Monday, February 12, 2007


Left from Tbilisi's new airport this morning - it had opened last week. The old one was not bad, a whole lot better than Yerevan, Dushanbe and Moscow's Shcheremetyevo 1 airport - which are all run down and treat their customers like animals (especially the last two).

The Tbilisi airport is run by the Turks, the same company that runs Istanbul's Ataturk airport, and it is just like any other airport anywhere. Georgians are good at customer service anyway, so it's all very pleasant. I don't suppose there's a cat's chance in hell of the Turks taking over the Yerevan airport!

Popping up in the middle of Vienna at 7 am is always brilliant, even more so on a Saturday when no-one is seen on the streets. It's sooo quiet and peaceful! Though at 7.30 am already I saw someone leaving a diagnostic centre - they get up early, these Viennese. This was confirmed by the many cafes which were already working at the time. But not everyone had got up early....

Running round to the post office in Fleischmarkt, which I am astonished to say seems to be the only one open on a Saturday according to the Austrian Post Office website, I came across the most charming little side street which I would not have found otherwise (cannot load up pictures for a fortnight....). Really romantic stuff, and quite different from Schubert's 'Dreimaederlhaus' (three girls' house) which is near the Burgtheater. Really glad that I had to post those letters!

Passed the Stephansdom, and a row of fiakers (sp?) waiting for customers at 8 am - not a person in sight. Had a brief, very brief thought of employing one to take me to the cafe - but then thought it would be a wee bitty over the top...I'll do that when I am old. Then off for breakfast to my beloved Cafe Landtmann - whose new permanent extension is a total excrescence (sp?) which completely destroys the aristocratic proportions of the building. How did they get planning permission for that? (Photo to follow...).

The entrance was blocked by an extremely well-dressed party, in ballgowns, fur coats, absolutely immaculate hair and clothes. Were they going to a ball? At 8 am? No, it seems they had been to a ball, possibly the cafe house ball. It certainly had not been like Prince Orlovsky's ball in 'Die Fledermaus' - no-one gave an impression of drunkenness - not in many countries people, after a whole night out, would have looked so impressive. One gentleman, in a velvet opera hat (the floppy kind) held some tulips which were similarly floppy and a little jaded....It was funny hearing the cafe waiters saying 'good night' to their customers as they left at 8.30 am....

Then off to do various bits of shopping - restrained myself severely in bookshops and music shops. Tried to get some Tshirts for Rwanda but it seems that it was still a bit cold in Vienna for that sort of thing. Had to buy some items of feminine apparel, what with the weight loss and everything, and was astonished when on not more of a brief glance at my upper body (wrapped in a thick jacket) the salesgirl immediately picked the right size. It really pays going to a specialist! I then changed in the train back to the airport and left a baggy old bra in the toilet wastebin....

Noticed also, in passing, how very good looking many Austrian men of a certain age are; though usually accompanied by similar wives. Oh well.

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varske said...

Not fair. I want breakfast at Cafe Landtmann too, or lunch or dinner. It's our favourite too. We were in Trieste on Saturday but wandering in the wrong part of town to find the Landtmann equivalent, and settled for coffee somewhere really grotty. Then of course we found the right place, too late to sample it. Strange to find the Hapsburg architecture and trappings by the sea!