Sunday, August 7, 2011

Weekend in Vienna

Thumbing through my Lonely Planet Guide for Eastern Europe it eventually dawned on me that Austria was not included. Thus I arrived with no particular guidance..just feeling open to however the weekend might unfold. Doris, a designer at an Ad Agency, had invited me to stay with her; she had asked her close friend Elizabeth who is an Occupational Therapist to spend the weekend with us as well. Within hours we became this trio who went wine tasting at a cool vineyard, buzzed through many of the standard tourist sites, did lots of cooking, swam naked in a quiet fork of the Danube and shared story upon story. They were taken with me being a Sexologist, a wild traveler and a seasoned cook. We discussed endless details of our encounters with men and laughed our heads off.

Late Saturday night we ended up in a cool pub at a drop in event organized by one of Doris' friends. In that everyone was talking in German, there was no way I could eavesdrop my way into conversations so all I could do was bluntly approach people and introduce myself, explaining that I'm an English-speaking American. I ended up speaking with a guy who is also a social researcher who was familiar with the statistical program I'd been using for a recent research project. Then our conversation meandered into relationship dynamics and he took great interest in my background in polyamory. The next conversation I had was equally rich as I chatted with a long haired guy who produces a newsletter on anti-semitism. He's been tracking blips of resurgence of Nazism in Austria and I began to ask him the tough questions that had been swirling around my head. What was it about the Jews that had made them such targets? (We discussed that it really had nothing to do with stories about Jesus being killed by Jews, but was largely rooted in Jews being bankers/money-lenders...and with the economic depression in the air, they became the scapegoats.)

Altogether I encountered one of the most varied and vibrant Vienna's in one weekend ranging from a very international gathering of (mostly) young couch surfers, to staid members of the Lions Club having a wine tasting/repast in a country wine garden, to hipsters in a late night club to well-tanned and tattooed nude sunbathers!

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