Just in

Getting to know Vienna and a strange encounter

Our first day was spent in the inner city and orientating ourselves. Yesterday I had a programme of visiting the food market (Naschmarkt) and museum area. The Third Man Museum was also close to ther Naschmarkt.

Our first port of call was the ticket office of Vienna Classic to collect the tickets for the Spanish Riding School on Sunday. Robert Tickler had treated Polly primarily  as she is a fine horsewoman but as I have a horse sanctuary of interest to me too. As Polly said Bob does not do well where there is a flawed service. Already stressed that the agency could not deliver the tickets to our apartment for which he paid nor could they be collected at the Riding School , their office on the large Karlplatz proved impossible to find nor did anyone know of it. When he called them there was only music playing.  The ever resourceful  Polly hit on the idea of leaving the square stopping a cab and giving him the address which brought us back to a  building we had already passed. The reader might say study the address but this was confusing as it could be either 1 to 3 to 5 Karlplatz Plaatz or 135 as written. . Poor Bob was in a sorry state  and as he huffed and puffed up 3 storeys to the office immediately braided the receptionist to refund the delivery cost which she did. All of this delayed us for an hour.

Walking to the Naschmarkt Bob remarked that he was sure he passed the ex Stoke and Crystal Palace manager Tony  Pulis which we thought was  frankly  delusional. Polly  now inured to her master’s rantings and excesses smiled and pressed on with her  quick purposeful gait. We decided to let Polly choose the restaurant in the  Naschmarkt , a long series of kiosks serving fresh food and trinkets

She decided on Maree, a fish restaurant . Daphne approved the choice and liked  the way  the fresh fish was displayed and the portions served. Over a couple of glasses of recommended white wine , Bob’s mood distinctly  improved. A couple of diners came in one with a Welsh  accent. Bob immediately announced that one was indeed Tony Pulis. This produced much hilarity at the table  not least because so many of our posts never make  it for publication be whilst the absentees , football writers Alan Tanner, Ivan Conway and Stefano Ursulino are always guaranteed this. Bob with all his front went over to their table and was in conversation for a good 10 minutes. Tony Pulis and his Palace assistant David Kemp  were over for the Austria v Russia game . This explained  one mystery  : the noise late at  night  revellers that kept some of us awake

Polly ordered  a platter of grilled fish with vegetables and salad.  Daffers thoroughly approved of this. I am no foodie but the fish was copious and served with a delicious pesto sauce.

Off we now set to the Third Man museum  a private collection of memorabilia which also celebrated Vienna post war. Polly remarked that  for someone who had not even heard of the film let alone seen  it she was now a considerable expert and had the melody of the Karas tune in her head  . To the ininitiated it did not greatly increase our knowledge beyond that of the tour guide but Neil was interested to note  that Kim Philby was known  as Harry. Harry and Kim is not that  far removed from  Harry Lime .  Further Philby was involved in the Austrian cvil war of 1934 through which he acquired a great knowledge of the sewers which he must have passed onto Graham Greeene.   Extraordinarily Greene had never been to Vienna before Alexander Korda, the film director sent him there to write the script

Our final visit was to the National Art museum. There is such plethora of rooms and paintings that it was hard to get round them all let alone appreciate them . Alice Mansfield had advised us to go to the one room that of Peter Breugel the elder . I am no expert but you could only be impressed by their vitaity and animated representation of life. However the  pictures were poorly curated as they bore no title and Polly did not like the squeaky floors.

We stopped finally at the market in front of the Town hall which we have adopted as our local for a mulled wine. When Bob remarked there is no end to the incompetence of the Viennese  as they had lost his reservation at Plachutta  a restaurant recommended  by a business associate , we were all rather relieved to avoid yet more rich food. Of more concern was the fact landlord failed to deliver any loo paper but Bob is on the  case

About Nancy Bright-Thompson

A widely-respected travel editor, Nancy is a past president of the Guild of Travel Writers (GTW). She and her husband Phil now run a horse sanctuary in East Sussex. More Posts