Apps are a rather new kid on the travel block. Many of them try to do too much; there's just too much to browse through to get where you want to be. It's like that 2000 page guidebook to Europe you have put behind the rear wheel of your SUV to keep it from rolling down a hill; everything's there if you could only find what you were looking for before you re-purposed it.
Vienna Cafes is a tightly focused app, elegant in design like the cafes it highlights. It features classic black and white photography out of a Leica M3 and shot on Kodak 400 TMAX film. Each cafe has a picture gallery you can view.
What's in the App
There are two important components of the app for those who wish to have that authentic Viennese cafe experience. First, there's a primer on what kind of coffee to order called the "Reference Guide."
If you're like me and don't speak more than three words of the language, this is a pretty important part of the app. Know what a Häferlkaffee is? Think a Wiener Melange is a miscellany of hot dogs arranged on a plate? Ok then, you will need this part of the guide for sure.
Then there are the cafes. The current version of the app recommends 11 Vienna Cafes, with opening hours, location, and the availability of wi-fi and customer accessible electrical sockets.
The atmosphere of each cafe is ably described, and if food is served you'll get some clues as to what to order. Each is also located on a map, which you get to from the main cafe page.
So, the app is tightly focused, and perhaps, for some, it will appear too tightly focused. But the app garners some good reviews, and at $1.99 it's not going to break the bank.
The Cafe Life in Europe
Coffee and the traditional places that serve it show an amazing amount of diversity throughout the world. The well-caffeinated tourist could probably spend a lifetime exploring the variations.
Elegant cafes and the services they provide are part of Piedmontese culture; this is especially ture of the cafes in and around Turin. The elegance and refinement found in the northern Italian region equals that of Austrian cafes--but the coffee styles are very different. Traditional Parisian cafes celebrate art and artists, while along Las Ramblas in Barcelona, the elegant Cafe de l'Opera still shows signs of its mid-19th century Viennese decor, and hasn't been closed a day since 1929.
And then there's Prague. "Each Prague cafe is a little different. Prague's most famous cafes were favorite meeting places for intellectuals, writers, and artists; they cultivated a culture at the turn of the century that catapulted their reputations into the international sphere," Writes Kerry Kubilius as she gets down to business calling out her favorite Prague cafes.
And Amsterdam's Brown Cafes? Well, that's a whole different ballgame entirely.
We like this app almost as much as we like exploring Europe's diversity of coffee and coffee houses. If you're into the kind of coffee served in Vienna, this app will get you out of the tourist wasteland and show you some special places in a very elegant way.
Have fun. Check out our picks for Vienna Coffee Houses. And remember, "Drinking three cups of coffee per day may help turn the tide against Alzheimer's disease among older adults," according to WebMd.
Hey, maybe you could get a prescription for going to Vienna!