International Food, Film and Dance Festivals
The food and film festival is staged in front of the City Hall (Rathaus - all of our government buildings should aptly be called rat houses, don't you think?) and runs from mid-June until the end of August, every day. There are well over a dozen food booths offering fabulous menus from all over the world, a fine beverage selection including fine wines and excellent beers and interesting fruit concoctions, and other delights like crepes, and creme brûlée. My goal is to dine from every booth.
The films are free and start around nine-thirty; they all have excellent musical scores and many are full-blown symphony, opera or dance performances. So far, I have seen the Salzburg symphony play some Richard Strauss compositions with Renee Fleming accompanying them, a really cool ballet of Sleeping Beauty and half of Aida. (I had been out exploring all day and didn't have anything for the chill of the night; worked out well as I got to see Germany win the World Cup in a bar of Germans on my walk home.)
This is an example of what I find when exploring: the Albertina Murseum with a collection to slay you. It is small and the permanent collection includes Monet, Miro, Renoir, Chagall, Picasso, Kandinsky, Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas, Cezanne, Sisly and Giacometti. There was a cool exhibit by Alex Katz running as well. My favorite was an oil painting of a sailboat ride by August Macke. I was floored by the lighting of that one and the one next to it, a painting of glowing gold cornfields by Alexej von Jawlensky.
Interior of the palace. Absolutely gorgeous intact rooms.
Now the dance festival is running, too and there is a wonderful free lounge open every night for a month just across the street from the Rathaus, which is just getting a glow on when the film ends. It is very cool to dance with people who appreciate dancing as an art. Literally hundreds of people from all over the world are just sitting on the grounds hanging out or inside socializing and dancing. It's a great crowd and very easy to strike up a conversation.
There are performances and workshops in other venues around the city. Tonight I will see Alain Platel's Les Ballets C de la B and Munchner Kammerspiele.
When I was googling travel options to visit my friend Edina in Budapest, I came across an entry from a couple who were bored after only one day in Vienna and went to Budapest, saying that was a decision they would never regret. I had to laugh. Vienna has so many cultural riches to think you could begin to touch them in a day is absolutely absurd, and it is so beautiful and clean. I like Budapest. It's a fun, vibrant city, though I do admit to crying when I disembarked from the train in a pretty seamy section of town on my first visit there, wondering why I left Vienna. But like most cities, it grew on me until I loved it. It was amusing to see fat old men play chess in the public baths. The goulash is out-of-this-world good. I spent a memorable evening at Ersabatz Park hanging out on a blanket with some musicians singing Johnny Cash songs late into the night. And found the Buda Forest a magical place, especially in the dark.
Vienna is very different. It is a refined and sophisticated city. It's not for everyone.