Culture & Entertainment

Vienna: An unforgettable cup of coffee!

By: Doug O'Neill
Canadian Living
Culture & Entertainment

Vienna: An unforgettable cup of coffee!

By: Doug O'Neill
So I drank coffee with Leon Trotsky and Sigmund Freud. Did I? Is that true? Well, at least that's how I remember it, sort of. A report on CBC today claims that coffee boosts one's memory. It must be true because I've not thought of my morning in Cafe Centrale, Vienna, in years. Perhaps it's safer to say, "coffee prompts memory recall." In reality, of course, both historical figures died before I was born. But I think it is fair to say, based on my memory of that decadent morning almost two decades ago, that I enjoyed a cup of coffee in their spiritual presence. Picture this: a budget-conscious back-packer in Vienna, trying to stretch his shillings (this was before the Euro), who is somewhat coffee-obsessed. I do recall my conundrum. That much is clear: "Do I splurge or not?" The cost of a visit to the famous Cafe Centrale was double the nightly fee of the hostel. Cafe Centrale, Vienna Austria Sometimes in life, and this seems to crop up for me when I'm travelling, you're presented with once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that force you to weigh practicality against dreaminess. Cafe Central is one of the oldest coffee houses in Europe. Aproned staff served their first cup of coffee in this august building, which once housed the stock exchange, in 1876. And, yes, patrons included Leon Trotsky, Sigmund Freud and Vladimir Lenin. The way I looked at it, I'd be drinking in good company. Cafe Centrale, Vienna, Austria (Images courtesy of WikiCommons.) So I bit the bullet and spilled my schillings out onto the marbled table top. Even today, I need only close my eyes and I can still taste the coffee, a dark roast, smoky not bitter, rich with cream, and accompanied by a wildly priced (for my limited budget) chocolate-y creation that elevated me to sugar heaven. Never has it taken me so long to sip one cup of coffee. I drank in the surroundings. I soaked up the ambience. I immersed myself in the memories of the famous folk who'd passed the time of day in that heralded coffee house decades earlier. What else did I do in Vienna apart from spend two unforgettable hours in a café? I honestly can't recall. Funny, isn't it, the things you remember, and the things you don't.  
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Vienna: An unforgettable cup of coffee!

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