Saturday 1 September 2007

Drinking Coffee Elsewhere

Harrer Cafe'
Sopron, Hungary

Cafe' Rendevu

Sopron, the former Austrian Ödenburg,
is located a mere 60 km south of Vienna.

"Following the break up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, four western Hungarian counties (Pressburg - Pozsony, Eisenburg - Vas, Ödenburg - Sopron, Moson - Wieselburg) german parts were awarded to Austria in the Treaties of St.Germain (1919) and Trianon (1920). After local unrest, Sopron's status as part of Hungary (along with that of the surrounding eight villages) was decided by a local plebiscite held on December 14, 1921, with 65% voting for Hungary. Since then Sopron has been called Civitas Fidelissima ("The Most Loyal Town", Hungarian: A Hűség Városa), and the anniversary of the plebiscite is a city holiday. The other three (the fourth county Pressburg - Pozsony remain in Czechoslovakia) western parts of the awarded counties today form the Austrian federal state of Burgenland.

Sopron suffered greatly during World War II, as it was bombed several times. The Soviet Red Army occupied the city on March 6, 1945. In August 1989 It was the site of the Pan-European Picnic, a protest by anti-communist activists on the border between Austria and Hungary, which was used by over 200 citizens of East Germany to cross illegally to the west. As the first successful crossing of the border it helped pave the way for the mass flight of East German citizens that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989.

During the Socialist era the government unsuccessfully tried to turn Sopron into an industrial city, allowing the city to remain an attractive site for tourists.

Today, Sopron's economy immensely benefits from the European Union. Having been a city close to nowhere, that is, to the Iron Curtain, Sopron now has reestablished full trade relations to nearby Austria. Furthermore, after being suppressed during the Cold War, Sopron's Austrian culture and heritage is now recognized again. As a consequence the city is today officially bilingual, with most street- and traffic-signs written in Hungarian and German."

Quoted from


  1. Outdoor cafes are one of the best things about summer! Thanks for the information, too. I learn a good deal by blogging!!

  2. More YUMMY pictures Merisi.
    I could look at Kahlenberger Strasse all day well as that cup of Joe.

  3. Cool historical info (there is so much to know). However, I mostly want whatever that chocolate filled yummy looking thing in your first photo!

  4. It's not a word I use very often, because it is so over-used and has lost its meaning - but these photos are so "pretty".
    And you know what, I just don't think I have ever "thought" about Hungary before.
    It has just never appeared on my radar or in my imagination!
    Thank you so much for the beautiful Gazanias on Strawberry Fields, I was very touched - it is too hot for my Gazanias in our summer so they must flower here in winter.

  5. Beautiful as always.
    A breath of fresh European air from hot hot N. Africa.
    Interesting information too!
    All best wishes,

  6. First pic: is that poppyseed cake?

    I have to get it from Louis, the Hungarian baker in Hampstead.

    I can taste it.

  7. Kate:
    I agree with you, I love those outdoor cafes, even if it's only one little table with two chairs out on the sidewalk. I love the Viennese way of sitting outside even during cooler weather (that's what one has a coat for, isn't ? *g*).
    I am sure you would find many corners here that you'd enjoy and like to paint too. ;-)

  8. tlc illustration:
    It's amazing what one learns by travelling. I am slowly realizing that I live so close to so many places that I'd like to go to one day.

    That sweet behind the coffee cup is a poppy seed strudel (made with a yeast dough). Hungarians seem to love poppy seeds just as much as Austrians. ;-)

    What really struck me, being in Hungary for the first time, was that the people in Sopron wouldn't have had to live through 70 years of a communist regime had they had a little more luck.

  9. katz n sprung:
    The nights are a bit cooler and the day temperatures more modereate, but the sky's as blue as ever. I am grateful for that and I wish you one that's just a blue.

    Thank you.
    I send you some of our cool fresh evening air. ;-)

    Sally Crawford:
    You are right, it is indeed poppyseed cake, made with yeast dough. Lucky you got a place where you can find it. In Washington poppy seeds were a true luxury, they sell that apothecary's prices. Never understood why. And then you had to have your own poppy seed mill.

  10. listen,
    i have been meaning to tell you...

    i so wish that you had been
    my world history instructor.

    i love reading history anyway
    but when i studied world history
    in school,
    i had not yet traveled.
    the facts, figures, and folks
    seems unreal to me.


    the text would have been
    ever so much more interesting
    accompanied with brilliant photos--
    such as yours--
    of historical places.
    each site has its own beauty.

    thanks for my
    *independent study class*

    love it, love it, love it....

    carry on...

  11. I have had my coffee and all my other meals away for a week. This morning it feels like heaven to have breakfast home alone :-)

    Your photos are great as always.

  12. Outdoor cafes are always so delightful! :-)

    I wish we had more of them here in Montego Bay.

  13. katz n sprung:
    Non c'è di che!
    A presto! :-)

    Thank you, you are very sweet! :-)
    I almost fell from the good graces of my first grade teacher when I told her I wanted to become a teacher when I grew up, but not a general one like her, I wanted to become a profesor, teaching "stories" at the University. I am still waiting for that position. ;-)

    Welcome back! :-)
    Hope your morning was as relaxing as you'd had wished for.

    And here I was thinking that Montego Bay would host mostly outdoor cafes! Maybe you should show pictures of the Viennese sidewalk cafes to your tourist board? ;-)

  14. I'm having a wonderful morning, and now the sun is coming out after a wet start of the day.

    I just posted a blog entry where I ask for ideas of Venice litterature. You are always my best litterature resource, and I'm sure you have alot to suggest from Venice as well.......

  15. This all looks so intriguing - must add to the list of travel prospects.

  16. What a beautiful thread of Drinking Coffee's photos! Very inspiring post, Merisi! Love all them!


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