I’ve spent the past three days in two cities (Salzburg & Innsbruck) and I ~think~ I picked up on a few things! I’m nowhere near “fluent” when it comes to Austrian culture, but as an American, here are some things I noticed/couldn’t figure out while on this European vacation before moving into school in Italy!
1. Where’s the Wifi??
As someone who went to school in Boston for the past three years, I’m very used to there being Wifi everywhere. Here, I’m struggling. Like a lot. If you’ve read my Travel Tips blog post, you’ll know that I actually had to rewrite that about five times because I kept losing it due to a bad connection.
This picture above is actually from a coffee shop in St. Wolfgang. Note that this is in English – they definitely know we’re semi-addicted to our phones. Whoops!
Sometimes there is free Wifi, which is great, but it’s usually called WLAN. WLAN who? Who is she?
2. Square Obsession
Note sure why, but everything here IS SHAPED LIKE A SQUARE. As in: toilet flushers or their panels (is there an actual term for this??), light switches (is it even a switch or just a button?), etc.
The only thing here that isn’t square is their outlets. The plugs are circular and sometimes look really intricate and confusing:
Like?? How many are you supposed to fit in here…?
If you know me IRL, you’ll know that I pretty much don’t drink anything unless there’s a straw involved. Part of it is because it reminds me of my sweet childhood, and the other part is that I’m usually wearing lipstick and that preserves my lipstick so much better. I’m committed to my craft.
In the US, you pretty much get straws automatically, and if you don’t get one, you can always ask for one because the servers have them in their nifty little fanny-pack-things that I don’t know the name for. Aprons, probably.
Here I’m afraid to ask because I never see them in any pockets AND I never see anybody else with them! Do they exist here?? I’m scared. It’s starting to feel cold all of a sudden.
4. Minerals = Good
Another thing I noticed is that they love their mineral water here. Every bottle seems to have some kind of mineral in it, which I think is good, because maybe it’ll make me stronger?? We’ll find out.
Also – water here isn’t free like it is in the US because they automatically give you bottled water (not sure if tap water is a thing here yet – tbd).
They also seem to be obsessed with sparkling water (or “gas” water). When you ask for water, they always ask “still” or “sparkling,” whereas I’m used to specifically asking for sparkling in the US if I ever order it. Which I don’t. Sparkling water is disgusting. It’s the Devil’s drink.
5. Ketchup Charge
When we went to a restaurant today and asked for ketchup we were *gasp* charged for it!! Ketchup packets are given out in abundance in the US, yet here, they’re safeguarded like some kind of national treasure.
I’m not ketchup-obsessed, so maybe I can go without ketchup while I’m here. Or maybe I’ll smuggle a bottle in my suitcase if I ever return to the US. Along with 10 boxes of straws. I’m really missing my straws.
This could also just be certain restaurants and not a blanket thing. This was the only restaurant we went to where we asked for ketchup because we were eating burgers. Maybe the ~swankier~ restaurants don’t charge for ketchup because they’re already charging for the ambiance.
…And those are the 5 things I learned so far. Of course, everything I say is in jest, and I’ve only been here for three days, so I’m not exactly the next UN representative for Austria.
PS: If you want to stay up-to-date on my travels, I’ll be posting vlogs on my YouTube channel, so make sure to follow me there! I’ve recorded edited a few, but I need to wait until I get a good enough connection otherwise it’ll take like 11 hours to upload!
*Also published on My Trending Stories