Monday, July 2, 2007
1st-Gay Pride Parade, then Mozart
On June 30th, I arrived in Vienna, Austria late in the evening. I have learned several things on my far flung journey, and one thing I cannot over emphasize is to not be shy about asking strangers for help. As I was waiting outside the airport, trying to decide which bus would take me where I wanted to go, I saw a man who looked like a possible local and asked him about the buses. Roman, a perfectly groomed and friendly Vienese (sp?), was pleased to inform me which bus to take and that he was heading in the same direction. A Gay man to be sure, he informed me that the next day was the Vienna Gay Pride Parade. Am I living right, or what? When we got off the bus, Roman actually went out of his way to walk me almost all the way to my hotel. That saved me wandering around for who knows how long in a strange city.
I checked into the Hotel Post, an old but respectable hotel not far from the Metro, which they call the "U" here and all the weiner and pizza and gelato shops anyone could ever ask for. Personally, I'm done with gelato....give me an American ice cream. The beds in Europe are harder than any I've slept on, and so my first night's sleep wasn't the best. The weather is hot, something I totally didn't expect in Austria. But, for the last few days I've been perspiring buckets, but not letting it slow my sightseeing. Anyway, I woke up the next day and sure enough, about a block or so from my hotel is the main boulevard of the city, the Ringstrasse. That was where the polizei blocked off all traffic and the big giant loud and oh so colorful Gay Pride Parade happened. And, it was a happening, folks. I am so frustrated that I haven't been able to upload any photos, cuz these Vienese Gays and Lesbians really know how to put on a show. In about a week I will put a ton of photos up on my blog...then maybe you will get a better idea of what my eyes have seen.
The one thing I knew I wanted to do in Vienna was to attend a Mozart Concert. And, that happened on the same day as the Gay Parade...such contrast. Every night, yes, that right....EVERY Night of the week, there are Mozart and Strauss (King of the Vienese Waltz)concerts in several of the old and opulently designed concert houses. The cool thing was I paid for the least expensive ticket, 29 euro, and got a seat on the sixth row. My ticket had 72 euro printed on it. I guess there are a few perks for traveling solo. The 20 (or so) piece orchestra was dressed in full costume from the 18th century, brocade overcoats, lacey shirts and wigs and all. The sound was superb, and the audience even got to clap along with one of the more lively pieces. I was in Mozart heaven. There was more than a little night music...
Well, there is so much to say about Vienna I will have to take another opportunity to post at a later time. It is cleaner and more civilized--think traffic and dog poop--than many other cities I've visited. The people are friendly and most of them can speak English. Am I a lucky dog.