We are just back from Austria and I am immeasurably sad. They (whoever “they” are) say that travel changes you. It changed me. Life is different when you travel. You learn new ways of doing things. You notice your surroundings more. If you step away from the tourist centers and hotels, you eat really, really well.

Vienna. The youngest building in Vienna is older than the United States. Look up. Always look up. The buildings are impossibly ornate.

So much to tell you, but today I’m doing to introduce you to what may be one of the world’s greatest food markets, the Naschmarkt. It runs for blocks and blocks near the Kettenbruckengasse U-Bahn station (at which sleek modern underground trains run at the precision of a Swiss watch).

The Naschmarkt has been in Vienna in some form or another since the early 1800s. Some of the stalls are permanent and others pop up daily starting around 6 a.m. and closing down around 7:30 p.m. daily except Sundays when the entire city of Vienna takes a day off.

But instead of me telling you about the Naschmarkt, let me show you the Naschmarkt.

It is crowded. Very crowded. One of the things I noticed immediately after Noah (who now lives there) told me about it was a lack of spacial awareness. Austrians, in general, are not aware that they are holding anyone up, blocking anyone’s view or impeding anyone’s forward progress. It’s best just to go with this. A trip through the Naschmarkt is going to be a slow one. Enjoy the ride, even at a quarter speed.

BreadsĀ  of every size and description crowd a deli case. You cannot choose a bad one because none exists. I will say that it’s best to buy bread and eat it the same day. There are no preservatives so bread can go from delectable to stale pretty quickly. Austrians keep their slim figures by walking everywhere. Fast. Despite spacial awareness issues.

Excuse me, I have to go get a wee glass of wine, another civilizing influence from Austria where wine and lunch are a daily occurrence. I love Austria.

And, of course, you need a nice soft and stinky cheese to go with your bread. We ate a lot of cheese in Austria. Walk, walk, walk.

Austrians love their meat. King Daddy felt right at home in Vienna.

Vienna has a large Turkish population. This has caused some friction as I understand it but not where food is concerned. Olives of all hues and sizes are commonly available. And when Vienna shuts down every Sunday there’s always a Turkish market open.

Just look at this! Can’t you just imagine the best cocktail party ever with all the stuffed appetizers at this stall?

And the sweets. Oh my goodness. There are no words. I just used some words. I apologize.

Fruits and vegetables from around the world are at the Naschmarkt. And prices are lower than in the grocery stores. And, as far as I could tell, there is no kale. I love Austria. I think I already said that but it is worth repeating.

This last one is not from the Naschmarkt. Sausage stands are all over Vienna and they’re worth a stop. Austrians do sausage very, very well. King Daddy and I got extremely fond of kasekrainer, a pork sausage studded with Emmenthaler cheese and smoked over apple wood. We ate more of it than was advisable, dipped in really good Austrian mustard which comes in tubes and dozens of varieties. WALK.

I spent a lot of time at the Naschmarkt. English was not the first language spoken or even the second or third. There was pointing and gesturing involved. I made myself understood. The language of food is generally spoken throughout the world.

Travel changes you.

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