Want To Learn Some Unusual Facts About Vienna?
Vienna is known for its’ charm, imperial sights, cultural events, coffee houses, cosy wine taverns, and of course, the world famous Sacher Torte.
It is not known for anything unusual.
Early this year, and for the seventh time in a row, Vienna was voted as the world’s most livable city.
While all this is true, there are some things that are not known about Austria’s capital.
Curious to know? Here is my list of 10 most awkward and unusual facts about Vienna.
1. BALLERINAS AND FLATS
Girls, young ladies, women, and even grandmothers love to wear ballerinas. Why?
Well, if you have ever been to Vienna or other old cities in Austria, the cobblestone streets could not have gone unnoticed. They are everywhere.
It is tough wearing heels, especially in the city centre. Ever had your heel get stuck in between stones?
Not realising it, then taking another step forward losing your heel or the entire shoe!
Here, we like to make sure we don’t break our legs in the process.
If you are coming here on holiday soon, take my advice and stick to ballerinas or flats.
Only wear heels when necessary.
2. CAR SHARING
I don’t mean carpooling. Over here, most families share one car. In the USA, I noticed that most families have two cars. Maybe more.
Here in Vienna, public transportation is not only fantastically networked, but most times faster than driving from Point A to Point B.
Another difference between the USA and Europe, and why I included this on my unusual facts is that automatic cars are extremely rare here.
Tell someone you can’t drive a stick shift (like me) and their eyes pop wide open as if you told them you just recently landed from Mars with your 19 kids in tow.
You will search far and wide here if you are planning on buying an automatic car.
Not only that, it will cost you a whole lot more.
3. BE BAG READY
Last year we were in Miami and Chicago on vacation, and it was great to get to the checkout counter in different supermarkets and have someone bag your groceries for you. Same as in other countries we have visited.
Over here, you have to bag your own groceries.
It is funny because you have to be super fast before the items the person behind is buying reaches the end of the conveyor belt. If you are too slow, you get the shady side-eye from the both the customer behind you and the cashier.
I tend to avoid eye contact and just stare down at my groceries, hoping for a quick exit.
This falls under the top three of unusual facts because in Austria, not only Vienna, all grocery and retail stores are closed on Sunday.
YUP – all of them.
4. MAN’S BEST FRIEND
Dogs are precious to Austrians. For all you dog owners or pet lovers, Austria is a great place to live in.
The world’s happiest dogs probably live here.
You see, dogs are generally allowed to go everywhere with you. There are, of course, a few (very few – scarce) places where they are banned. If they are not allowed in, you will see a sign posted.
Going out to a restaurant? Bring your dog.
Getting your hair done? Sure, bring your dog with you.
Heading to work? Surely, you can’t leave your little puppy home alone all day!
Get the picture?
5. HOUSES OLDER THAN THE PYRAMIDS
Ok – that is taking it way too far in terms of over exaggerating, but you get the idea.
The „Heumühle auf der Wieden” is a tiny house in Vienna and also the oldest preserved house in Vienna.
It was built in the 13th century! Around the time Marco Polo returned to Venice following his journey to China.
Don’t be surprised that that apartments and houses don’t have closets.
You move in and you have to buy wardrobes. A small price to pay to live in such a wonderful place.
6. 8TH GRADE DROP OUT
Kids only have to go to school until they are 14 years old. Now this is not only an unusual fact but also a very scary one.
The law requires kids to make the decision to either continue with school, choose a career path or begin a specialty program.
Essentially, they are making life changing decisions at such a young age! Also, at an emotional and hormonal time in their lives, no child should IMO be faced with such a heavy decision.
Mistake are bound to be made. Very scary. Most of us are unable to make that decision at 18, or even 21, let alone 14!
7. DRINKS ON YOU
Now this unusual fact is one that I am completely against. The legal drinking age is 16 for beer and wine!
Say What???? Yes, you read that correctly.
It is 18 for hard liquor/spirits. Teens do not ever worry about being carded. It happens maybe 0.01% of the time.
I was told by a Canadian friend of mine that after drinking beer here in Vienna, over the period of a year when he moved to the USA, the beer tasted like watered down Sprite.
I am not a beer drinker, I wouldn’t know how much truth there is to that. LOL.
Does that sound accurate to you? I believe him.
Oh, one more thing – open container law is nonexistent here.
8. THE HEAT IS ON
It is so awkward that in a country whose summers get intensely hot, that there is no air conditioning in most places.
Last year, it was burning hot in Vienna. Ok, not Texas or Florida hot, but by European standards, sweltering.
Restaurants, bars, apartments, houses, offices. They all lack air-conditioning. Austrians (or shall I say most Europeans) shun air conditioning.
Here we say, “Open a window, turn on a fan, pull the shades!”.
Awkward and unusual? Less than 1% of the homes are air-conditioned.
I guess you could say we are committed to a better environment.
9. CAN I GET SOME CHANGE?
In Austria, no, Europe (well, countries that use the Euro )the smallest denomination in bills is the €5. In many countries, the smallest bill is “1”.
Having the fiver as the smallest means walking around with lots of coins in your handbag, wallet or pockets.
I fill up a big flower pot with coins and take them to the bank every three months.
You won’t believe how much money you save by doing that. It’s fantastic.
And last but not least……probably the most unspeakable on my list is…..
10. DONUTS OR DOUGHNUTS – WE DON’T HAVE EITHER!
Seriously, there are no doughnuts in Vienna. In Austria. Zero, None.
We have things that sort of look like doughnuts, taste almost like a doughnut, might even be classified as belonging to the doughnut family, but there are no real doughnuts here.
I kid you not.
Two years ago the first Dunkin’ Donuts opened in Vienna.
Being a Donut connoisseur, I can tell you that the doughnuts were not the same as other Dunkin’ Donuts I had tasted.
Needless to say, the hype didn’t last long and the branch here in Vienna gone completely broke.
Sorry doughnuts, you just cannot compare to some good old Austrian Sacher Torte.
There you have it, my 10 awkward and unusual facts about Vienna and Austria.
And for those of you who were wondering…yes, Austrians really do wear lederhosen and dirndls- they aren’t just for the movies.
What did you think about this awkward and unusual facts? Did you know any or all of them?
Do you know an unusual fact about the city or country you live in?
Share them with me in the comments section below.