2022

Day 5 – Death and Cake in Vienna

Rest day

I’m not going to describe breakfast in detail, except to say there was every type of sausage, eggs, cold meats, cheese, cereals, fruit, yogurt and a selection of breads to rival any Germanic artisanal bakery.

Unfortunately the Third Man tour only runs on a Friday and the Third Man museum only opens on a Saturday and the Third Man app doesn’t work according to all the reviews and the cinema which shows the film three times a week didn’t advertise the times and …

I decided to do some proper research back home and return again in winter when it can all be seen as the director intended: in black and white.

So down I went to the subway for the central cemetery. It was only as the doors opened that I noticed everyone wearing a face mask but I decided to take a chance. There were only 12 stops and a tram ride ahead. However it was an uncomfortable journey. The driver noticed fairly quickly and announced the requirement to wear a face mask. I pulled my buff over my face and faced the other way without success. He described the exact specification for the required mask and I began to wonder what the fine might be. Eventually we arrived at the end of the line and I gratefully bought a new mask before boarding the tram.

Google helped me find everything I needed to locate both of Harry Lyme’s graves and I stood forlornly as Anna walked the long walk past me but enough of The Third Man. Vienna is the home of classical music and I stood between the graves of Beethoven, J Strauss, Brahms and Mozart. Mozart? Surely he was buried in an unmarked pauper’s grave? Not a bit of it! Mozart had a decent funeral in nearby St Marx’s cemetery and according to the custom of the day he shared a grave with a few others. The wooden cross decayed and nobody thought to write down the exact spot. But now he has a decent memorial right next to Beethoven.

Beethoven. When I was young the librarian in my local library took my hand and led me into the gramophone room, rummaged around and pulled out his 7th symphony. “Listen to this, Tim and tell me what you feel”. It’s the complete symphony. I sometimes wish she hadn’t been 60 and I hadn’t been 10. Anyway what a moment this morning at the grave of Beethoven. Maybe she was 20.

I paid my respects to the fallen Soviet soldiers who died in the Battle of Vienna, 1945 and then, like Sigmund Freud, I stopped at the Cafe Landtmann for coffee and cake. I still had time for a tour of St Stephen’s Cathedral including the catacombs (no photos allowed) where the thousands of bones of victims of the Black Plague were piled high. It was a day of Death and Cake in Vienna.

J Strauss and Brahms
Mozart memorial
Part of the large Soviet section
Hugo Wolf, Austrian composer. I don’t know him but it’s a nice memorial
St Stephen’s Cathedral

7 comments on “Day 5 – Death and Cake in Vienna

  1. Hi there Tim,
    Lovely to join you on your latest journey as you attempt to track down Liechtenstein. Wonderful that even cemeteries can look beautiful with a blue sky above. However, my favourite photo so far was of the cake served with a generous helping of cream.
    Vikki

    • Blue sky, grey sky or black sky; they always look beautiful. Good to hear from you, Vikki

  2. Philippa T

    Death and cake … as I thought, there’s an awful lot about Austria I know very little about (apart from Freud & the horses – one of my great-great-grandfathers had one apparently) but your blog is prompting me to find out more! I have wondered though if you have met any other pilgrims so far? And also, is the Jacobsweg waymarked along the whole route?

    • Hi Philippa, it’s an interesting and complicated history and difficult to summarise in a dozen words without becoming tedious. I haven’t seen a single walker but the Jakobsweg has been fully signed so far, so I guess people must follow it. The Austrian Camino really starts in Vienna so I’m hoping to start meeting other pilgrims soon otherwise I will go mad!

  3. Think the cake theme must run in the family Tim. My stomach rumbled!

  4. Hi Tim
    I’m sorry you missed the Third man museum. It is very cool and unique. I’m a huge sound of music fan so I’ve done the SOM tour a couple of times singing all the songs by heart and yes I ate the famous cake too.

    • Great to hear from you again and I really want to make another trip to Vienna to see the museum and the tour. I’ve also done the SOM tour in the past and love that film and the music. Is it cheezy???

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