Thursday 14 April 2011

Café Hawelka
Where once upon a time is now

"... it must be said

that the Viennese coffeehouse

is a particular institution
which is not comparable to any other
in the world..."

* Stefan Zweig,
"The World of Yesterday.
Memories of a European"

I remember reading those lines
for the first time, far from Vienna,
and I have reread Zweig's poignant memoirs
a few times since.

It still seems unreal
that I live here now and
more than five years have passed
since I first set foot into Hawelka's.
I still think of Stefan Zweig
when I go there.

Hawelka's coffee Melange is among Vienna's best.
I often need two, to last me through my readings,
with a soft-boiled egg - brain food, you know.

Saturday morning at
Café Hawelka


Leopold Hawelka,
who opened this café in 1939
with his wife Josefine,
celebrated his 100th birthday
this past Monday.
Happy belated birthday,
Herr Hawelka!

Images and own text
© by Merisi


  1. Just gorgeous Merisi!

  2. This captures what I imagine to be the very heart and spirit of Vienna.
    We do try to have coffee houses in NY --but paper cups etc etc
    no, we really don't get it.
    A splendid post, Merisi.

  3. What a lovely coffee house. I would go there often too. Very delightful Merisi.

  4. Merci, Badger!

    you wouldn't believe what I spotted when I opened the dashboard moments ago: an advertisement for paper coffee cups! ;-)

    it always feels like a vacation,
    an oasis from the world.

  5. Brain food? my brain is pretty much like a soft boiled egg so I can see that.

  6. I thnk I will need boled eggs for tea, after seeing yours! :)

  7. What a beautiful place! I'd like to get a coffee there with you :)

  8. Dear Merisi,
    I love this place and can see myself relaxing there with a good book. Thanks for showing us images we can dream ourselves within.
    Thank you for stopping by Harmonie House and for following. Please stop by as often as you wish and do stay for tea!
    Blissful Tidings,

  9. He is really 100? Wow! Is he still in the cafe sometimes?

    P.S. I´m reading Cherry Orchard right now))

  10. Charles Gramlich,
    I haven't looked at my brain lately, simply thinking ->
    egg = protein = brain food. ;-)

    I hope you enjoyed your soft-boiled egg!
    (You could boil it in tea, then you are set for Easter!) ;-)

    sarei pronta in un intante! ;-)

    Miss Sandra,
    my pleasure, thank you! :-)

    I am rereading it for a project I am working on (I spent the last two weeks chasing white cherry blossoms). I fell in love with Chekhov's play when I saw it performed by the Piccolo Teatro di Milano. It was Giorgio Strehler's famous production, first performed in 1974, with Valentina Cortese in the leading role. I watched it several times. My only regret is that I was too young then to truly appreciate it, nonetheless, it has stayed with me, as has a leaf that fell off the imaginary cherry trees (actually from a white veil suspended over the whole stage).

  11. I never imagined I could suffer from soft boiled egg envy.

  12. Simona,
    scusa, volevo dire in un "istante". ;-)

  13. Louciao,
    Seriously, being served a soft-boiled egg is the ultimate luxury, wouldn't you agree? Only topped by "egg in a glass" - already peeled soft-boiled egg, served in a water glass.

  14. And a Moleskin of course :-)

  15. This café sounds terrific. I have noted its address but I don’t know if we will be able to go there. We are staying at hotel Imlauer, on Rotensterngasse 10, Vienna 1020, and I have no clue where this is. We will be there in 3 weeks and I am so excited as I have never been to Vienna before. I can’t wait to taste the coffee.

  16. Britt-Arnhild,
    no-name notebooks are just fine for me!

    Hawelka is two minutes from St. Stephen's Cathedral (and 3 minutes from Demel's!). All you need to do to get to the First District (Inner City) is walk across the bridge from your hotel, You'll see that Vienna is easy to conquer on foot and with public transport. I like the Eyewitness Travel Guides, their smaller version (called the "Top 10 Vienna") is very handy to take along and includes all the maps.
    Enjoy your stay!

  17. Happy birthday Hawelka!

  18. Just looking at these makes me wind down and relax.

  19. Merisi, this is another lovely invitation to the elegance of Vienna. Happy Birthday wishes from me, too.

    I envy Vagabonde her opportunity to visit this cafe (and Demel's, too) in a short while. Yes, I have got a slightly green tinge.


  20. Thank you for the information Merisi. I am copying it and shall get the guide. I am reading as much as I can on the Net because we will be there only 3 days. I think I’ll keep the whole Saturday for the Schönbrunn Palace as it looks so large. Thanks.

  21. Sounds like a fantastic way to start a day to me. Each of these is a still life work of art.

  22. That egg looks delicious! Beautiful photos as always :)

  23. this post makes me want to go to a coffee house and read my book :-)

  24. Splendid Merisi. I am funny about my eggs, but these images even look delightful to me. I adore the theme of this post~

  25. @ Vagabonde:
    I would strongly suggest to book your Schönbrunn Palace Tour online, now. I would take the earliest one, at 8:30AM (from where you stay it is not far to the U4 Metro station, takes you directly to Schönbrunn U$ station, five minutes walk from their to the gates). It is high tourist season (spring in Vienna is beautiful, after all) and Schönbrunn is a very (very!) busy place.

    If I were you and had only three days, I'd opt for very early mornings, every day. It is worth it, believe me.

  26. Bridget,
    thank you! :-)

    me too! :-)

    I can understand you.
    Little comfort to say you'll always have New York,
    I miss your city. (x)

  27. A Brush with Color,
    it is, indeed! I wished I were there right now. ;-)

    Hawelka's eggs are delicious!

    I'd join you! :-)

    I am sure you'd savour them! ;)

  28. Your silver trays are 'brain food' and heart food for me!

  29. I love it that people are Reading -- not talking on cell phones or texting -- in this lovely place.

  30. hi! :] thanks so much for your advice - i will definitely head out to all those places! i think that the best way to get to know vienna is by just walking around. i did have one more question, somewhere earlier on your page i found a picture of graffiti that at the end said something along the lines of 'stop leaning on the wall, the paint is wet'? where was that?

    and beautiful pictures - definitely makes me want to go take my book to the closest coffeehouse

  31. Ah, the Cherry Orchard. I love it. Have you seen the film version with Charlotte Rampling?

  32. Paris Breakfasts,
    I am so used to it, when I am abroad and coffee arrives, I keep waiting for the silvery tray and the glass of water.

    Vicki Lane,
    there were two more people, sitting there and reading books, the day I took these pictures. I notice often people reading books.

    I absolutely agree, Vienna is best conquered on foot.
    The graffiti is on Siebensterngasse, I think. Will try to find the post.

    Tess Kincaid,
    no, I have not seen the movie with Charlotte Rampling, and I doubt I ever will. Having seen Giorgio Strehler's brilliant staging of the play with Valentina Cortese as Madame Ranevskaya, I want to keep the memories of his take of the play and her acting forever unmarred by any other performance.

  33. Oh, to relax in this café... I am in the midst of many painting projects and there is no relaxing in sight.

  34. I still had the honour of being served by Mrs. Hawelka herself during my first year in Vienna. And Mr. Hawelka greeted everyone at the door. Happy Birthday to him! And what a wonderful tribute post :-)

  35. Thank you so much for this blog. I was in Vienna studying for a while last year, and I miss it dearly. Your writings and photos are just what I need for all those "homesick" days when I want to be no where else on earth but in a coffee house drinking a Melange and people watching and reading. Thank you again!


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