As the negotiations over a nuclear deal with Iran drag on in Vienna, the Boston Globe's Matt Viser provides an inside look at how the United States delegation spends its time as the top diplomats confer. Among the details about snacks and American officials falling asleep is a nugget about the U.S. delegation's Hollywood fantasies:Read more
The Kurdish opposition was marching through one of the main streets and chanting anti-Iranian regime slogans. He followed me from the protest down a back street and called out. I stopped and he showed me a map and asked if I knew how to get to the destination he had circled. Weird he didn’t have Google Maps like almost everyone else in the city, I thought. It was only a matter of time before the city elders would carve out a separate pedestrian lane for tourists whose eyes were fixed on their phones.
With Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif’s one-day trip back to Tehran for consultations with supreme leader Ali Khamenei, it was a slow day for the nuclear talks here in the Austrian capital. Journalists are shuttling back and forth between the press tent and the lobby of the adjacent Marriott where Iranian intelligence officers, many of them posing as journalists, unabashedly photograph and film anyone that catches their attention. I opted out and spent the morning wandering around the city.
As much as the Viennese enjoy life, they also embrace death. Today I dropped by the Kaisergruft, where most of the Hapsburg monarchs and heirs have been laid to rest—including Crown Prince Otto, who died last summer. As seen in this photo, these sarcophagi are impressive and mindful of morbidity. (Notice how the skull is missing teeth.)
Cafe Hawelka, Vienna
I'm currently on assignment for THE WEEKLY STANDARD in God-awful Vienna, Austria (just trying not to make my colleagues envious). It's been almost 20 years since I spent a year in the old city as a student, and it's fascinating seeing what has changed (I've already stumbled across two Starbucks) and what hasn't (the grocery stores are still closed on Sundays).
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