About us

We went to Vienna in October 2011 and spent five wonderful days there.  Our visit fortunately coincided with the last glorious weather of the summer – ideal weather for visiting, when it was warm enough to go around in shorts, but never too hot to make walking a burden.

We were fortunate enough to find a hotel not far from the Cafe Central, the most famous of the Vienna cafes. At the turn of the last century it was the meeting place of the city’s intellectuals, Trotsky played chess here in the years before World War I, and other famous patrons of the cafe included Tito, Freud, Hitler and Lenin, and between the wars it was the haunt of the Vienna circle of logical positivists. The cafe was reconstructed in its original form in the 1980s.


Wendy, enjoying coffee and cakes

The cafe was constructed with a piano at the centre where a pianist still plays every afternoon and evening.  The repertoire inevitably includes a selection from from Strauss but also from the classic film music – and  the Harry Lime theme.

Note the portrait of ‘Sissi’ or Elizabeth, the Empress of Austria, on the far wall.




Me, with Peter Altenburg. Note the piano just behind us. (HDR photo)

At the entrance is a papier-mache figure of the poet Peter Altenberg, who was a regular at the cafe to such an extent that he even used it as his postal address.  Here I am attempting to argue with him without much success.

(I should say that I am Andrew Selkirk from London and when I am not visiting interesting cities I am Editor-in-Chief of Current Archaeology and Current World Archaeology.  I was in Vienna strictly on a non-archaeological basis.)

We stayed in Vienna in the Best Western Tigra Hotel which is situated in the Tiefe Graben, which means deep ditch, and was originally the north western defences of the Roman Legionary fortress of Vindabona.  The name Tigra comes from Tiefe Graben.

This photo shows the Hohe Brucke, the  bridge over the Tiefe Graben, originally built in 1903-4.




Mozart is reputed to have stayed in a house now occupied by the hotel in his early days in Vienna when he was touring as a child prodigy.  There is a plaque on the wall outside.



In our bedroom were replicas of two letters said to have been written by Mozart, but his handwriting is so bad that I cannot read them.



If you have penetrated this far, please send me a message in the form below!

Greetings -

Andrew Selkirk

18th October 2011


2 Responses to About us

  1. Kate Nicholls says:

    Oui mon ami. Lovely photos for those of us who will probably never make the trip.

  2. Bart Boge says:

    Regarding the female statue in the Ancient Greek/Roman area of the museum: the sheer fabric the figure is depicted wearing mighty actually be silk. It was considered so sheer and sensuous a fabric that the Roman Senate outlawed its wearing for a brief period (around the first century). Seeing that it was only available from the Chinese, it was ridiculously expensive–worth its weight in gold at least. The rendering of it on that sculpture is exquisite. Thanks for including it in your blog!

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