It is the sense of slippage—between languages, between cultures, between worlds—that has kept me going back to the region almost annually for years.
The real draw of Bemelmans isn’t the drinks, or the varied bar snacks, or even the intricate murals patterning all the walls—it’s the people.
There is a German word for longing: sehnsucht. It is a homesickness for a country you have never visited, a love for somebody you’ve never met. It is a yearning without an object, and so without an end. It’s the vague, elegiac melancholy you find in Viennese writers like Zweig or Roth, missing the Vienna Before the War.