Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Playtime at the palace

A late lunch at one of Vienna's most venerable coffee houses, Café Central, which has a rich literary history, and even a theory of its being.
An Austrian politician, asked about the possibility of a revolution in Russia, remarked sarcastically: "Who is going to make a revolution? Perhaps that Trotsky from the Café Central?"

Bondi reclined under the vaulted ceilings beside my table, while I had the best club sandwich of my life: the bacon very finely sliced, and fried egg in it! I was going to relax my standards and say it was "totally awesome", but I heard that expression being used twice on the streets afterwards, so will now refrain. Just before I ordered, I'd given Bondi a little biscuit treat, which helps to manoeuvre him into a better table-side position. It seemed to go through the wrong way, and he made a large cacking sound, which provided endless amusement at other tables, while I slunk quietly into my seat.

Bondi runs the gamut of emotions from famished to starving

The café pianist specialized in Lerner & Loewe & Liszt, so we had everything from the Schubert-Liszt Ständchen to Maurice Jarre's Lara's Theme from Doctor Zhivago. I took home another Viennese pianist, a recently uncovered 3 disc set of Mozart piano sonatas, played by Friedrich Gulda whom I have always admired in this repertoire, especially for his fluid drive and lack of affectation.

Kitty litter? (for those who can't afford a team of malamutes); Café Central Cake

While walking around the city yesterday, I spotted an exhibition of glass armadillos. I went back to check it out today. It's the first glass works of ceramic artist Rosemarie Benedikt, executed at a glass foundry on Murano, an island in the Venetian archipelago we had visited in the first week of our journey. These items were a few orders of magnitude out of my price range, so no one gets armadillos for presents.

Passing through the grounds of the Hofburg in the early evening, I saw that the Heldenplatz (Vienna's equivalent of Budapest's Heroes' Square) is a de-facto dog play area at this time. Bondi was happy to join in the fray, and since a few tennis balls were lying around, happily tore around with one for a while. Unfortunately for Bondi, ever since he was about six months old he has never been able to convince another dog to chase him with a ball, so that duty is always left to me.

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