Salzburg’s old town is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born and raised here. The alpine setting of this city served as the location for the popular film The Sound of Music in the mid-1960’s.
But for a cigar smoker the true beauty of this European gem of a city is that the Austrians have so far resisted a total ban on smoking in public places.
The Viennese coffee house is a European tradition that goes back hundreds of years, and one that is still very much alive to this day.
Founded in 1705 Café Tomaselli, located near the Salzburg Cathedral in the old market, is an outstanding example of this classical style of café, and one that I recently had the good fortune to visit.
Sitting inside at one of the marbled tables and ordering a kaffee mit schlag (whipped cream) from one of the tuxedoed waiters, I discovered that one can light up their cigar with nary a peep from anyone. With cigar proudly lit I then relaxed and drifted back to a gentler time when people were treated just a bit more civilized.
Gazing around at the chandeliers, the wood paneled walls, and the silver trays bursting with strudel, my Romeo y Julieta and I were struck by how much we’ve lost by putting convenience ahead of old world pleasure.
The café itself was very busy, and because of its location the establishment is a magnet for tourists. But for this cigar-smoker, who can’t remember the last time he enjoyed a Cuban inside a restaurant or a café, it was the most serene place I’ve been to in years.