I had hoped to share photos of my tour of Prince Eugene of Savoy’s Winter Palace today. But, no. “Kein Photography” was the phrase of the day. All I could snap were a handful of photos of the Baroque entrance hall.
Hercules and Prince Eugene greeted visiting dignitaries at the top of the staircase, I learned. I leave the literary comparison discussions to you.
Overall I was underwhelmed with our tour. Not because our guide did not do her usual outstanding job, but because the “representative rooms” were a mess. The decorating styles of Prince Eugene, and then the new owner, Maria Theresa, were not all that compatible.
But onto the real reason for the post. One morning this week the Idiot News Network (CNN), International edition, ran a feature on “The World’s 12 Best Shopping Cities.” I jokingly said to Tony over our coffee, “Ha. No way Vienna will be on the list.”
The Imperial City came in at Number 8. Although the early store closing hours were described as a “buzz-kill,” somehow the author had the chutzpah to suggest that one could “whip out the plastic” at both the tourist-icon Naschmarkt to eat their way through the market, and at the Wiener Christkindlmarkt to “sip on glühwein at the Platonic ideal of a fairy-tale Christmas.” Should any tourist attempt to hand my favorite cheese vendor at Naschmarkt a credit card they would be laughed at. Same goes for my falafel guy, my lamb cutlet guy, my new favorite fish guy…
Recently in one of the English language newspapers here I read an article on the cultural origins of Austrian expletives. As with any culture there are subtleties lost in translation, of course; what caught my attention is that the majority of Austrian expletives are aimed not at a subject necessarily, but out of general anger or frustration. Take, for example the expletive, “So a Schaaaasss!” The literal translation is “What a fart.”
Perhaps the idiot writers at CNN should include “So a Schaaaasss” in the article to help all those tourists who try to whip out the ole AmEx for a round of glühwein at the Christmas markets blow off a little steam.