Subject: Vienna Travelogue - Part 6
4 of December 1999 - Saturday

This was the last day if we wanted to do a bit of shopping, so mum and I headed towards the SPAR supermarket around the corner to buy a few things we were going to need on the journey back and at home. Chocolate, cookies, cold meats, cheese, yoghurts,... It has a good selection, and it is very useful. It opens the whole day, from 8.00 a.m. till 19.30 p.m.

We were going to the Naschmarkt (the daily fresh products market), and as we walked down the K#rtnerstrasse I ordered a Sachertorte to be delivered to my office. We always have to bring presents, and I didn´t feel like dragging a box of chocolates around Europe. It is a bit expensive, but it was worth it. Now it is finished, and I have kept the wooden box. Must think what to put inside...

The Naschmarkt is very near by foot, although many people opt for getting the U4 until Kettenbrckengasse. It really deserves a visit, if only just to see the fruits, the cheeses, the meats and fishes, eat a kebab, the Jugendstil buildings around it, like the Majolikahaus (on your right, as you walk from the Sezession building into the Naschmarkt)... There are many, many people walking around and doing a bit of shopping, so be careful with your belongings. The marché aux puces that you can find from the Kettenbrckengasse metro station onwards has gone down a lot, although still you might find something interesting (and expensive also).

As there was a bank holiday on the 8th of December, there were many Italians spending a long weekend in Vienna. We didn´t enter into the Sezession due to this reason. Mum and I had already seen it before, and our friend wasn´t really into saying if she wanted or not. I left them and went into a couple of bookshops to get some books, and afterwards we met at the hotel, and went out for our dinner. I took them to the Zu den den drei Hacken, in Singerstrasse. On the way there we stopped at the Deutschmeisterkapelle, where a wedding was taking place, and everybody was singing.

I have always liked this restaurant. It is not very big, but we were lucky and got a table. It has a traditional decoration and a good service. Mum and I shared our meal : veal wiener schnitzel, gr#stl (a typical tyrolean dish, with bacon, potatoes, eggs, really hearty), salad, mineral water and another weisser gespritzt´. All together 320 ATS, including tip. I do not find so expensive to eat out in Vienna, specially if you think that many times is more than enough with just one dish.

>From there it was back into the hotel. We had to rest for a while before going out to the Volksoper. It took us half an hour to arrive there with the metro (U3 from Stephans into the Westbahnhof - I wanted to know how much time we were going to need on Monday morning - and U6 from Westbahnhof into Volksoper). We were there at 6.00, and the opera didn´t begin until 7.00, so we sat at a café, and have two melanges and a camomille tee. We could have walked down into the Weimar, just five minutes from there, a very nice café with an adjacent disco, but we wanted to stay near. The coffee wasn´t brilliant, but we could see many people coming into the café for a quick pre-theatre dinner or a glass of bubbly. There were many children, and most of the people was dressed-up.

Our seats were very good, sixth row. We left the coats and the thick jumpers mum and me were wearing over our dressy tops in the garderobe (13 ATS each person). I had carried with me a pair of black pants and a glittering top I had bought for a summer wedding, with a velvet stole bought in Liberty´s last year. Mum was wearing a black skirt and another wedding top. The clothes didn´t take a lot of space, and I used the trousers and the stole on the next days. Packing took a lot of thinking, and I know I have to refine my packing, but if I have managed to pack 9 days of cold winter weather into a carry-on, well, I´m in the good way. Next challenge will be packing ski wear. That will be worse...

Onto the opera. I got the program (32 ATS). Probably the singers weren´t the best, but the voices were nice, they were good actors, and The magic flute is a very funny opera. It had a modern setting, and we thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing. Around 8.30 there was an interlude, and everybody rushed to the foyer, to get something to eat and a glass of sekt. It ended up at around 10.00, so we walked down to the nearest tram stop, and went down to Schottentor. You can get the trams 40, 41 and 42 to and from Schottentor, and you can be at the Volksoper in 15 minutes. From Schottentor we walked through the city into the hotel.

It was snowing slowly.

More later...