Alas, business calls this week, and then sunnier climes will claim me for my annual retreat into a land filled with windsurf equipment outlets, gins and tonic, and a range of swimming pools with bar service, but for those who wish to visit the spiritual home of all Austrians, I'll be providing a pilgrimage guide to the holy city of Vienna, once the experience has settled into my bones.
Before I sign off though, I must relay a strange incident; I was watching the James Bond film Goldfinger, on the laptop in my hotel room, when I noticed the numberplate on Auric Goldfinger's car, AU1. The symbol AU is, of course, the Periodic Table symbol for gold, the medium of exchange preference of most modern Austrians, as well as being the first two letters of the word Austria.
There's even a town in Austria called Au, which you can read about here. Ah, the excitement of being an Austrian in Austria; it does funny serendipitious things to the brain cells, you know. But when you stand outside the site of Ludwig von Mises' old home, just down the road from Saint Stephen's cathedral, on a warm summer's evening, before a 25 minute walk to an open air café situated between the University and the Burgtheater, where Von Mises and his friends also used to spend the evening? Now that really does set the psyche tingling.
Obviously, a well-seasoned Wienerschnitzel soaked in lemon and washed down with a particularly fine ice-cold Welschriesling helps, but it is an atmosphere which I feel unworthy even to write about until I can summon up the correct words. I even felt so inspired I tried to order the whole thing in German, to a fantastically Hungarian-looking waiter:
Ich mochte bitte, ein Wienerschnitzel, und vielleicht ein glas von Welschriesling, haben, bitte, und denn, das Rechnung?I wonder if Von Mises would have approved of my schreckliche Deutsche sprache?
But alas, I must away into the evening. The balmy heat of an Oxfordshire evening in England is insisting that the Bombay Sapphire is iced and lemoned instantly. Jawohl, ich bin ein Wiener. Auf wieder hören.