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.

Transport Tally

Cars x 1
Plane x 1
Train x 4
Bikes  x 1
Trams  x 8
Boats x 1
Bus x 2
Esterhazy Torte
12 eggs
500 grams sugar
500 grams hazelnuts (baked)
5 tablespoons flour
300 grams butter
2 tablespoons apricot jam
250 grams caster sugar
lemon juice
50 grams dark chocolate
Separate egg whites and yolks. Beat stiffly 12 egg whites while gradually adding 250g of sugar. When finished turn the mixer at very low and add 5 tablespoons of flour and 250g of grounded hazelnuts(the secret is to bake the hazelnuts in the oven even if you buy them baked for the smell of the torta comes from them, bake at 180 degrees in the oven for a couple of minutes or until the faint smell of hazelnuts fills the kitchen or when they start turning dark brown)
Peel away as much as you can blackened part cut out 5 round papers from the baking paper.
Turn the oven to 160 degrees and then spread one fifth of the egg white shaum on the paper, put the paper in a tin pan-the same size as the round paper (approximately 5-6 tablespoons) and bake for 14 minutes.
In between baking the layers always put the shaum in the refrigerator. Repeat 4 times. Put them on the even surface without removing the baking paper once they have baked.
FILLING: Mix 12 egg yolks and 250g of sugar with the mixer 1 minute and then put the pan that you have mixed in in another one larger filled with boiling water (steam cooking) and on medium heat constantly stir for about 15 minutes.
Let cool and then add 300g of softened butter and 170g grounded hazelnuts. Take 2 tablespoons of this cream and save for later.
On the plate where the torta will be served removing first the baking paper put the first layer and then spread one forth of the filling,layer…filling…layer.. filling..layer..filling.. layer The last layer should be set with the even side up.
Bring 2 tablespoons of jam to a boil with one teaspoon of water. Spread the apricot jam across the top of the torta (this prevents the icing from melting into the cake)
Put the torta in the freezer for 10 minutes and during that time mix by hand 250g of fine white sugar (grounded) tablespoon of lemon juice, tablespoon of oil and a teaspoon of butter while gradually adding drop by drop hot water.
Stir constantly until you get a smooth shiny white icing. You may add more lemon juice or oil. Remove the torta from the freezer spread the icing on top.
Melt the chocolate (steam melt) with a teaspoon of oil and pur into a small plastic bag (10x10cm) cut a very small opening and decorate the top of the torta with straight lines 3 cm apart. With a toothpick go across the lines in the other direction making the “brackets”
The rest of the hazelnuts- 80g ground just a bit leaving the big chunky peaces. The two tablespoons of filling you left behind spread on the side of the cake and with hands glue the hazelnuts. That is it!
Recipe courtesy of:

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