and think "hmmm, this reminds me of a big giant winged gorilla!". I also came to a new appreciation of Egon Schiele, particularly his Lemony Snicket fan art (what, you mean the baby in this picture is NOT Sunny Baudelaire?). Kudos also goes to Oskar Kokoschka for introducing the much-neglected axolotl to modern art (it appears in the fish tank in this painting).
- I watched a bit of TV in my hotel (all right, it was mainly Teletubbies and Top Gear on BBC Prime, hem hem), and rather enjoyed the (charmingly wobbly) German version of Dancing on Ice. If you've ever wondered whatever happened to 1980s Olympic stalwart Katarina Witt, she's presenting it. I particularly liked the fact that when the judges give bad comments, you don't get all the audience booing and shrieking in disgust. Instead, they maintain a stony silence, while the disappointed contender hangs their head and sullenly promises to try harder next time.
- The duty-free area at Vienna Airport advertises itself with the slogan "Shop Me Amadeus". Enough said.
- It amuses me unduly that the Austrian word for "tomato" is "Paradeiser" (when the usual German word is just "Tomate"). What is so paradise-like about them? Don't get me wrong, tomatoes are nice, but when I think of paradise, it generally involves huge quantities of chocolate and cake, and nothing quite so healthy as salad....