A Big ‘Thank You’ from Berlin and Vienna
(Photo above: Seen, from l to r, are Armando Mendonca, AMPM & Lifestyle & Diversity columnist for Canadian Travel Press with Elizabeth Ohayon and Eric Lauzon from Air Canada.)
Air Canada, Visit Berlin and Vienna Tourist Board recently hosted a reception at Le Saloon Bistro off Ste. Catherine Street in the heart of Montreal’s “Le Village.”
Eric Lauzon, Air Canada, shared current news focusing on the seasonal service to Berlin, Germany, and inaugural launch this past summer offering convenient connections from Toronto making it Air Canada’s 44th European route. It operates four times a week on Boeing 767-300ER (Rouge) aircraft and provides another option and/or combination when travelling to Berlin and adding Vienna, Austria. The flying time from Berlin to Vienna is approximately one hour with Star Alliance partner Lufthansa Group or taking the scenic route with Rail Europe which takes about eight hours each direction.
Checking out the scene
This event was also an opportunity to give thanks to the travel industry in Montreal and surrounding areas for supporting Air Canada and tourism to the cities of Berlin and Vienna, while sharing key updates themed around LGBT and Christmas markets.
The thunder of applause when I had mentioned that Germany recently legalized same sex marriages on Oct. 1, 2017 was no surprise.
Berlin’s LGBT scene has grown over the years with four distinct areas to visit: Schöneberg – southwest from the city centre next to the city zoo; Kreuzberg – south of the river Spree, artsy, trendy and bohemian; Bergmannstraße – lively neighbourhood lined with thrift stores and fashion boutiques… cafés and restaurants offer everything from Thai cuisine to Turkish specialities; and Weinbergpark – green space in the heart of the Kiez neighbourhood where you will find a Portuguese coffee shop known as a favorite hangout – go figure.
Christmas season is upon us, and Berlin has more than 60 markets offering traditional gingerbread, decorations, mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, and so much more. Next year’s Pride festivities will take place on July 22, 2018. For more information, please visit: www.visitberlin.de/en/lgbti-gay-berlin .
Vibrant & diverse
The vibrant and diverse LGBT scene in Vienna is located within the 5th and 6th districts, close to the nearby Naschmarkt – one of the most popular and colourful of markets offering local produce, textiles, souvenirs, and a plethora of cafés/restaurants to delight your palate. There are some real cool and trendy gay bars: the Village, Felixx, the Mango Bar, Red Carpet, and infamous Café Savoy opposite the Naschmarkt.
A short walk will take you to the infamous Mariahilferstrasse shopping street and the world-renowned Museum Quartier where you can spend days visiting the Leopold Museum, Mumok – Museum of Modern Art, Kunsthalle Wien – Contemporary Art and enjoy a meal at one of the outdoor patio restaurants/cafés surrounded by cool resting lounge chairs in the centre of the quartier.
One of Europe’s, if not the world, largest HIV/AIDS fundraising events is the Life Ball celebrating 25th anniversary next year on June 2, 2018 (www.lifeplus.org/en/life-ball/ ) and also the launch of pride week from June 2 to 11, 2018.
The city of Vienna has been chosen to host Euro Pride – celebrating diversity from May 19, 2019 to June 19, 2019 and marking the 50th anniversary of Stonewall Riots of 1969 in San Francisco that started a movement. www.europride2019.at/
Vienna also celebrates this festive season with Christmas markets throughout the city and transform some of their squares into a magical winter wonderland. The Vienna City Hall market is the most popular and largest with over 150 booths offering a wide selection of decorations, handicrafts, culinary treats and warm drinks. In addition, if you have the urge to waltz, then Vienna is where you want to be with over 450 Balls taking place in the city, especially during the peak months of January and February 2018.
“Beauty and the Abyss,” as it’s being referred to, marking the 100th anniversary honouring Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Otto Wagner, and Koloman Moser. For more information, please visit: www.vienna.info .