Saturday, October 12, 2013
First opened in 1939 , it has changed little over the following decades and since that time has been operated by the Hawelka family, handed down from generation to generation. Through the twentieth century it was and remains a meeting point for writers and artists to share ideas over a melange or two, and maybe one of the famous pastries that are still made in house from recipes handed down directly from the matriarch Josefin Hawelka.
Among the artists, housewives take a break from their errands. Businessmen take lunch, or random blow-ins like me come in to look at them.
On a rainy Saturday afternoon, the dark wood and dim lighting invite the weary pedestrian to hang their coat and follow the maitre d' to a booth or table. From the deep colored wallpaper hang photographs of the family through the century and some beautiful original artworks - some original paintings hang from once unknown painters who, without the money to pay for their lunch, would offer a work of art instead. These hang proudly , some of them now priceless, in a room with no music or radio or any vestige of the modern world ,; a place to view art, enjoy coffee, and hear the low chatter of one of Europe's most elegant cities, and allow a small portion of the day to tick down at its own chosen speed.
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