Erasmus Travels

Vienna-Austria - Part I - people and buying food
by Spyridon K. (in Vienna on Mar 01, 06)
And since it's Euro 2008 time in Austria-Switzerland, I think the time is right to finish off my Austria travel experiences with the capital - Vienna (Wien) !! And since i've stayed in Vienna for 4 months as an Erasmus exchange student I will split the experience in different posts, so that I can relate more of the insight i got.

This, first, part will cover people and buying stuff. 

As a person from Greece (a country of loud, angry, mostly "illegal" and harmless people - like most Mediterranean countries I presume) I was in awe when i first set foot in Vienna. 

People are so incredibly nice (and not the kind of fake nice that is present in [random example ] UK), that I was ashamed at first... They are also quite law-abiding: I even witnessed people not crossing the street on red light, even when there was no car to be seen for miles on either side of the road, something quite unheard of in Greece!!! And speaking in general, their behaviour on the streets, as either drivers, passagers or people that walk around is excellent. The police officers are also quite discreet and nice. Some even stopped before me, so that they wouldn't interrupt my photo of a building (that is EVEN more unheard of in Greece!).

(The aforementioned police officers, thank you very much people!)

Unfortunately, when it comes to work and bussiness contacts, I don't have the best of experiences with Austrian people... they seem to get glued on an idea too much and refuse to let go easily (esp. in public services), at least they are still very nice and kind, nevertheless.

As far as buying food is concerned (as opposed to buying for fun - clothes etc, which i really don't know much more than "head to MarienStrasse"), it is very easy to find food all 24hrs because of the very convenient "food stalls" scattered around the city and run mostly by (Turkish i think) immigrants. Kebab and pizza are ready and hot, for a quick snack along the road in virtually every neighbourhood!! (Esp. good when one comes for Greece, Kebab is actually "Gyros" in Greece, and what is called in Greek "Kebab" is called "Kevapcici" in Austria (sth like that)).

And it's quite lucky that these stalls exist... because everything is closed so early in Central Europe... after 19:00 there's hardly any store open and after 21:00 most reastaurants have closed too... (tourist areas excluded always in any coutnry). 

Apart from that, there is an abundance of bakeries in Vienna (that are essentialy just 3 or 4 chains), most located strategically in metro (U-Bahn) stations, with irresistable sweets and many kinds of samdwiches on offer and at very reasonable prices too. (My favourite for sweets was a chain with "mr"/"herr" in front, don't remember the full name now but you will know when you see it... absolutely delicious sweets).

Plus, there's always the super-markets... there are some major chains (Billa, Merkur, Spar and two more) which contain almost ANYTHING one can wish for eating ;) plus they are just about EVERYWHERE~!!!! In most neighbourhoods there is at least one at every 4-5 blocks, which makes it very convenient! I also spotted some small "a bit more traditional" groceries, but I doubt for how long they will still exist, with cheap chains around... :S

And lastly, for small snacks and anything magazines and smoking related there are always "TABAK"s! Small stores, like "ψιλικατζίδικα" in Greece, that cater to such needs, mostly open 9-18... but most have automatic cigarette sellers next to their doors, so smokers will not be disappointed!

But, what about newspapers then...? That is coming up next :)

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