Vienna: “The Love Fest” Edition

Posted on Tuesday, March 1, 2011 - 0 Comments
NIght Train to Vienna
Night Train to Vienna (Photo: Adrienne Lusby)

Ahhhh, Vienna. The opera, the Ringstrasse, the kasekrainer, the love fest.

After a walk down memory lane and some crazy dreams on the night train from Venice, I emerge into the bright crisp air of Wien Huetteldorf train station in Vienna, Austria. That’s when I remember I don’t speak German. I quickly scan my memory banks for any phrases I’ve learned through osmosis and come up with: Der kaffee mit milch, bitte and danke schon. Great. I can order coffee with milk and say thank you. Already, things are looking up.

I head outside, find the taxi stand and, instead of ordering coffee, I hand the driver a piece of paper with the address of my hotel written on it. He nods and takes me there directly.

When I check in, I am relieved that, not only does everyone at the front desk speak English, they do so with a shocking resemblance to Mike Myers on the old SNL skit “Sprockets.” Front desk guy checks me in and says “Now, don’t be afraid. The room is very far, but it’s nice. And quiet.” He’s right. The room is very far. And nice. And quiet. And not at all scary.

I am instantly struck by one of the most salient features of this room. The complimentary mini-bar. This is not unlike finding a unicorn in one’s room. A mini-bar that is restocked…daily…for free. Wow. What a refreshing change from the normal mini-bar where you risk spending half a paycheck if you get peckish and eat a chocolate bar while indulging in a micro-sized scotch after a day of exploring.

Well, it appears these Austrians are quite civilized. They’ve charged me the room rate and now I’m to receive this epic mini-bar. Already, I love this country and it’s 9 am and I haven’t done anything yet and I’m drinking some scotch damn it, ‘cuz when I get back from checking out the city today there will be a brand new bottle sitting exactly where I got this one from. Now, I don’t advocate scotch at 9am on a regular basis, but when you’re in Austria and it’s free, and you’re in a bad-ass hotel, you must indulge a little.

Do Not Disturb, Vienna
They forgot to add: I am sampling some Scotch (Photo: Adrienne Lusby)

After my enlightening mini-bar experience I head back to the front desk to receive advice on how best to proceed in experiencing this magnificent city. I am quickly informed that I am in luck as I’ve arrived at the most opportune moment. It appears I’ve timed my arrival perfectly to coincide with a local festival, “The Love Fest.” Who knew? I should be so lucky.

“Maybe you’ve heard of it?”, says the concierge. “It’s just like the one in Ber-lin, only schmaller. Enjoy!”

Yes, certainly. Of course. What sort of uncivilized barbarian doesn’t enjoy a love fest whether it’s in Berlin or Vienna or Bangladesh for that matter? I mean we’re talking celebrations of Love! What could possibly be better?

I set off immediately to experience this glorious festival. So I follow the crowds, the megaphones and the music until I come face-to-face with the Love Fest. Right there, in front of the most grandiose architecture of the Habsburg Empire, where Freud would take his walks and where Mozart’s most famous operas are performed, I see it. The cast of MTV’s Real World Europe dressed in beach clothes, gyrating to euro-pop dance music on a flatbed truck which is driving around the Ringstrasse in a parade with other flatbed trucks. Now, the last thing I really want to experience is euro-pop dance music. Great food, yes. Famous historic cafes, obviously. Classic Klimt paintings, bring them on. Opera, indubitably. Euro-pop dance music, please, spare me.

The Love Fest
MTV Europe Represents at The Love Fest

After deciding that perhaps this particular love fest is not for me (there’s always Berlin, next year), I set out to get something to eat. This time I would not be disappointed.

Lunch at Cafe Sperl

To Be Continued…


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Hi, I’m Algis


I have an insatiable wanderlust which takes me to some crazy places where I try strange foods, pretend I'm a local and talk with elephants. Keep reading...

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