Even though I’m born and bred in Australia and actually never had any desire to live elsewhere, looking back now it seems that there are a number of signs that were always pointing me toward Austria…
I can ski
It’s not an overly common Australian pastime, but I caught the skiing bug quite early (Dad used to take us cross-country when we were young) and as a result I’ve had plenty of skiing experience in Australia and New Zealand over the years. I was very pleased to be told on the slopes that: “You drive [ski] very well for an Australian.”
I love Milka
The times I’d visited Europe prior to moving here had me seriously addicted to Milka. And I don’t even like chocolate that much! Even though Milka originated in Switzerland it is now produced very close to the border, in Austria, so I think I can claim it!
I can’t surf
And I don’t have any desire to, so I guess it’s lucky I moved away from Australia, considering whenever I was travelling I was constantly told I was un-Australian for my inability to surf.
Strudel was always my favourite dessert
I’m a fruity-dessert kind-of-person, and at the top of my list has always been apple strudel… which is conveniently Austrian.
Apples are my favourite fruit
And on the topic of apples, Austria is prime apple country, so obviously I am very happy here. In apple season (which I also call strudel season), the trees are full to bursting with different varieties of apples – from the ones you eat, to the ones you drink (cider apples).
I grew up as a certified band geek – piano and violin at age 10, followed by flute and clarinet, the latter of which I continued to play until I was 25 in community concert band. Apart from the obvious connections to Mozart and other famous composers, Austrian culture and tradition is firmly rooted in music… and at least music is a language I can understand!
I’m happy nude
They say Austrians are a conservative bunch, but not when it comes to being nude. I’m not saying that I (or anyone else) prance around naked, but in general, Europeans just seem to understand that seeing other people in the nude is… well to be frank… quite boring. For me, it’s liberating to sit shoulder-to-shoulder with a bunch of naked and completely uninterested strangers in a hot sauna, followed by a casual stroll to the outdoor plunge pool. I’m comfortable in my birthday suit, so I fit in here!
I love soup
Austrians are mad about soup. Even on 35 degree days I’ve seen them hoeing gustily into a steaming, hot bowl, just because… well cause that’s what they do! I have always loved soup. My standard lunch at work now is soup and salad… and damn they make good soup… despite the fact they sometimes do weird things with it.
Pickled gherkins are a staple here, and coincidentally, one of my favourite foods. One of the best things to do for a quick snack is to go to the supermarket, grab a bread roll from the bakery section, then head to the deli, where they will stack it with whatever cold meats and cheese you like, and of course add a generous helping of gherkins. Delish!
I like to dress up
I’m not shy when it comes to getting into the swing of things and putting on a costume! From their Fasching festival in February (which is just one big dress-up party) to their penchant for wearing Lederhosen or Drindl to local festivals, weddings and events, I’m right there with the Austrians!