Monday, October 3, 2011


On your way to St. Stephen’s Cathedral from the Opera House there is a street called Johannesgasse with a great big sign indicating that, “McDonald’s is this way.” To a typical American this sign may seem not only ordinary, but extremely insignificant, as we have a plethora of run down and, at times, even disgusting McDonald’s restaurants littering the streets at home. Personally, I didn’t think anything of this place until I was told to so. This street held much more than you might think once you give it a chance.

First of all, The McDonald’s(es?) here are UH-Mazing. I’m used to white-tiled floors and 30-year-old round tables with the occasional McDonald’s character-faced chair for the little ones. You know, somewhere clean but nonetheless never a place you would consider “hanging out” in. Well I have news for you folk who have never seen a McDonald’s outside the U.S.: here they are cool. Yep, I realize this is a hard concept to grasp. But when you walk in here, you are walking into a double-decker coffee shop-esque dining experience. The seating is all trendily colored and shaped. Dark wood tables, brick-red walls, booths, high-stooled tables, fancy chairs, and a mixture of fancy curves and sharp angles. There is a special section of the restaurant designated for the “McCafe” menu items. They have the usual coffee and whatnot that you often find in the states, but the also have refrigerated glass cases adorned with fancy desserts such as devil’s food cake, cheese cake, and other fancy pastries that are more common in Europe.

There are NO trashcans. This is because they have bussers, in 100% matching outfits, to clear away the trash for you. How classy can you get? They are so classy and still have a Euro menu (which, because of the exchange is more expensive than the $ menu but still, awesome). I got a chicken burger because I needed a piece of America off this wonderful menu. When I bit into my sandwich I even had a sweet surprise: sweet and sour sauce! And what classy place doesn’t put mysterious sauces where they don’t belong? I couldn’t name one.

But the glory of Johannesgasse doesn’t stop at this chic McDonald’s. Nearly next door (with just a Kebab stand in between) dwells a Cuban Dance Club called Floridita. On Friday night one of the Austrian boys we met through church invited us to go Salsa dancing there. We already knew it would be great when we found that there was no entrance fee! You can check your bag or coat for 1 euro but other than that (as long as you don’t drink) it’s totally free! We went there pretty early (around 10:30) so nobody was plastered drunk yet and we had a great time. One of the boys with us knows his Latin dances and he helped us out a little with our moves.

I had so much fun! I’m so pleased to have discovered this free venue so early on. I’m so grateful for the Mormon boys here that can help us have good, clean, dancing fun! I will admit my ballroom experience merited me a few compliments on my hip control :)

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