Horse-drawn carriages called fiakers clip-clop through those cobblestone streets. Close your eyes for a second and listen to the clipping and the clopping and you could be back a century ago when Vienna ruled the Habsburg Empire. A bus has to crawl along behind the fiaker in the narrow street until it can get past.

The bus driver is probably cheesed off with frigging fiakers: they’re as slow as hell but at least there were no radar traps and you could find somewhere to park in the city in the 19th century.

We have no evidence but probably 99.9% of the fiakers’ passengers are tourists out for a photo-op tour of the cobblestones, the splendid buildings and the statues. The Viennese would be too sensible to pay the price, so they take the bus. Likewise, the 15-metre queue waiting to get in the marvellous Central Café are probably tourists willing to pay the extra for the privilege of sipping a latté and eating an apfelstrudel amidst the marble pillars, arched ceilings and chandeliers.

Of course, tourist-wise it is no different in this city that is often called the ’metropolis on the Danube’ to another place we know that is also called the ’metropolis on the Danube’ and has similar coffee-and-cake places, these ones by the names of Gerbeaud Kávéház and the New York Café.

In both sister cities, the locals have their own less expensive and less crowded establishments to while away the time. Not to mention minus the camera flashes.

Vienna is the city of Mozart – and Harry Lime. The two come together in Am Hof, the largest square in the inner city. Here in one corner is a plaque outside the building where Mozart gave his first performance in the Innere Stadt, or Old Town.

Missing from the – cobblestoned – square is the cylindrical advertising column where black marketeer Lime evaded his pursuers by descending into the sewers. The column, which supposedly híd the entrance to the subterranean world, was a studio prop.

Mozart and his family, having relocated from Salzburg, lived at Domgasse 5, Vienna, from 1784 to 1787, a buildng now known as the Mozarthaus Vienna and open to tourists. Lime, played by Orson Welles in the wonderful British film "The Third Man”, lived in Josephsplatz, where his death in the street was faked. The building is still there, next to the rambling Hofburg palace, its entrance flanked by striking statues.

"Third Man” tours operate, taking takers to Zentralfriedhof (Central Cemetery), where they buried the supposedly dead Lime, the Sacher hotel and adjacent Mozart Café, where Lime’s naive friend stayed and where he met the evil "Baron" Kurtz, as well as the famous doorway, 8 Schreyvogelgasse, where Lime appears physically for the first time in the film.

The film is a wonderfully atmospheric view of the city’s post-World War Two dark side, through the sewers and the rubble left by the bombing, Made in 1948, it is screened at the Burgkino cinema on Opernring every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.

Another Harry Lime "must” is the Giant Ferris Wheel in Prater Park, where the doomed man delivered his memorable justification for selling watered-down penicillin: "In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed but they produced Michaelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did they produce? The cuckoo clock."

Finally, on this particular trip to Vienna, we see some of the old royal hangouts: the imperial apartments of the Hofberg including the Sisi Museum and the Silver Collection, and the massive Schönbrunn Palace, which was merely the royal family’s summer residence.

The Hofburg has 2600 rooms and the Silver Collection displays around 7000 items from the 150,000 amassed. Here is the fantastic excess that World War One ended. How many palaces, rooms, tapestries, candlesticks, knives, forks, plates, egg cups and chamber pots does one family need?

Hungarian Railways has Vienna round-trips for as low as EUR 13 (and Bratislava EUR 17,50, Zagreb and Prague EUR 19, Ljubljana EUR 18, etc.)

https://www.mavcsoport.hu/mav-start/nemzetkozi-uta...

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