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French and Russian undergraduate student, trying my hand at the real world.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Part Four of the Cultural Observations series: The Austrians

From Venice we went to Vienna, on possibly the hottest overnight train I have experienced. (Though my train from Moscow to Kazan is not one I would undertake again without at least a gallon of water!).

I couldn't wait to go to Austria again. My family have had a long standing relationship with the country, since my mother spent a month there as a teenager to improve her German and in so doing developed a keen love for apricots, leberkasesemmel and all things in between. I'd not been to Vienna, only to Salzburg, but this was my third time in the country.

We must establish first of all that the Austrians are some of the most kind and hospitable people I have ever come across. Nothing is too much trouble for them; they are genuine, thoughtful and immensely easy going. They are also blessed  with the same sense of efficiency as the Germans and Swiss, but I have found them to be rather more personable. I found the Swiss to be a little too efficient, at the expense of other social skills. For example, in our Swiss hostel, we were requested to take our shoes off at the door, the owner was rather austere and formal and we found others to be rather unfriendly. Not in Austria though. Our hostel owners in both Vienna and Salzburg were immensely warm.

Austrians also make the best goulash. "Everyone in Austria has a Hungarian relative", apparently. It was a pleasure to have been able to share something that my family has held onto for so long with my companion. I cannot wait to come back for a fourth time, frankly. 

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