big things in little packages

Vienna Travel Blog

 › entry 36 of 75 › view all entries

Being in Hungary and now Austria, you gotta wonder how little countries like this (okay, Hungary ain't tiny but it ain't no Iceland either) managed to take over massive parts of the world at one point in time.  Same goes for England.  I mean, really, what does that tiny island have to offer?  They don't have that many people.  There are limited natural resources.  Being surrounded by water is convenient, but I wouldn't say they have a fab locale.  You gotta look at the great empires of the past and think, "How ya gonna?  Actually?"

I thought of this because despite the relatively small size of the city, Vienna is packed with ginormous buildings and monuments and even the embassies and fast food and shopping are all big.  I was thinking, wow, how do they have so many impressive buildings and grand things, and you remember the Hapsburgs and Hitler and other Austrian contributions to society besides The Sound of Music, classical music, and coffees.  The coffees are great though.  Much better than the Hitler.  I highly recommend it.  Although there's one thing I have yet to try and it looks like there's an egg yolk floating on top and I am afraid to ask.

Also, 5 things we take for granted that even the most Western of European countries deny us:

- Free water.  After walking around the city all day, I'm like a camel.  And it's even worse in Eastern Europe because water is more expensive than beer and wine so your friends make fun of you for ordering it.

- Free bathrooms.  Even if they have music, coat racks, linen towels, and happy greeters, being able to take care of your personal needs is a GOD GIVEN RIGHT!

- Proper refridgeration.  Even in England and Germany and Norway and other clean places, people leave dairy products out like they're empty cardboard boxes.  That's another thing - why is all this milk and yogurt coming in a box anyways?  And more importantly, why does it NOT need to be refridgerated?  What's going on here???

- No smoking in public buildings.  It's bad enough that restaurants have a smoking section, it's even worse when they randomly designate tables as smoking and non-smoking when it makes no difference whatsoever.  I miss the rigidity of California where smokers can be denied MUNI stop shelter on rainy days and banished to the side of the road with their cigarettes.

- Vegetarian options.  Vegetarian meals at best consist of mixed roasted vegetables or a salad of iceberg, tomatos, and cucumber.  More often, you have assorted sliced cheese or fried cheese with pickles.  Who is eating all this delicious produce?

vivo says:
i wonder if our dairy products are odd and everyone else thinks that its ok to leave things out to ferment... maybe their love of cheese explains all of it... yogurt now or cottage cheese if you leave it out long enough...
Posted on: Nov 14, 2006
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