Day 10 – A little knowledge goes a short way
Before we came to Vienna I knew very little about the place. All I really knew was:
1) A classical concert on BBC2 every New Year’s Day came from here.
2) They were big into music.
3) They made nice fingers.
We hadn’t even really got a guide book so I hadn’t been able to swot up. Now if we had been here with Daz Sheppard (who we often come away with on city breaks), he would have read the book, summarised it and worked out an agenda on where we should go, filling us in on the history of the place as we went. (There is no need for an Ingrid when you have a Daz.) I on the other hand turned up knowing that the currency was the Euro and that they spoke German (I think. They do speak German and not Austrian don’t they? I hope so as I’ve been saying “danka” to all and sundry).
As we walked around the place I had to take the role of Daz. Never one for letting a lack of knowledge stopping me from having an opinion on a subject, I began waxing lyrical to Karen;
“The reason there are still all these beautiful buildings is probably because we never bombed this far South during the war. We just concentrated on Berlin, Hamburg, Dresden and Dussledorf”.”Right” responded Karen in that tone that only someone who you have been with for 25 years can get away with. It was a sort of “I’ll humour him as he thinks I’m interested but really I am more interested in those shoes in that shop, or that cute looking dog…or…well anything real, but I won’t say anything as it will only upset him”. (She really knows how to put a lot of meaning into just one word does Karen.)
It was only after a couple of tours and simply searching “Vienna” in Wikipedia I discovered that Vienna was actually bombed into ground. They have just had the builders in since. The tours also made reference to the time between 1945-1955 when the city, a bit like Berlin, was divided between the Russians, Americans, Brits and French. The mood of the time was captured perfectly in the 1948 film “The Third Man”.
All I really knew about the film was that is was a “Film Noir” (B&W with lots of shadows), stared Orson Wells, had a Ferris wheel in it and the theme music was played on a Zither and went “dee dee dee dee dee, de, dee”. (Not to be confused with “dum dee dum dee dum” which is obviously the theme tune to the Archers.) There is a Third Man museum which looked quite interesting, but was a bit pointless if we hadn’t seen the film. Luckily on our travels we came across a cimema called “Burg Kino” (not to be confused with Burger King, but bizarrely the lettering outside did look very similar which made me wonder if perhaps a branch had closed down and they had got the lettering cheap. Not sure how they got the “O” though. Anyway, I digress). This had regular showings of the original English Language version of the film, so yesterday we headed there for the 5:00 pm performance.
The showing was in the “Studio”, a little 80 seater cinema. There were 3 Americans ahead of us in the queue for tickets. As they passed by on their way to the screening my sense of smell was assaulted. If there was such a thing as a crime against smell (and I really do think there should be) this would have been GBH. The stench of BO coming off one them almost made me gag. Note to self, don’t sit by them.
As we filed into the cinema I headed to near the back. We sat slap bang in the middle of the row (yeah, I know, annoying huh?). A few seconds later a lady with a lot of hair came and sat right in front of Karen. So, like a game of chess, we moved 2 seats the left. Big mistake! This left 3 seats to my right and what do know, the BO brigade came and sat in them. Karen could see me squirming and I saw that there was one seat left, next to the aisle. There was only one thing for it. I moved a third time. What the row behind us made of this I dread to think. My final seat of choice didn’t have an arm rest, so I spent half the film lying in the aisle, but I could at least breathe. (Funnily enough about half way through the film we get a whiff of Schnitzel cooking. I think the projectionist was cooking it up for his tea in the projection box).
We left the cinema agreeing that that was one of the best films we had seen in ages (although “The Smurfs 2” was close). We had decided that we definitely were going to the museum. The museum is a actually a private collection started by Gerhard and his wife Karin. They were both tour guides and Gerard was a bit of a collector. Needless to say his collection grew and so a museum was created.
Karin started the tour by asking if we had all seen the film. We all had. She then emphasised that this was a museum just about The Third Man. (Apparently they had some bad reviews on TripAdvisor because it was ONLY abut The Third Man man. Don’t get me started on TripAdvsor again).
There were 10 of us who were led through the collection by the energetic and engaging Karin. The rest of the group were all English, mainly men, most in their 60’s-70’s. Two others had dragged their partners along. One man wasn’t so much a film buff as a film nerd. His wife appeared to be resigned to being forced to endure these sort of places. I leant into Karen (my Karen, not the other Karin, that would have been highly inappropriate. Anyway) I leant into Karen and said:
“That will be us in 20 years time”
“Are you happy with that?”
“Well I’m just giving you a heads up now”
We then had a really good tour The collection is facinating. So what will I associate most with The Third Man? The location? The music? Nope. BO. Yep, there was one young lad on the tour that reeked as bad as the one the night before. Listen guys, you can be film buffs…and use deodorant!
Todays cake was Esterhazy Torte. It’s a sort of almondy layered cake. Very nice indeed. Recipe below.