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Fashion show in EuroVillage

We had a chance today to see the opening ceremony of the Eurovision Village at the City Hall Square with a unique show idea FASHION FOR EUROPE. The idea is about designers and brands from many different participating countries building bridges through fashion.

In total it took 1.5 hours to present 14 brand: Agnesa Vuyhaj (Albania), Sinoian (Armenia), Lena Hoschek (Austria), Fakhriya Khalafova (Azerbaijan), Bernard Depoorrter (Belgium), Ivana Helsinki (Finland), Atelier Michalsky (Germany), Galia Lahav (Israel), Calzedonia (Italy), Daili (Lithuania), Sanja Matijevic (Montenegro), Blessus by Michael Hekmat (Poland), Adelina Ivan (Romania), Julian Zigerli (Switzerland).

Trip to a Palace

Before arriving to Vienna I booked a tour to a Schloss Hof castle and afterwords to wine tasting to a local winery. So, our trip started today at 9.30 am not far from our flat in Vienna. We were also joined by delegations from Latvia and Czech Republic (Marta only). It took us approximately 40 min to get to the palace as it is situated out of the city.

The total area of the property is about 50 hectares and it's absolutely amazing! It is green, quiet and very beautiful. We were welcomed by the management to nice ladies dressed is medieval dresses. And they actually were our guides throughout the whole journey in the palace. We visited the most of the rooms (dining room, playroom and the owner's bedrooms). We've been to the chapel and inner gardens. The views, landscapes are very relaxing and you can even see Bratislava clearly. A lovely tree course lunch was served, both for vegetarians and non-vegetarians.

Later on were drove to the winery where we met welcoming hosts - a Netzl family. We were offered a small tour around all the cellars and after that an 8 wine type tasting. We started with the whites and rose and continued with the reds. Each of the wines were supported by explanations of how it is produced and properly served. At the end we could buy a wine up to our tastes.

It is an unforgettable experience and I'm thankful to the Free Trips for such a joy.

Red Carpet Impressions

Hello there! We've just came back from the Red Carpet Opening Ceremony in the Euirovision. It was my first experience and I'm full of emotions. It all started at 7 pm but we arrived there in advance - at 5.50 pm to book a vacant place for press to shoot better pictures and to take small interviews while all the contestants are walking along the red carpet.

I always thought that it's a matter of 20-30 min max but it all took about 2.5 hours. We were tired, hungry and thirsty. And we couldn't move or leave our places otherwise somebody else could occupy them. It all was about the outfits and accessories so Mike was mostly asking fashion questions. Conchita Wurst was the first on the Carpet; it's my first time that I saw her in person. I didn't expect her to be that graceful and airy in her spotted grey dress.

All the participants were designer dressed with an evening make up and all of them were very beautiful. Most of all I like the outfits from Poland, Australia, Spain, Russia, Greece, Iceland, Belgium, Norway and Latvia.
It’s this sort of event that neither the contestants nor I will ever forget, so we took a lot of photos and videos so you can imagine you were there with us. Enjoy!

Austria as seen by Keith Mills


The Makemakes who will carry the home country’s hopes next Saturday night are the second in today’s rehearsal running order. A very low-key beginning of just the singer/pianist in a purple & blue silhouette before the band are finally shown when the chorus kicks in. No stage props or dramatic backdrops here, although there is a lovely overhead shot where the stage goes to a flaming inferno, to break up a rather monotonous performances. The band members look a little bored at times and while this is a lovely song, I can’t help feeling it would have been better positioned in a contest from the late 1960s or early 1970s. This isn’t going to trouble the Top 10 next Saturday night although I think juries might save it from being bottom five.

For the last run-through a fire appears in the body of the piano and it looked like it got slightly out of control. I'm not sure that's a good idea to be honest.

Austria First Rehearsal: The Makemakes - I Am Yours

The host of this year's country, Austria is up next and they also have a very solid first rehearsal.

When the song starts, the camera is slowly zooming towards Dodo, the Makemakes front leader, who's sitting behind his piano. At this point, the staging is very dark but lightens up with white beams surrounding the stage when the chorus kicks in.

The rest of the song is pretty much in a blue colour, although in the bridge we see the floor turn into flames. At that point, Dodo's standing up from his paino and walking to the front of the stage. Unlike in the nationaln final, Dodo's piano isn't set on fire. Perhaps they are saving that for the dress rehearsals.

Vocally it's very adequately sung, so nothing really to pinpoint there. A very solid home entry for Austria. Completely different from what Conchita offered last year, so a little unsure how that will reflect in the voting.

Austria- First Rehearsal

CostasP on Sun, 05/17/2015 - 09:39

The Austrians have a good staging for their own entry.It's not that different from their National Final performance.The lead singer wears a hat and a jacket on the piano and nails the vocals.At the end he stands up and walks to the front. The backdrop just like many performances this year is dark black-blue and turns brighter to red towards the end.There's a nice camera shot from above with the floor creating a orange-red sun/flames. I think this performance works, it all depends on the song's appeal to the juries and viewers now.

Austria first rehearsal on stage....

Ok so this is effectively exactly as we have all seen them perform before, nothing else to add....BUT

These are rockets and a bit grungy, dress them in jeans and t-shirts, nit a stylised white dinner jacket....at least he has a rocker hat on....

Stark contrast to Conchita last year, from Austria this year, but not sure how this will do in the end!

EuroWies'n Night at Belvedere Complex

What a nice evening we spent with Samira at Eurowies’n Night today at Belvedere Palace. The Belvedere is a historic building complex in Vienna, consisting of two Baroque palaces, the Orangery, and the Palace Stables. The buildings are set in a Baroque park landscape and it houses the Belvedere museum now.

How did we get to know about it? We received invitations from our press bags stating that we need to be dressed up “beautiful, colourful, traditional”. Unfortunately we were not aware of this beforehand to bring at least some traditional accessories with ourselves from our countries. We thought that everyone will follow our thoughts so there will be no one wearing national costumes. But we were surprised, people took a lot of care and attention about this night. Most of the invited were dressed up “properly”.

By the way, at the entrance we were given two vouchers for free drinks each and a flute of proseco. We realized that they were giving a lot of drinks for free until they finish with them. After that we could use our vouchers for soft drinks and spirits.

It all started with the speech of the organizers of the event and the management of the Belvedere complex. The views of the area are amazingly beautiful. After a while, we met Bojana (Serbia), she was very open to public, taking picture and explaining the meaning of her traditional dress. The dress is a fusion of the southern and northern part of Serbia, but the shoes she’s wearing are very traditional in each part of the country.

From EuroParty, May 14

All of a sudden girls and boys started serving food to everyone. They served traditional food from each country (40 different dishes – starters, mains and deserts). We had Salmon cake from Norway, Prawns with egg from Denmark, Melon yoghurt salad from Cyprus, Chocolate kiss from Slovenia, Banana cake from Australia and many many many more! I don’t have that much time to describe the variety of foods that was offered.

At the same time music started. Traditional Austrian music. No, wait! It’s the Eurovision songs of this year sang the Austrian way with an ascent. Powerkryner was very energetic, very enthusiastic and full of life. The dancers – 6 girls are just awesome, they could dance and entertain public till morning I think. We found out that this band won an award in traditional Austrian contest as the best traditional band in Vienna last year.

Later on we met with some other participants from Moldova (Eduard Romanyta) and from Romania (Voltaj). They all were wearing their national costumes, and we received a gift from Eduard (a CD with Eurovision song + remix and 6 other songs).

From EuroParty, May 14

I think we are very lucky to visit such an event. We spent the time the best way ever with even some practical use – we got to know and taste a lot of traditional dishes. And you have to! Here’s the menu of today’s evening!

From EuroParty, May 14

Thank you very much wienerwiesnfest.at for this event!

Jam night at Albertina Passage

Samira and I just returned from the Eurovision jam night – tired and satisfied. The party took place in Albertina Passage in the city centre just next to the Opera. We met a lot of people without accreditation badges, and it’s not a surprise – fans are allowed to these parties the first week.

It’s a very nice place, beautifully decorated with lots of dining tables. On a usual night I would have liked this restaurant but at party with 300 guests….I doubt it. Many tables were empty but in other areas it was fully packed and not enough air-conditioned.

Well, it all started with Maimuna (Belarus) “inviting” Uzari with her violin to come on the stage. They performed their remix very good and today you could see there was a great improvement with their eye contact. Now they look like atrue duo.

Second came Nina (Georgia) singing two songs. Her performance was impressive, full of emotions and pain.
Elhaida Dani was given a turn to perform – it was a big change comparing with the previous singer. She was very open to public, singing her favorite Eurovision song – 2012 Spain’s entry and later, her Eurovision song.
Then we got to hear from Czech Republic – two very cheerful singers who managed to make all people dance. They have a special energy coming out and spreading it to everyone.

The last performers were the two backing vocalists from Slovenia. They sang a couple of songs for us and the dj continued to play the music. When we were leaving, at about 12.30, there were still a lot of people in the club, including boys from Anti Social Media, dancing and enjoying themselves.

Evening cruise on the Danube courtesy of www.wien.info and www.ddsg-blue-danube.at

This year the host city of Vienna is providing literally hundreds of options for daily excursions to the various sights around Vienna

Last night Daniel and I were very fortunate to take one of the relaxed evening trips along the Danube river in the company of the delegations from Lithuania, Serbia, Estonia and various assembled press. All courtesy of www.ddsg-blue-danube.at

At around 7pm we all gathered on the boat with waiter service, plenty of food and some great company, and some live music from a saxophone player, mixed in with some background music, sadly not all Eurovision....

The whole trip lasted about 3 hours and at no point did the food or drink run out....always a huge plus.....

It was totally amazing to see the Danube in full for most of the journey, including going though the Danube Canal lock twice.....

Pictures and Video clip below;

Highly recommended for any visitor to Vienna, if you are here for Eurovision or not!