I generally take the view that shopping is a necessary chore, something to be accomplished with the precision of a surgical strike that allows you to get back to the interesting things in life. One of the few exceptions to this rule is spending time strolling around a street market.
Like most cities Vienna has its share of fixed markets and street markets. One of our favourites is the street market around the Yppenplatz in the 16th district. The mix of stalls from Turkish breads to fish from the Austrian mountain lakes, combined with the bustle of crowds and the noises generated by street entertainers competing with those selling the latest cause, all provide the sort of atmosphere that makes wandering aimlessly through the throng a real enjoyment.
The liberal sprinkling of small cafes and restaurants also add to the attraction of spending time in this part of Vienna. But readers who know my passion for coffee will be surprised to read that the search for a good coffee and comfortable seat takes second place to one of my lesser know passions – the love of a good cheese. Whilst R is busy seeking out yet another bargain or two, H and I wander off to our favourite cheese stall at which point the trouble starts. There are just too many delicious cheeses to taste and we usually end up debating the merits of each one. Things then become somewhat more difficult as we try to restrict ourselves to the purchase of only three or four different cheeses and usually fail to stay within my notional budget.
After the stresses and strains of choosing from amongst such excellent cheeses and sampling the various fresh fruits on offer around the market, normal life always returns with the move to a cafe with its offerings of strudel and coffee. Last Saturday our market trip enhanced by a visit to, for us, a new cafe with an Indian menu. As I sat enjoying my coffee, I was struck by the fact that amongst the customers the conversations were being held in English as well as German. My native tongue can so easily heard and used here in Vienna that it is not surprising that some English speakers living here never do learn German.