Lüften, Hofer and the Heat in Vienna — Photo of the Day

Lüften, Hofer and the Heat in Vienna — Photo of the Day

Yes, this is a photograph of the yogurt and dessert section at Hofer, one of Austria’s most popular supermarkets. And why am I showing you this as my photo of the day?

Because I just spent over 15 minutes standing in front of this display of delicious looking desserts, not because I wanted to buy anything, but because the freezer section of a Hofer supermarket is literally one of the few cool places in Vienna right now.

And that is because the temperature in Austria’s capital city is currently 98°F, or 36.6°C, and it’s projected to hit over 100 °F by the end of the day.

Unfortunately, Vienna is not set up for hot weather and neither are the Viennese. Partially due to the lack of air conditioning, as it does not exist in Vienna except for museums, a few of the larger stores and some hotels.

Don’t believe me? Try finding a cafe with air conditioning in Vienna when it’s 100 degrees outside.

Good luck.

Because I spent half of my day yesterday trying to find one with zero success. (And don’t mention the book store chain Thalia. I was in its Mariahilferstrasse store yesterday and its so-called air conditioning caused temperatures to be hotter inside than out).

I even did a search when I arrived home a hot, sweaty and frankly pissed off mess, just to see if there were any air conditioned cafes in Vienna I don’t know about (there aren’t).

This, by the way, is what someone on Quora had to say about the lack of air conditioning in Vienna cafes.

I particularly enjoyed his comment about the Starbucks on Mariahilferstrasse, which technically should have air conditioning. After all, it is an American company and one thing Americans do understand is air conditioning.

But, as the Viennese have this strange thing called ‘Lüften‘, which literally means ‘to expose something to the circulation of fresh air’ — that means even if there is air conditioning they open the doors and windows anyway because they believe outside air is better than inside air, thus defeating the objective of having air conditioning in the first place.

As the Quora writer commented about the Starbucks, “Unfortunately, the shop is also located in Austria”.

And my moral to this story?

There isn’t one really. Except to say if you have a problem with extremely hot weather and the inability to find anywhere to cool down, Vienna is the last place you should be visiting in August.

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