After a bit of a hiatus from blog updates, we back baby! Especially now that we’ve been in quarantine for a few days the urge to write is strong. Plus, I’m one of those that are looking for something to read that’s unrelated to the big headline in the news lately. So just a quick snippet of our life here with the current pandemic: all shops and parks are closed, everyone is working from home, and we have been told to only go out if truly necessary (groceries). It’s a good time to reflect and work on some of those things that get put on the back burner. Before all of this began we took some time to settle in to our new city we call home, Vienna, Austria. It’s been an adjustment from culture to city to work life balance. While there aren’t as many changes as our move from the US to Switzerland, there are still many! We found an apartment close to the city center without being mixed into the most touristed districts. We’ve certainly upgraded in this aspect of the move! New additions to our space: dishwasher, washer/dryer, and balcony. The only thing we miss about our old apartment is the view!
Speaking of views, we’ll be honest, we miss the lake and mountains. It was too easy to go for a run and see some incredible nature whereas here it takes a little more effort. We have yet to explore the city to its fullest though. Our Google lists are stacked with a ridiculous number of restaurants, sights, cafes, and bars.. we’ll get there! Knowing it’s a bigger city than what we’re accustomed to we want to create a bubble of our own to feel at home, with go to spots and shops. In Lausanne I got used to seeing the same people on my way to get groceries [shout out to the old fellow that always had a smile on!] and had many a coffee in the same cafe. Those kinds of things gave me a sense of routine and community. We’ve been trying to balance discovering new incredible spots with revisiting some of our favorites.
There are some obvious cultural differences here from Switzerland. One is the demeanor of the general public. In all seriousness, I have yet to see a grocery cashier crack a smile. Surely it’s not the case but, it makes everyone seem very grumpy! Maybe just winter woes. Things are overall louder here. We hear glass being recycled on Sundays.. we didn’t realize how Swiss we were until we found ourselves complaining about it! Compared to the keep to yourself private mentality in Lausanne, Vienna is very open to communication. Language isn’t a barrier as many people speak English. We used to perk up when we heard English speaking in Switzerland but now we perk up when we hear French! There’s a lot of tourism here which doesn’t affect us much unless we choose to go shopping on the main strip or visit a popular sight.
Refreshing your memory on our stance on Swiss dining (at least in Lausanne), we aren’t the biggest fans. It’s a different story here! Travel anywhere and there will be a traditional dish. Here the traditions are schnitzel, sausages, erdapfelsalat, apfelstrudel, and krapfen. Schnitzel is a deep fried flattened piece of veal. It’s delicious with cranberry sauce and lemon. You can find a great one just about anywhere, can’t go wrong! Don’t get it twisted, the Vienna sausages I’m talking about are NOT like the ones you find in the can. There are wurstel stands everywhere serving a quick take away sausage.. perfect for on the go snacking or post bar fuel. Erdapfelsalat is Austrian potato salad. Sometimes its cold, sometimes its hot, but its always tangy and perfect with that schnitzel! I’m positive there’s an ongoing battle over who has the best apfelstrudel. They can be very different but all entail baked apples, cinnamon, dough, and a healthy serving of powdered sugar. Some are served with ice cream and others with a vanilla sauce.. we don’t discriminate. Another popular treat that I see in windows of bakeries everywhere is the krapfen. I’m sure this also has a battle of the best. It’s essentially a doughnut with the potential for filling. They are tasty as it but you can have it filled with vanilla custard or go the uber traditional route with apricot jam. The krapfen like the strudel is also generously topped with powdered sugar. Maybe all truly Viennese foods should be topped with sugar..? Powdered schnitzel? Will get back to you on that. Between all the tasty traditional foods and the great restaurants in general, it’s a good thing we found a gym we love!
As work has been busy for Andrew we haven’t taken a big trip since the move but trust that we’ll explore more of eastern Europe shortly after this pandemic clears up! There are several easy day trips from Vienna. We crossed off a new country after a quick hour train! We went to Bratislava, Slovakia for the day and it was nice to get away. It’s the ideal place for wandering streets. There’s a lot to look at and the architecture is very unique.
Hallstatt, Austria is a super cute lakeside village with intertwining alleyways set on a hill. We stopped by for a day before jumping on a trail heading for Rotelstein. We have pretty high standards after some of the crazy hikes we’ve been on and these views were up there! For an update on me, I now have a work visa! I’m a certified personal trainer which is something that may just be perfect for me. Being hands on, in an environment that I actually enjoy, helping others create and reach goals all to feel healthier physically and mentally are all things that I have a passion for. I think we can all agree, it’s crazy where life takes us isn’t it?