More Vienna

We would like to have spent more than two days in Vienna, but camping in the big city isn’t so easy and most things we wanted to do cost money. We had to curb our appetite for culture and try to get our fill of it in a short time. Wandering around the shopping district in downtown Vienna was fascinating.

So many good quality items cried out to me, “Buy me! Take me home with you!” but I restrained myself and allowed myself only one major indulgence – a bottle of Diorissimo Eau de Cologne.

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Looks like I’ve used exactly half of it in 36 years so at that rate, I should be able to make it last for the rest of my life.

We found a wonderful place to have supper that evening. Beer and wine are a big thing in Austria so it was no wonder the huge sign in the shape of an oak cask outside this restaurant caught our eye. The name of the place roughly translated to The Barrel Inn.

Imagine a huge version of this oak barrel lying on its side.

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Now picture it with a bench on either side of a table built inside it, and a window on the outside wall. That was our “booth” – very private and cozy. Several barrel booths lay side by side on either side of an aisle, each accommodating dinner guests.

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We ordered a standard Viennese meal of roast pork, bread dumpling, red cabbage, and other vegetables, salad, and wine, followed by Slivovitz (a fiery liqueur of fermented and distilled plums) and a Natasha Cocktail (apricot brandy, vodka and vermouth with a bit of ginger ale), coffees and Apfelstrudel. All of this cost us the equivalent of $20 total.

That night we parked the van in a street of apartment parking since all the RV camping places were closed. It was a terrible night. I awoke every two minutes to check out noises and shivered with cold all night.

The next day we felt quite depressed. Nothing cheers us up like food, so  we thought we should stop thinking and talking about that heavenly meal we had the night before and do something about it. We could go to another restaurant, but we thought, “Why mess with perfection?” We returned to the keg restaurant. We sat in the same barrel, in the same spot as the night before and – yes, you guessed it – we ordered exactly the same meal again with one small difference.

We decided to experiment with the choice of wines. I tried out my very rusty German and asked what kind of wines they had. The waiter rattled off a list of fancy wines and their year and ended with one called Heuriger (pronounced “hoy-rigger”).  I asked what year the Heuriger was and the waiter looked at me with a puzzled expression.

“What do you mean, ma’am?”

“Well, the wines all have a year, and I wondered what year the Heuriger was.”

He looked as if the cat had got his tongue, and he stammered, “Nah … nah … heuer, natuerlich.”

“OHhhhhhh!” I exclaimed, and then I turned beet red as I remembered that “heuer” means “this year.” It was this year’s wine, just the way soup du jour is not a flavour of soup but rather the soup of the day.

I’m sure I was the talk of the restaurant kitchen that night.

33 thoughts on “More Vienna

    • No, Patricia. This is a series of posts that I started since I’ve been renewing my old slides from a trip my husband and I did back in 1977. We were away from home for 5 months and had a great holiday. If you look back on some of our posts you’ll see where we went.

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  1. Ooops – forget that last question! I just went back and read the previous posts. I’m just a little behind in keeping up with my blog reading but have thoroughly enjoyed your reminiscences! Can’t wait to see where you go next!

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  2. Having just read your previous post $20 for the meal compared to $20 for the buggy ride… I’d take that meal anytime… I assume the perfume is used only on special occasions, do they not go off.?? Loving this trip through Europe with you…

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    • Definitely the meal for me too! And $20 for the two of us was a bargain considering how excellent the meal was. As you can guess, I don’t wear perfume a lot, but I love the scent of Diorissimo (kind of like lily-of-the-valley). No, the perfume is still as sweet as ever – maybe a little stronger as the water evaporates – and I think the alcohol, or whatever is in it, preserves it. One of the reasons I don’t wear it much is that there’s a push on to ban the wearing of perfumes in public places. Some people really did go overboard and who wants to smell something that has been sweated out of a person’s body two aisles over in the grocery store? And we can’t say, only sexy model types who wear just a teensy dab are allowed perfumes in a public place. So the more perfumes were frowned on, the less I’ve worn it.

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  3. Similar experience I made myself silly was, in a restaurant in Hong Kong, I ordered a dish expecting to eat oyster, instead what I got was
    the mushroom cooked with oyster source. My Chinese character reading was correct but not exact the context. (There was no English)

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  4. Eau de cologne is different from Eau de toilette. This one is much better (that’s if you store it in a dark and very cool place – like in the fridge if it’s for that many years!). But I am like you, I keep such things forever and use it very sparingly. The pork roast with the dumplings is born here in the Czech Rep. and it’s the top of the line in this category of food. Austrians have other specialities which others can´t top. I had to laugh about the “Heuriger” – what a sweet story! I love travelling with you.

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  5. I read with a big smile that so many folks on this blog here is praising the German food. I am a German expat living in England (for more than 30 years) and I only missed Black Forest Ham for my breakfast, with an egg, of course, but most of the German food is to heavy for my taste. Especially in Southern Germany with their gravy …
    But I dindn`t know that Germany has such a reputation for good food.
    Thanks for your post and all the best
    Klausbernd

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    • My own opinion is also that it is very tasty, gravy and all, but although it is good food, it isn’t necessarily good FOR us. It is not a healthy diet in the long term. Mediterranean is more to my liking when I think health food, but I do love those dumplings and gravy. The trouble is that a steady diet of dumplings makes a person look like one.

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