Keys to the City: The Value of Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day Cafe Central

Café Central offers a lovely line of pastries for a sweet Valentine’s Day | Photo: Café Central

“Everybody says ‘I love you’,” as Woody Allen said so well, and never more than on 14 February. But does love need a holiday? The term “love” has occupied poets, artists and philosophers since the beginning of time. The feeling has forged alliances, toppled empires, and “launched a thousand ships”; it even grants super-human strength.

To St. Augustine, it was the affection for God, and to Goethe, his undying passion for women (See also “Let’s Talk About Love”, p.7). Today, St. Valentine – martyred in the 3rd century for performing forbidden weddings – would likely be an activist for same-sex marriage.

So for all you cynics out there, this is not just a day for those with a significant other, but a celebration of the Right to Love.

Nevertheless, Viennese businesses happily report more love-related spending, grossing €22 million in Valentine’s revenue in 2012. For all those lovers looking for the perfect present, these local aphrodisiacs will get those love juices flowing.

For a glam V-day, the Romantic Crystal Dinner is a three-course menu in your own private car on the Giant Ferris Wheel (Riesenrad). But celebrating love doesn’t have to be expensive. Thanks to the City of Vienna, market shoppers at Biofreyung, Vorgartenmarkt, Karmelitermarkt, Victor-Adlermarkt, Meidlingermarkt, Brunnenmarkt, Hannovermarkt and Floridsdorfermarkt can pick up a flower for free on 11 February. By the 14th, it may have wilted, but a reservation at Dinner-in-the-Dark (www.noirvienna.at) will hide the drooping petals, and besides, it’s the thought that counts.

Love is always a gamble, but taking risks together is what partnership is all about – especially at Casinos Austria. The Dinner & Casino Night Package includes a four-course menu, chips for €25, and an overnight stay with breakfast, just upstairs.

But the holiday falls at an impractical time for food, when many are still fighting off their Christmas kilos. Alternatively, a visit to Therme Wien (www.thermewien.at), where relaxing saunas and the “love-lagoon” (Liebesbecken) are just the ticket to feeling light and cosy with a loved one.

Valentine’s Day can be tough on Vienna’s singles, who sometimes suffer from VDS (Valentine Deficiency Syndrome). The antidote: City Speed Dating (www.cityspeeddating.at), easily squeezed into a tight schedule before the day in question. And if it’s divine amour you’re looking for, the Archdiocese of Vienna (www.erzdioezese-wien.at) invites the lovelorn to a “Rendezvous with God”, and look for the Valentine Couriers, distributing “Love letters from God” on 14 February.

Instead of sulking, singles can follow London’s example. Last year, citizens started an Anti-Valentine’s Day movement, with games like “Blind Hate” and “Speed Hating” to let out their frustrations. “Blind Hate” involves shouting at a person you don’t know for a few minutes, and “speed hating”… well, a faster version of the same.

For Vienna’s Valentine’s and Anti-Valentine’s Day Parties, see Events, p. 25 of the Feb 2013 TVR. See also “Vienna for Valentines” in Feb 2011 TVR.

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