Adventuring in Austria – Rimjhim Sayana

Travelling to different countries, you see unique things. This is definitely true for my trip to Austria, which, at the time of writing this at least, I am currently on! Instead of the usual ‘Things to see in Austria’ though, I am listing down 5 facts about the stunning European country that I found unique and interesting.

1. SCOOTYYYYY

The dude in the foreground looks really happy.

It can be assumed that the most common method of transport in Austria is actually a cycle. You see all sorts of people– kids, teens, adults and even seniors– riding a cycle!

Don’t be surprised if you’re nearly run over by someone’s grandma on a cycle or segway.

Yeah, people also use Segways and ‘Scooty’s. (The ones we used as kids, remember? Keeping one foot on the scooter and using the other to speed up by pushing the ground.)

Yeah, I saw a business woman go to her office on that.

Scooty-ing in heels? Respect.

In fact, if you go around Vienna, you will find loads of stops where you can rent out a bike for an hour for just one euro!

It was great. There are cycle paths everywhere and you can easily tour around without the Indian fear-of-getting-run-over™. Just watch where you’re going otherwise you might, like me, nearly crash into the glass doors of Forever 21.

2. THE HILLS ARE ALIVE

Poster for ‘The Sound of Music’. Dudette (sorry) in the foreground looks really happy.

If you don’t love the film ‘The Sound of Music’ and if you aren’t absolutely in love with Julie Andrews (Queen), then I fail to even recognize you.

‘The Sound of Music’ was based on a real-life story about a singing family called the Von Trapps.

While some aspects of the true story were altered to make the film more dramatic, the basic structure stayed the same. Captain Von Trapp, a widower had 7 kids and Maria, who was a teacher at the abbey, was sent as a governess to look after them.

Yes, the sisters didn’t quite find the real Maria as an asset to the abbey either.

Salzburg, an Austrian city on the border of Germany, was the location for over two dozen scenes in the film.

Remember the scene where Liesel, played by Charmian Carr, sings ‘Sixteen going on Seventeen’ at the pavilion? That pavilion is here! After the filming was over, they gifted the pavilion to Salzburg.

In fact, Salzburg has ‘The Original Sound of Music Tour’ where they take you to some of the filming locations.

The lake where they fell in while on a boat? That’s here.

The church where the filming of the wedding took place is here; they even show the church where the real Maria got married. Only from outside, though. This was the same church where the sisters sing about how troublesome they find Maria, in the movie, “She’s always late for everything, except for every meal.”

“How do you find a word that means Mariaaaaaa? A flibittygibbit? A will-of-a-wisp? A CLOWN!”

If you like the movie, you’ll surely enjoy this.

3. DOGS

Who’s a good boy? You are!”

The absolute best thing about Austria is the DOGS!!!!

THE ADORABLE ANIMALS ARE EVERYWHERE BECAUSE YOU CAN TAKE THEM EVERYWHERE!!

Going for a WALK? TAKE THE DOG.

Going to the JOB? TAKE THE DOG.

Going on a BUS? TAKE THE DOG.

Going on the TRAIN? TAKE THE DOG.

YES! You can take your dog ON THE TRAIN AND BUS AND EVEN IN SOME SHOPS!

4. UBER-ING

Uber.

Well, a few things about Uber in Austria:

Uber is available in Vienna. In cities like Salzburg, however, it’s not available because for driving an Uber, you don’t need to register; absolutely anyone can be an Uber driver. This did not sit well with the cab companies and so, Uber wasn’t able to operate except in Vienna.

Also, if you order an Uber in Vienna, chances of it being a BMW or a Mercedes is exceedingly high.

Three times we booked an Uber and well, let’s just say that we weren’t disappointed. If the owner of that red ’67 Chevy decided to join Uber…now wouldn’t that be a sweet drive?

While all drivers may or may not speak English, some of them may be very friendly:

Uber driver 1: Didn’t speak English

Uber driver 2: Long conversation about capitalism and is somehow convinced that he should come live in India.

Uber driver 3: Nearly got arrested for skipping light, forgot the official papers… found them(?) And got off with a ticket.

5. DESSERT AND SCENERY

Tiramisu. Please send some to us, Rimjhim.

Look, even if you don’t have a sweet tooth, if you ever travel to Austria, you simply have to eat the desserts here.

Ice creams, Tiramisu, Sachertorte (a type of cake), Kaiser Schmarrn, muffins, the ever famous apple strudel and so many more savory delights will leave your mouth pleased yet wanting for more. The palaces and museums may get mundane, but the view will never cease to amaze you. Why not enjoy some dessert with the view?

6. BONUS

For those of you who are still looking for the ‘Things to see….’, here are a few notable mentions:

Salt mines: Underground and inside a mountain.

Prettier than expected for a salt mine.

Here they show you how rock salt is extracted. You journey inside by a train in a narrow tunnel. Taking you from there to even lower levels are…slides! There’s even a boat which takes you across a water-filled cave, and you get to taste the water full of salt.

And then, up you go back via a funicular!

It’s beautiful down there and the experience is worth it.

City Cruise and Giant Ferris Wheel: Both the Cruise and the Ferris Wheel give you a nice look around at the city. Nice breeze and relaxing.

Museums and Palaces are great, but you must keep enough time for all. While some take 3 hours + others will take around an hour.

So the next time you long for a European adventure, plan one in the birthplace of Mozart and Freud– Austria!

~Rimjhim Sayana, Amity International School, Noida

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