Wednesday, October 23, 2013

"Mitzi, Mitzi, Mitzi, I adore ya"

Mighty Reader and I are just back from ten days in the Old World, specifically Prague and Vienna. Mighty Reader took a thousand-and-some photos and I might post a few at some point. I might say a few words about Praha and/or Wien at some point, too, but probably not; I find that Wittgenstein was, after all, correct. I will say, however, that the most striking thing about Austria turned out to be--no, not the proliferation of shops offering shoe and key repair (which still strikes me as a curious combination)--it's the Viennese Bread Scam, which works as follows: the diner enters a restaurant/cafe; the diner orders a meal and with it, a side dish of bread; an order of bread in this example is one slice of brown bread and costs 1.4 Euro; the server brings a dish with two pieces of brown bread; no mention is made to the diner that extra bread has been brought to the table; the diner shares his second piece of bread with his fellow diner; the server adds 1.4 Euros to the final bill for the second serving of bread. This Viennese Bread Scam is common practice at restaurants no matter the price/trendiness/whatever of the place. It took us quite by surprise, and thankfully it only happens with bread (we imagined servers saying to us "Did you eat the entire bowl of soup? That was two servings and I must charge you 5 Euros 70 additional."). Mighty Reader pointed out the strong possibility that whenever bread is brought to table in Vienna, half of it has been pawed over by previous diners. Wien, Sie sind eine seltsam Stadt, but it was a good time anyway.

Edited to add: This is my favorite photo from the trip, Mighty Reader on the Charles Bridge in the shadow of the castle (yes, that castle). No golems spotted.

11 comments:

  1. In Bavaria, the bread is a lot cheaper - maybe 25 Euro cents per slice - so it does not seem so much like a scam. Or so I remember.

    I suppose it is good that you did not see a golem. Still, it would have been neat.

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  2. We visited all the synogogues in the old city and whistled, but no golem. Maybe next time.

    The bread thing is weird, just really weird. We figured out how it worked quickly enough, but we never figured out the *why* of it. I suppose we could've asked someone. That never occurred to me.

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  3. I don't call three times "quickly enough." Especially since each time we learned only after we'd eaten all the pawed-over bread. Austrians, you know.

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  4. My husband just got back from Vienna (and elsewhere.) As usual, he was Mr. Adventure and ate all sorts of wild innards and strange beasts at peculiar places founded long before the U. S. existed. Said he didn't encounter the Vienna bread scam. However, he did encounter the "still water" scam... (I think the place where he really had to watch out for charges for things he was brought at restaurants but did not order was Vietnam. Similarly, cab rides had to be negotiated before you set out or they would charge whatever they liked.)

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  5. Welcome home, Mr. B and Mighty Reader! The picture is nice and other pictures would be nice too. When I perform my bread scam, I don't include an entire slice of bread. I sprinkle crumbs from the second slice onto the first slice. Diners almost always eat them, and then I charge.

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  6. Marly, I think I knew your husband was off in lands beginning with V from your facebooking. Nobody in Europe will serve you a glass of tap water, apparently. But when you order coffee in Vienna and Prague, you get a glass of water on the side. Is that bottled water? I have my doubts, but I didn't ask. We were warned not to ride the cabs in Prague and the public transportation in Vienna is so good we had no reason to use cabs there. What is the release date for Glimmerglass?

    Dr M, thank you for the welcome! I now require updates about your house hunt. I will post more photos when I have time, which is not today. The Malasarn Bread Scam is crafty, tricksy and pure evil.

    I started writing something new while we were in Prague. I'm not currently working on it, though sometimes I catch myself thinking about it, wondering if I'll actually turn it into a ghost story. It seems to want to be a ghost story. A comic ghost story.

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  7. The trip sounds wonderful! And I'm a huge fan of that picture of Mary. The colors are fantastic. I will keep this bread scam in mind if we ever visit there (and also if I ever visit Malasarn -- who knew?) When I went to Europe, euros didn't exist. I feel old.

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  8. Prague turned out to be a more colorful city than I thought it would be. I take no credit for the quality of the photo; I have no idea how to adjust the camera's settings, so I just point and press the button and hope the real photographer has done what she must to the dread contraption.

    The Euro was straightforward, but in Prague everything was in kroners (or coronas, or kreutzer, depending on who was talking). I bought a hat for KR2200. If you are old, young lady, then I am a dinosaur, a fossil.

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  9. In the long term, we're all fossils, I suppose!

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  10. Bottled water... When we were in Asia, we were warned to be careful of it. Too easy to pour it full from the tap and put on a cap! The wanderer off to Idaho in December and then Tajikistan in January...

    I am too overwhelmed and hence forgetful to know the release date for "Glimmerglass!" If I ever knew. Alas. But 2014 for sure.

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  11. I have been to Idaho plenty of times, and the water is probably safe. I don't so much know about Tajikistan.

    You're off to South Carolina soon. I have not been there in a billion years.

    I'll just have to keep an eye out for your Glimmerglass announcement when you have a date. Orphanage, at long last, is next on my TBR list (after the Ruskin and the Lovecraft).

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