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Posts tagged ‘Austrian culture’


I know a parallel universe where a writer can be alone in the company of others. A place where the air is laced with the scents of freshly roasted coffee beans and the soft tones of piano music accompany stories-in-the-making. A place where the cell phone remains tucked away and the only interruption is the arrival of a slice of Apfelstrudel with a side of freshly whipped cream or a berry torte topped with a sliver of chocolate and a swirl of gold.

Café Central — inspiring writers, poets, artists, intellectuals, and countless more for 140

Cafe Central Coffee on a silver platter served with water

Cafe Central Coffee on a silver platter served with water

years! Franz Kafka, Arthur Schnitzler, Karl Kraus, Adolf Loos, Peter Altenberg – were all “Stammgäste” here – so-called “Centralists”. Sigmund Freud, Karl Popper, Gustav Klimt, all came here as well. Rumor has it that Leo Trotzki played chess here while preparing for the October Revolution in his homeland. Happy Birthday to a true Viennese institution!

Without you, Vienna would only be half as wonderful. Thank you, Café Central, for being you, and allowing writers the world over precious hours of in-between times and boundless inspiration.

In my historical fiction novel that takes place in the beginning of the 1900s, Women and Wild Savages, the Austrian poet, Peter Altenberg, describes to Lina

Cafe Central Desert

Cafe Central Desert

Loos the masterful skills of Café Central’s head waiter, Herr Ober Franz:

     “The third appeal of Café Central is Herr Ober Franz, the dominion of this empire of suspended time. Everything runs like clockwork and occurs only with his blessing. Astuteness is only surpassed by his ability to be discreet. A connoisseur of all drinks, he knows the rules to all games. Before the Herr Guest utters a syllable, good Franz addresses him in the appropriate tongue. In addition to German and English, I’ve heard Franz speak French, Italian, Hungarian, Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, and Russian. From the 250 newspapers available in this coffeehouse, Franz knows each of our favorites. Once I even witnessed Franz, without a word, setting a Presse in front of a man who had been absent from Vienna more than a decade.”

                Franz’s slender figure glided through the labyrinth of marble tables. His

Cafe Central Apfelstrudel

Cafe Central Apfelstrudel

upper body swayed as his coattails swung elegantly and his black bow tie aligned perfectly.

                “He presides, my dear. If we Viennese are half naked without a title, it is Franz, not the magistrate, who confers the honor. He masterfully ignores his guests to bestow us with the treasured in-between times: between the bank and the barber, the lectures and library, the firm and family, between today and tomorrow. He and His stand guard over our idle hours and never jostle us with a disapproving glance or unrequested bill.

                                                                                                Women and Wild Savages, KC Blau

And don’t miss on World Poetry Day!


On Monday, March 21, Julius Meinl along with Café Central and other coffeehouses throughout the city are celebrating World Poetry Day by offering patrons the opportunity to pay with a poem by choosing their favorite Julius Meinl coffee or tea and “paying with a currency better than money: a currency of emotions” . Let your creative juices flow, be inspired by the ambience and enjoy the Mélange.



Bumpa Bumpa – Franz is the Man

“It’s not the species that survives, or the most intelligent, but the most responsive to change.” -Charles Darwin

I swear, I was all set to write an enthralling post about New Year’s in Vienna. And I will. But this is an emergency – YOU’VE-GOT-TO-SEE-THIS – post. Because I was just getting my fix of a US TV series via Youtube with my trigger finger on “Skip this ad” when I was confronted with the following ad for a rather otherwise nondescript Austrian grocery store called ADEG.

You’ve got to check this out. Einfach Wunderbar! Think of it as your little dose of Austria. What Austrian or non-Austrian cannot be thoroughly enthralled by the artistic talents of Franz? Or the marketing genius of Franz’s creator. I hope it’s not just me suffering from some midnight madness and you can also appreciate this odd but ingenious marketing ploy. Oh, and by the way, they obviously recognized the potential for this to go viral and Franz to get a fan club, so you can even download Franz misc from the website here: ADEG.

Think of it as the Austrian version of Find Waldo – how many Austrianisms can you find in this video? They’re endless. Here are a few to get you started:
Brettljausen, Kaiser Franz Josef,  Bier, farm animals, skis, Hüte, the brass band, Mozart, the waltz, Leberkäs, Topfen, Schnitzel, Sachertorte, Mozartkugel, Maibaumtanz, Dirndl, Lederhosen, accordian, Holzknecht, Jugitzer, Ball, Strauss
And then you got all the sites: the Parliament, Stephansdom, Almwiese, Alpen, Skipiste, Stadtpark, Prater, Riesenrad,
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