Today you all get to finally see a picture of me. Yes folks, here I am in Wien enjoying the wonderful sun. Not only that, but I am standing in front of mecca. Okay, perhaps not really mecca for anyone but me and any other fans of Schnitzler and other members of the Jung Wien movement, the literary circle of Viennese Modernism at the turn of the last century. Although Cafe Griensteidl officially closed in 1897, it has reopened in the 1990’s and is now back in the ring of Viennese cafes.
I hadn’t known that Cafe Griensteidl reexisted. In fact, the building itself had been torn down sometime during the 20th century. So it came as a great surprise when Pat and I, who had just come from seeing the Lippizaner horses warm up, stumbled upon this square. We were actually looking at the archaeological dig (seen on the left of the picture) which showed roman heating elements and the likes, when I looked up and saw the sign. I’m sure the look on my face was of shock and elation. Instead of going to the Cafe Central, which was our goal at that time, we decided to put that off till afternoon: we had to go into Cafe Griensteidl.
I wish I had known what Schnitzler’s drink of choice was in the cafe. I’m the kind of person who would have done something so cheesy. Instead, I ordered my new “usual” the kleiner Brauner and Pat and I split a Sachertorte. The Sachertorte is actually made by Hotel Sacher in Vienna, and the recipe is super secret. But, basically it’s a chocolate cake topped with apricot jam and with a chocolate coating. We figured, any kind of Sachertorte (be it “authentic” Hotel Sacher or not) in Vienna is good enough. And of course we ordered it with Schlagobers.
This was probably the climax in terms of coffee houses for me. It was amazing sitting in the cafe that I had written a 25-page paper on in college and going over all of the things I had learned. It made me want to return to that paper, its research, and the people involved. It was an amazing time period, and I am realizing again how much I miss researching things like that. I’m very much looking forward to returning to academia. Let’s hope I can do so soon!
In the meantime, we say goodbye to our week of cafes. It was a fantastic week of learning more about coffee, its culture, and the beautiful city of Vienna. I am already looking forward to returning in July, when my sister and her husband will be spending some time there. Cafe Central is her mecca, as Hermann Broch (her PhD topic) spent most of his time there.
Stay tuned for recipes, which I promise to finally post again. It’s been way too long!