Winter in Australia is… well… somewhat mild compared to Austria. And while there are some absolutely freezing days in Melbourne, especially when there’s a cracker of an icy wind blowing, it’s definitely not on the same scale. So here are 10 things I never knew I’d have to learn about what a real winter involves.
- Some shoes are just too cold – even with liners
My trusty Converse sneakers are sent into hibernation from late October till March in favour of warmer footwear. Some shoes can be upgraded with insulating foot liners to survive the worst of the cold, but not all. Otherwise it’s time to get out your fur-lined boots!
- There are days when you absolutely have to dry your hair
I hate using a hairdryer, and because my hair is so thin, can usually get away without it through a Melbourne winter. But not here. When it’s -10°C in the morning… I’m forced to dry it and wear a beanie!
- Driving gloves are a thing
I’ll tell you what’s really cold when it’s minus degrees outside: the steering wheel. So in winter, wearing gloves at least for the beginning of the drive is essential. And they have to have grip – so your cute woollen gloves won’t cut it – time for some leather!
- Topping up the window-wash
When temperatures hit sub-zero, you have to top up the water in your car’s window washer with special liquid (basically alcohol) so it doesn’t freeze. Otherwise, it either freezes in the pipes and simply doesn’t work, or when the water hits your windscreen it freezes instantly – and yeah, that means you can’t see a thing! Not good.
- Don’t forget to remove snow from shoes before getting in the car
Snow is delightful to walk in, but in the warmth of the car’s heating it turns to water. So before you get in the car you have to do what I call the ‘penguin clap – that is slapping your feet together so most of the snow falls off.
- You can’t wash your car when it’s below freezing
Seems obvious when I write it now… but it’s just not something I ever thought about before. You don’t want all that liquid to dry on your car as ice! And if you do happen to get a milder day and sneak out for a car wash, you either have to shammy it dry or drive around until most of the water has evaporated.
- Don’t bother hanging your washing outside
I have heard that it is possible to dry clothes outside in freezing temperatures and people certainly do it… but it takes a long time and it’s damn cold out there! Time for the cellar washing line to come into play!
- Don’t forget the winter tyres
At certain times of the year winter tyres are a must in Austria. This is definitely not something I ever thought about while living in Australia. But they are truly awesome.
- There’s no need to mow
On the plus side… with cold temperatures, snow and little sun, the grass just doesn’t grow. So you can relax for a few months… until you hit spring and the rain comes – then it’s a weekly chore!
- Don’t be lazy – tuck in your shirt
Yes, mum was right. If you don’t tuck in your shirt you do get all cold around the middle and probably will catch a cold. I own a vast selection of very long undergarments now.