The Drama Chef

Prose – Travel – Recipes

Tag: winter

Vienna!

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Beautiful buildings wherever you look. Palaces and mansions and theaters and more palaces. Art nouveau facades, statutes, big parks, old trams, openness. Welcome to Vienna.

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It’s windy and cold, so wrap up, we are going for a walk.

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It’s not the big sites, the most famous monuments, the most hip bars that make a city what it is. It is the small details that reveal the mentality and the temperament of people. Like the traffic lights. Beautiful, playful, full of care.

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Like the Christmas decorations. Shuttle lights wrapped around the naked trees, glittering in the dusk.

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And the small alleys. So close to the city center, but so calm and despised by the masses of tourists that were drowning Vienna during the holidays. Let your map down. Let your lists at the hotel, let your articles on what to do and things to see. Just for a day.

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First snow in Vaud

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“How old is she?” “83 or 84, I can’t really remember anymore.” “And she lives alone up there, all alone?” “For more than 20 years now, right after the divorce with her second husband. She rented out her flat in Lausanne, she gave away most of her clothes and furniture, took 2 suitcases, 2 trains and there she was, at the village of her childhood summers.” The train is sliding around the vineyards that are soaked in rain; yellow leaves still linger on the vines. Not for much longer now. Dreamy châteux now and then, below dark cloudy skies.

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The smell of coffee, the silence of the wagon on an early Saturday morning. Old passengers reading through trashy free-press, paper bags of croissants, the smell of capucinnos dusted with cocoa powder. Swiss train life. The fabric of the seats a bit worn out by the bodies of passengers, hundrends and hundrends every month. We change to another train, they check our tickets again, greeting in French and German, just in case, changing to English if you don’t reply, move or smile. We go through colourful forests, stip hills, bridges, small chalets. Autumn postcards, wherever you look.

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She is waiting for us at the train station. Glasses, woolen scarf and matching bonnet, heavy brown coat, winter boots lined with fur. Unchanged and steady, the woman I used to thread as a kid. She gives her hand to Paul first, bonjour, echantée monsieur, all the kind words she has been performing all her life. She looks at me with an examining eye, scanning my clothes, my hair, my posture. In the end she smiles and hugs me, a short hug, a little tight and tender-to my surprise. Age must be softening her up. We walk to the chalet following a path at the banks of the small river I used to splash in as a kid. She doesn’t talk much, she’s walking ahead, Paul is glancing at me, I smile and make faces to him. We arrive.

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