on the kind of whirlwind trip that my sister cait and i were just on, there can put a lot of pressure to see everything. many travelers pay no attention to the impossibility of the task before them and before even stepping off the train in a new city they’re strategizing the fastest route from one cathedral to the next. the soles of their feet already ache from pounding cobble stones in the last city, but they’re at it again, elbowing their way through crowds to make sure they’ve gotten close enough, at least, to the fresco to have it count.
i get it. i’ve done this. but there’s something to be said for taking a moment to soak in the rhythm of a place in a different kind of way.
cafe sperl in vienna has been offering tourists and locals a welcome respite from sightseeing since 1880. it would be disingenuous to claim that a stop in the cafe is not a tourist destination in and of itself. it is. but to linger guilt-free over a plate of chocolate cake, to not worry that in stopping to pause for a warm drink you might be missing your one and only opportunity to see klimt in austria*, that’s the real treat. when i taught in france, my fellow teachers and i would take mid-morning coffee breaks–pause-café–and i’m a fan of using the same practice while traveling. Sit for a moment, rest your weary feet, and delight in the golden hues and velveteen benches of a cafe in another city.
*call me a philistine if you will, but that cake was delicious.