Strange & Interesting Things About Austria

I’ve been wanting to do this post for a while now, pointing out strange and interesting customs and things I’ve noticed during my time here in Austria.

  1. Saturday alarm. So every Saturday, in apparently all of Austria, at 12:00 noon, there is an alarm that goes off in every town. I have yet to record the sound of this alarm yet because we are usually out and about doing something and I either don’t have my phone to record it or we are up on the mountain and can’t hear it very well. It sounds like a bomb alarm or a sound telling you to take cover. It’s a bit scary at first when you don’t know what it is. My boyfriend took advantage of this fact when I first heard the alarm. I was in one room, asking what the heck is that alarm?! and he comes running in saying, grab your stuff, we have to get out of here!!! I’m like WHAT?!!?! I became suspicious before he broke cover and started laughing but it was one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever heard of.
  2. Grocery Stores Part 1. There are no complementary bags for things you purchase at the grocery store like in America. You need to either bring your own bag(s) or purchase a bag at the checkout line before buying your food so that you have something to put your stuff in before leaving the store. Unless you want to look like an idiot like I did the other day, trying to balance 15 odd shaped items in your arms while walking out to your car.
  3. Grocery Stores Part 2. Shopping carts require a “deposit”in order to check one out.  When you walk into the store and you see the grocery carts all waiting there ready to be used and assist you in your shopping, they are actually locked. You need to place a coin in the appropriate slot in order to release the cart and use it.  The coin then stays in the cart and you can get it back when you return the cart. Gee, thanks.
  4. Cash. Most transactions here are done in cash. It is very very common to go into a store or restaurant here and find that you are not able to pay with any type of card, credit or debit. I’ve been in a few situations here where I’ve been stuck and embarrassed because I don’t have enough euros on me to purchase a drink or some souvenirs. To be safe, when traveling Europe always make sure you have enough cash to cover everything.
  5. Lederhosen and Dirndles. Yes, they still wear them. It’s pretty cute. I like when I see places sticking to their traditions and customs. Usually these clothing items are worn at events such as weddings, parties, festivals or holiday events. However, I do see more people wearing them around Salzburg pretty frequently. Of course the workers in the tourism industry wear them pretty much all the time for work, for examples, staff at hotels, museums and restaurants. Some people also wear them to work or just out on the weekends, depending on the job and the person. This past week there was a holiday on Thursday. There was a parade in Muhlbach, as I think was the case in most towns and villages. Everyone wears their traditional garb to these types of things. Check out these fashionable little guys below. Apparently each town also has slight differences or their own customs when it comes to the traditional wear, whether it be colors or hats.

Well, that’s all for now but I will definitely be adding to this list as the weirdness definitely continues.  For now, I’ve learned that customer service here is pretty dismal. They definitely don’t make it easy for the customer. From what I’ve found, the businesses here get away with being able to nickel and dime the customer for everything. I was at McDonalds yesterday (I know, embarrassing but I wanted a coffee and an egg sandwich, without struggle, what can I say) and after I purchased my breakfast, I asked if there was ketchup. She said, yes but it’s 30 cents. Okay….. no thanks. I also witnessed the woman in front of me in line, after she received her meal, grab a Nutella packet from what appeared like the “help yourself area” where the coffee items were, etc. However, the cashier lady was very quick to come over and say that the Nutella packet was actually 50 cents so she would have to purchase it. Seriously?

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