Impressions of Austria

Schonnbrun Palace

At Schonnbrun Palace

The first country in Europe that we’re traveling through is Austria.  Here are some things we find interesting about Austria.  Because it’s our first foray into Europe, we can’t be sure whether these items are unique to Austria or more common throughout the continent.

  • Among other things, Austriais famous for apple strudel, Weiner Schnitzel, and The Sound of Music.
  • Austria is the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Sigmund Freud, Hitler (not from Germay), and The ex-Governator (Arnold Schwarzenegger).
  • Austria is a small, land-locked country with many neighbours.  Clockwise from the North these are Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein.  Having so many neighbours is a foreign concept to Canadians where we have enough challenges with the United States (and Quebec).
  • Most Austrians speak a dialect of German.  They all learn high German in school.  Most people, especially the younger generation, also speak some English.
  • Austrians are very fond of the mountains and mountain culture.  There are channels on television here showing continuous live video from the mountaintops.  In Austria, great mountain climbers are national heroes (unlike in Canada– can you name one famous Canadian climber?)
  • The DJ’s on radio and music television stations speak German, but most of the pop music and videos are of the same English-speaking artists popular in North America (e.g. Lady Gaga)
  • Some Austrians still wear traditional clothing (envision Captain Von Trapp and Maria in The  Sound of Music).  We’ve seen a few men wearing felt hats, capes, and/or lederhosen, and women wearing long aproned skirts.
  • In comparison to Canada, virtually everything in Austria is old. 
  • Austrians love to eat bread, most of which is dark, heavy, and a bit tough.
  • Accommodations are expensive in Austria.  A double room in a hostel (not hotel) costs about $100 Canadian.  Dorm beds are about $30 per person.   Gas costs about 50% more than in Vancouver.  However, food in restaurants and grocery stores costs about the same as in Canada.
  • Austrians have a laid back attitude about alcohol.  Even hard liquor is sold in grocery stores.  To our delight, beer and wine sold in stores is considerably cheaper than in Canada.  Bottles of acceptable wine can be purchased starting at $1.50 Canadian (that’s not a typo!), and 500 ml cans of beer are about the same price.
  • Everything in Austria seems picturesque and very well maintained.  The churches, buildings, homes, parks, and even the farmland look pristine.
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5 Responses to Impressions of Austria

  1. Lucy says:

    Sounds awesome, can’t wait til we get there!! Did you camp there?

    • Yes, we camped on the outskirts of Vienna, in the Lake Region of Salzkammergut, and somewhere random in the Austrian countryside. Private campsites are well organized with impressive and clean facilities, but they tend to be open fields lacking in character (very different than the provincial or federal park campgrounds in British Columbia). We intend to continue camping throughout our journey everywhere it is possible.

  2. Karen says:

    My husband and I travel to that area often. Germany and Switzerland are very similar to your descriptions as well.

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