🇦🇹 The Alpine Country I

Part II on Austria is out now!

According to Julie Andrews, the hills are alive with the sound of music in this Alpine country. Hitting the slopes in the Alps in winter (and après-skiing until the evening), hiking the mountains in summer – there are plenty of activities to do on the mountains. Not to forget the stereotype everybody has of Austria: yodelling 😀 But that is not at all Austria’s treasure: the history and culture is.

The red-white-red stripped country once ruled over a large part of Europe as a Austro-Hungarian double monarchy. The reign ended after the First World War. But there are still cities – such as Vienna – which remind one of the former Imperial power and glory. On your left you can see grand palaces, on your right wide avenues. You might find yourself wondering ‘Is Empress Sisi going to stroll down this street now?’ or you might be keeping your eyes open for the white curls of Mozart, asking you do dance the waltz with him (The more you travel into the east of Austria, the more you will get this feeling.) Vorarlberg, the state in the west of Austria, is very famous for innovation and especially architecture.

The streets of Vienna are paved with culture, the streets of other cities with asphalt

As you can see, Austria is a very diverse country, just waiting to be explored. As I sat down and started writing this post, I searched for other travel bloggers who have been to Austria – surprisingly, I could only find very few. So you have got a head start – go! 😉

In nearly every Austrian city you can find a square with a fountain and mark it as the city centre. That is also where a lot of locals hang, having a drink in a café. The locals are very friendly and frankly, quite straightforward as well. But that is actually a character trait I appreciate and like very much about them. And combined with their unusual and eccentric dialect, I cannot help but be happy when talking to Austrians.

Dornbirn, Vorarlberg

This nation of Edelweis, which is the nation’s flower, is a peaceful country. Tourists can travel there without any doubts and a constant feeling of safety. There have not been any bombings, major racial issues or anything else. Whenever I travel through my country (I am Austrian), I never encounter any problems. The great majority can also speak English. You should know though that Austria consists of many small towns and few larger cities being an exception, so you will probably meet nicer and more open-minded people in urban areas than in rural areas. Yet, that is the case all over the world.

The country is priced similar to Germany and France. A nice hotel room can quickly cost around 80€ per night in the low season. Nevertheless, European standard is very high, so booking a room in a hostel or an AirBnB is a good alternative – you will not end up in a shabby place 😉

Transportation is very good. A train from Vienna to Innsbruck, which is basically from the one end to the other end of the 83.878 km² large country only takes 4 hours but costs 70€. But if you book e.g. a month in advance, it only costs you 30€. Another good option, which takes longer but is cheaper, is traveling by bus. FlixBus is well connected throughout all Europe. A trip from Vienna to Innsbruck takes about 10 hours but is priced at about 40€. Again, booked in advance the trip would only cost you 30€.  -> TIPP: Always try to book transportation in advance!

Courtyards like these can be found in nearly every town; Hohenems, Vorarlberg

What I so love about Austria is that the country and its inhabitants do represent the high European standard: punctuality, honesty, conscientiousness,… but it still is more relaxed than Germany for example. Many people think that Germany and Austria are basically the same, but to me they are two absolutely different countries. In Austria, you can sit in a coffee-shop or stroll through the streets and settle, let your mind steady and you can take your time. It is not hectic. And the locals represent this too. They have a vibe which immediately slows down your pace (in a good way, they live in the present) and in my eyes, Austrians are quite classy as well. Their fashion style makes my heart beat faster every single time.

Ohhhhh and the food! They pretty much have everything: from local dishes to Chinese to Mexican ( as everywhere on the world and depending in which town you are). But there are a few dishes which come from Austria and are world famous: the Sacher Torte (a cake) is delicious. You must also try Spätzle (noodles), which can also be made with cheese, and obviously an Apfelstrudel (apfel = apple). I will not explain what it is, just try it and love it 🙂

‘Seebühne’ in Bregenz, Vorarlberg – you can see operas here in summer!

What are your impressions on Austria? Similar or completely different? I would be enjoying to hear about them 🙂

Tipping:

  • Restaurants: 5-10%
  • Taxi: 10% or round up
  • Guides/Staff: 1-2€

Do’s:

  • Be on time. Austrians highly value punctuality.
  • Greet others with a firm handshake. You will not get surprised by a kiss on the cheeks like in France.
  • Women should expect to get their hand kissed by an Austrian man as a formal greeting.

Dont’s:

  • Don’t give to much public affection or shower a woman/ man with compliments. Austrians are quite  reserved regarding these kinds of affections.
  • Shorts (both genders) are not considered appropriate city attire.
  • Always stay nice and calm, you should not get mad at waiters etc. for maybe taking their time. Your traveling, and Austrians are easy – calm down and enjoy where you are 😍

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