Hi from Rick: A Magical, Musical Night in Vienna
|In Vienna, good government means great music.|
I'm in Vienna this week, filming one of my 11 new TV shows that will air this fall.
We caught one of those magically European moments the other night. At twilight, the park in front of Vienna's city hall was filled with thousands of people enjoying a food circus of 24 simple stalls. There wasn't a paper plate or plastic cup anywhere — just real plates and glasses, as Vienna wants its picnicking to be every bit as classy as its music. As I watched the locals make their way to 3,000 folding chairs facing a 60-foot-wide TV screen set against the city hall's neo-Gothic facade, a kid on a tiny toy truck pedaled past me, reminding me this is a multi-generational scene. As darkness fell, the Vienna State Opera's performance of Donezetti's "Love Potion" came booming to life on the big screen.
Since 1991, the city of Vienna has funded this annual festival of 60 different performances over 60 different summer nights. Why? To promote culture. Officials know that the nighttime festival attracts a popular "meat market" where young people come to hook up. They also know that, on the side, many of these kids will develop a little appreciation of classical music and high culture. Now that's good government...European-style.
If you've visited our website lately, this story may sound familiar. That's because (inspired by my traveling son) this month I've started blogging from Europe. So you no longer need to wait a month to hear from me via e-mail — you can tag along with me almost daily between now and late August, as I film new TV shows in Austria, update guidebooks in Spain, Scandinavia and Estonia, and holiday with my family in Ireland.
As you can see right now, my tech-savvy staff in Edmonds has freshened up my monthly dispatches with a brighter look and handy list of this month's Travel News articles. Whether you're planning a trip, looking for bargains, or just taking a peek at what we're up to, I hope you enjoy what we have to offer this month.