“Kanakis continued on his way with a spring in his step; he was pleased there would be cakes again, that people in Vienna still had the taste for them and were able to make them. People were still the same: they liked cakes–and probably music–and all the other pleasures of the senses.
—The Exiles Return by Elizabeth de Waal
Along with the Argentine tango and Chinese calligraphy, UNESCO has declared the Viennese Coffeehouse an Intangible Cultural Heritage, delightfully described as “a place where time and space are consumed, but only the coffee is found on the bill.”
The waiter (most often, rather than a waitress) promptly delivers a menu, though after a few visits, you’ll know what you want and perhaps the waiter will too. In even the busiest cafes, through experience, the waiter can divine to the second how much time you need to decide on your order. Which is delivered briskly, but without unseemly haste. You are then left to your own devices–to reflect on the delights of empire, to map your next museum assault, to fortify flagging feet.