I shouldn’t enjoy Eurovision as much as I do. Us Aussies can’t even enter into the contest – the best we can hope for is a guest spot appearance during the semi-finals (see this cringe inducing intro – the song is not too bad). Somehow though, the spectacle of trashy euro-pop and over-the-top theatricals has always been a part of my life and understanding of Europe.
We were a bit overly enthusiastic with our cliche’s. Here you can see a surfboard, footy players, akubra hats and a giant kangaroo bobble head. Maybe a touch too keen!
Being a theater student in Melbourne, watching Eurovision every year was a cult-like event among our group of friends. We would stay up to ridiculous hours, host Eurovision themed parties and enjoy the drama and outrageous performances, while passing expert commentary and awarding our own votes and points to each finalist.
When I first travelled through Europe in 2008 I vividly remember watching Eurovision in a trendy hostel in Lisbon, being so thrilled to have actual Europeans watching it with me – Turkish, French, Belgian and British backpackers crammed into the one television room. This was where I learnt about the political ‘alliances’ and underlying meaning of the way countries voted. Of course the free sangria supplied during viewing meant we were especially enthusiastic about the performances.
So when Eurovision rolled around this year, I had already been primed in the history of the competition and knew the gleeful joy of watching singers perform with acrobats and fake flames in the background. I knew that winning performances were those that had an equal balance of musical talent, over the top costumes and outrageous stage antics. And I love every ridiculous thing about Eurovision.
Just a Romanian Opera singer dressed as Dracula – nothing ridiculous to see here. This was my favourite entrant in 2013!
Not at all ridiculous entry from Poland this year. All about the music.
Circular piano. Wonderfully ridiculous.
I was invited to a fellow Aussie expats place to watch the contest with Margarita’s in hand and fellow Eurovision-enthusiasts. We’d of course seen the Austrian entrant Conchita Wurst in the papers all week in the lead-up to the competition and lots of positive press was hinting she may perform well, but no one was game enough to claim that she would definitely win.
A funny thing happened when the results were being finally being revealed – for what I can safely say is the first time, I was sincerely cheering and screaming for Austria, each time Conchita was awarded a point. It became vital that my adopted country performed well – I had my first real spark of Austrian pride!
Equivalent level of my pride
Of course I’ve seen Austria win medals in the winter olympics and perform well in world skiing championships – but none of those ‘world stage’ events meant anything to me. Eurovision however, was a game I knew. I understood the high-stakes, the glory and the impact that a winning Eurovision contestant meant. So, that night, if you were in the 2nd district you probably heard a mad bunch of Aussies and Expats squealing every time another 12 points was awarded to ‘the Queen of Austria’, Conchita Wurst. We laughed, we held our breath, we may have even teared up a little bit when she was announced as the winner – and my god did we cheer for her!
Conchita winning as a bearded, cross-dressing sultry diva (with a killer tune) was the icing on the cake. Watching her genuine shock and honest acceptance speech made me miss all my LGBT, cross-dressing and theatrical friends from home – I wanted to run out to the nearest gay bar in Vienna and immediately join the wild celebrations!
The best part? Her win means that in 2015, Eurovision is coming to Austria. Whether its in Vienna or the countryside, you can bet your arse I’ll be fighting for tickets to make a lifelong dream of going to Eurovision finally come true!!
The shock and excitement of seeing Eurovision in Austria got to Conchita too…
P.S Not only are we looking forward to Eurovision next year – but I’m now a shameless Conchita fan, we saw her live in Vienna last week and she is, indeed UNSTOPPABLE!! Some home-made videos to give you an idea of just how beloved she is now to Austrians…
This is the crowd of Austrians singing along faithfully to their new Queen
The Queen herself showing us how its done!
Yes YOU! To any and every one who shared, liked, commented, followed, showed their friends, posted on Facebook or generally got excited about my post 28 Ways to be Austrian. I am so completely overwhelmed with the incredible response it got and especially pleased that so many Austrians enjoyed it! With over 200,000+ views and a brilliant comment thread to say I’m grateful would be a massive understatement. So THANK YOU ALL!!
I’m also very happy to announce that the post led to me landing a dream job with a wonderful company – Tour Radar. Unbelievable. Thank you, all you delightful blog readers out there, for being an integral part of this exciting change! I will keep you updated as the new challenges and delights of the job unfold.
For now, I’m in Melbourne reconnecting with my hometown for 10 days – so stay tuned for some Australian- based posts and photos…. until then have a Happy Monday!!
Its been a glorious few days here in Wien and I am loving the sense that the city is awakening, stretching its limbs for summer and preparing to thrive and hum in the coming months. I wanted to quickly share with you all the last few days’ exciting and inspiring moments. Defintely falling in love with the city right now….
1. This mini palace (Schloss? Palais?) I found en route to a lovely little wine and cheese bar after Deutsch class on Tuesday. I loved it because even though I see the grand architecture of the city every day, little corners of the city like this can still take me by surprise with how stunning they are, completely out of nowehere, and still useful in the modern city. Absoloutely gorgeous.
2. Walking towards the Hofburg last night down the back of the Ringstrasse…you can’t see it in this photo but I was looking at the sunset behind the Rathaus (pictured), to my right was the Burgtheatre and to my left was the Volksgarten. I was literally surrounded by history, gardens and managed to be there at the perfect time of day. A little moment but its these moments that still make me pinch myself for being here!
3. This was sitting on Heldenplatz, out the front of the Hofburg waiting for the free Symphonic Orchestra concert to start. They were holding it in celebrative memorial of 68 years freedom from the Nazi’s. It’s actually the first time the Austrian’s have ‘claimed back’ the day. It used to be an excuse for modern day Neo-Nazi’s to gather here and ‘celebrate’ but to combat that kind of negativity the city of Vienna in association with the Mathausen Trust organised a free concert in the park, and as you can see it was glorious. Happiness, beers, frankfurter stands, smiles and celebration of a ‘new’ Austria, one that is no longer a victim of Nazism, but a survivor. We lounged on the grass, a beautiful collection of Austrian, Swedish, German, Australian and Dutch expats and locals all enjoying the sunshine and stunning surrounds. Couldn’t think of a better way to commemorate freedom. The weather really turned it on as well!!
Just look at that picturesque sunset!! Unreal!!
4. Lastly our own little corner of heaven. We had a bit of an Ikea splurge recently but the results have been well worth it. This is our new setup on the back porch – cushioned corner seat, little bench for food/games/glasses of wine and a new plant setup. It gets the sun in the morning and is cosy and protected from the wind in the evening. This was our Sunday brunch, and I can’t think of a better brunch spot in all Austria!! Am I getting a bit domestic in my old age?? Surely not! But I sure as hell love a sunny Sunday brunch….
In short, this week I am absoloutely loving my Viennese life!!
Walking was something I only ever did to reach a destination, not an act in and of itself. There was always a goal to be reached, an object to achieve or somewhere else to be.
Not so in Austria. Here they walk for fun, for exercise, for the sheer joy of it……
With landscape like this not 20 minutes outside of the city centre, I can”t really fault them!
I was feeling a little worse for wear on Sunday, due to a surprise party the evening before that ended in the trashiest of all places – Bettle Alm. But that”s another post. Suffice to say Sunday was a bit bleary, and despite my protestations we dragged ourselves outside to walk off the pain. Dammned if it didn’t work too!
Once I stopped looking for the “point of walking” I realised I was actually enjoying myself. And maybe, that’s what I need to do a little bit more of these days – stop looking for the goal, the point, the ultimate aim, and start enjoying what”s right in front of me. The simple pleasure of walking, for no reason at all.
One thing I have definitely noticed from the Austrian’s, and am trying to add into my psyche is their joy of outside, their lack of definition by work. Everything in life here is built around your life outside of work, spending time with your family and enjoying your everyday life. Simple, effective. Look how much this lot are enjoying it! Er, you may have to do some extreme zooming….
Double points if you can spot the nudie rudie’s….but I”ll be discussing that particular inclination next post!!
My new aim? Walk more, to enjoy what’s happening around me here and now. So simple. So easy to forget.
Like clockwork of course, the minute I pledge to write weekly, our internet up and dies for a good few weeks. Part of our personal financial crisis but also mostly part of ridiculous service by our internet provide. Thus, we were thrust into a home of no wifi. Only when its gone do you realise your dependancy.
I tried to deny it for the first two days, pretending I was enjoying “being disconnected” and really soaking up the joys of having “more time to ourselves”. Truth? Once the weekend was done, it just got annoying and I became a surreptitious internet rat at work, feeding on morsels I could sneak while no-one was standing behind my desk. I’ll admit it, I’m a Facebook dependant – I won”t say addict, because I survive with just a morning and evening fix, but realistically its my main source of news, gossip and connection with home. Being overseas gives me a good excuse anyway! So this is just a quick update to apologise for breaking a pledge to write more and to let you know the next few days we’ll be playing catch up with photo’s, stories and more thoughts on life in Wien as an expat. The good news is, the sun is here, FINALLY and I cannot wait to get cracking with summer fun!!
Meanwhile a few old summer photo’s to build the anticipation of the glory of a European Summer!! This is what it means to me….cannot wait!!
View over Mondsee Lake – our favourite stop en route to Tirol
Sunset in Crete
Cliff bars in Croatia