So in less than a week now my program is ending and I will be saying goodbye to Vienna and all of the wonderful friends I have made here. It is amazing how impactful a place can be on a person’s life! I love this city and this country so much, and it is going to be so hard to say “auf Wiedersehen” to it! The people in a city are one of the things that make it great, so as a final post I have compiled a list of fun facts and observations I have made throughout the semester of the Viennese. The Viennese are some very interesting people in their habits and mannerisms.
1. Grüß Gott! – Don’t dare walk into a store without greeting the workers, the cashier, the store in general, the small child in the corner, the old lady stealing your spot in line, the juicer and pretty much anyone else in the store with this phrase! Now this might be a bit of an exaggeration, but “Grüß Gott” is probably the most heard phrase in Vienna.
2. Dogs! – The Viennese LOVE their dogs, and they do not discriminate! You see all sorts of dogs EVERYWHERE! Big dogs on the U-Bahn, small dogs in the grocery store, shaggy dogs walking down Kärnter Straße, tiny dogs in purses, they are everywhere!
3. PEZ! – The amazing Pez candy was invented in Vienna! Supposedly they were originally sold in a tin and then the dispenser was later designed to have a similar feel to a lighter and the Pez candy was marketed to be an alternative to smoking to help smokers quit. Crazy right?!
4. Efficient! – the Viennese are very efficient people when it comes to getting around. The public transportation is amazing here (and is probably one of the things I am going to miss the most!) From the well-planned U-bahn and Strassenbahn system to the unspoken rule of standing on the right side of the escalator, walking on the left side, these people know how to get around!
5. Wiener Schnitzel – It honestly is like a grown-up chicken nugget, but damn that Schnitzel is good! The Viennese are very proud of their Wiener Schnitzel and one can find it on just about every menu!
6. The M Foods! – That is Mohn and Marille! Mohn is the German word for poppy seed and Marille is apricot. These two flavors are everywhere and are SO good! The best cake I have had all semester was a Mohn and apple cake and was amazing! And by far my favorite Eis (aka ice cream) flavor is Marille!
7. Scooters! – Similar to dogs, they are EVERYWHERE! And everyone uses them! You see little kids on scooters, teenage girls on scooters, old men, it is so weird. Now, don’t get me wrong, I was very fond of my scooter…when I was 9! I will never forget the day at my internship when my boss told me he was running an errand and the next thing I see is him riding down the office hallway on a scooter.
8. Cafés – I mentioned earlier in another blog post the importance of cafes in Vienna, but seriously, they are big! You cannot got to Vienna without going to one of the hundreds of cafes they have here. There are so many different types. I really like the old traditional ones, but there are also some really fun, more modern ones. I am really going to miss the café culture here and being able to just walk into a café, sit down, and stay there for literally hours!
9. Grumpy! – So there is a stereotype that the Viennese are quiet, grumpy people. This is not a stereotype, it is true. Of course, I have encountered some lovely and happy Viennese people in my time here, but in general when you are just walking down the street, the Viennese are not very smiley people. They do not smile at or initiate conversation with strangers, which makes the U-bahn one of the quietest metro systems in the world!
10. Relaxation! – The Viennese know how to enjoy themselves! My German professor actually told us once that Americans do not know how to relax, and it is true! We could take a lesson from the Viennese. Whether it be just sitting in a bench in Stadtpark watching the ducks, drinking coffee in a café, or strolling along the Danube, the Viennese know how to enjoy their free time and relax!
Well, with that I say farewell to my lovely Wien and the crazy, amazing people in this city. After my program ends I am going to travel around for a couple weeks with family in Croatia and Slovenia and then it is back to Homer for this Alaskan. This semester has been more than I could have hoped for and I am so blessed to have been given the opportunity to go abroad and experience so much and meet so many fantastic people!