Poland — a place where the holiday celebrations seem to take the form of an ode to spring and its flurry of bright new blooms.
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Vienna, Austria: long-time capital of the Habsburg Empire, city of fantastic beauty, historical home to leading classical music lights Beethoven, Mozart and Strauss, and still centre of the classical music world.
Odds are, if you’re thinking about Belgium, you’re thinking about something that tastes good. That’s certainly the case in Japan.
We come down a spiral staircase into a large and warmly lit space, panelled in rich brown wood on three sides and with a floor-to-ceiling window on the fourth, giving us a view of a small garden beyond.
Hungary, known for its unique wonders of the vine, its hot springs and its great minds. From glass to plate, the products of nation in the heart of Central Europe have flowed over its borders, finding adherents near and far across the continent.
“Polish people love culture from the heart. To me it is an amazing country.” That’s what a Spanish friend, whose job in the luxury wine business takes him all over Europe and the world, told me once about Poland.
I’m in a large yet intimate room that is at once theatre, stylish restaurant and professional kitchen. At the back, floor-to-ceiling windows bathe the tables, the chairs and the guests sitting in them in warm afternoon sunlight. At the front, the long, dark kitchen counter is topped with baskets of varying size, filled with some of the ingredients for today’s Austrian dishes.
“When I go back to Mexico, everything seems to look more vivid. I don’t know why, but it is,” says Miguel.
The moment was almost too perfectly put together to be real.
Macedonia, home to civilizations ancient and great, as well as onetime part of many a past empire.
Opera and classical music, exquisitely refined pastries and cakes, a café culture woven into some of the world’s most beautiful streetscapes, the creative and cultural legacy of centuries of Habsburg imperium. When you think of Austria, perhaps these are some of the images that float in front of your mind’s eye.