I have to say I’m getting pretty sick and tired of churches, not that I disagree, more the fact I’ve seen a ridiculous amount of them. It’s the same with museums, government buildings, fountains and monuments. There just frickin everywhere! Eventually you get over it. The beer. . . . Not yet!
So we’re currently travelling through a region I like to describe as the Alps: Austria, Germany and bordering Switzerland. Absolutely breathtaking, clean, friendly and somewhat cheap (think beers). Really the main reason for our Austrian visit was for Gem to go on a Sound of Music bike tour, and no, not because Austria looks and sounds almost like Australia.
Though I did go into an Austrian bar filled very much of local uni students only to be laughed about by the two barman.
“Can I get two Hoegaardens, please?” I enquired of the two men.
Then begin laughing and one nudges the other in the side.
“Sh*t!” I think “bet that’s what all the tourists order” don’t I look stupid.
The guys turn to me and apologise.
“Sorry, we were having a bet that you where German or not” they say, one looking smug.
The other in his defence asks
“But your grandmothers German, right?”
“Well. . . Dutch actually”
“Ha Ha told you!” the loser says trying to regain his dignity.
I guess looking like one of Hitler’s super race may have some advantage, though not when locals strike up conversations and you stand there looking like you got a broom stick stuck up your arse.
“Umm Sorry, No sprechen ze deutsch”
Now getting back to the Sound of Music, you know “the hills are alive. . . . *cough* gay *cough*”. There was however, I’ll admit, one interesting thing about the movie I found out and no gemma it wasn’t the fact the hostel plays the movie every night at 730pm!
The Austrian’s didn’t and don’t know sh*t about it, some still don’t know why 8 million tourists visit each year. Seeing as it was an American film it wasn’t shown in Austrian and even after it became available on VHS (Ha Ha VHS) they refused to watch it. I think it’s actually not a bad portrayal of Austria and its people at the time.
So to set the scene, it’s the 1960’s, not long after the end of WW2. Most people remember or even survived the war. An American production team goes to Austria to film the movie. They don’t ask permission from the government and everyone is oblivious. They film bits and pieces here and there. They prepare for a big scene which is near the end of the movie, where the Nazi’s come into this large square in the centre of town. Now imagine a square about as big as a footy field, 5 story high buildings surround it and a large water fountain in the middle.
Now picture the square deserted and with 20 meter high red banners stamped with Nazi Swartz stickers and 3rd Reich emblems draped all over the buildings. I can picture now, old missus Holfenbrau waking from her bed in the morning, peeping out the window to see a platoon of SS soldiers goose stepping into the square surrounding by Nazi Colours.
“SHI ZEN HOU ZIN!!!!!!”
“ZA R BACK!!!!!”
Poor missus Holfenbrau woulda shat her pants, Arr what a laugh. Stupid Americans think they can do whatever they like.
Speaking of what I like, that being beer, I thought I’d mention . . . no rub in how awesome it is in Europe. This might be easier in point form so we a can collectively drool like Homer Simpson.
Beers can be purchased almost anywhere; supermarkets, bottle shops, corner stores, hotel lobbies, take away joints including McDonalds and KFC, vending machines, even on a bus tour we did, at the beach and in parks by handy but sometimes annoying entrepreneurs (Indians).
Liquor laws seem almost non-existent; you can buy it anywhere and drink it anywhere, drink in the streets, drink hop from one convenience store to the next, we even brought our own bottle of spirits into a pub, drinking age in most is 16 for beer and wine and 18 for anything and closing times seem like a suggestion rather than a lock out.
Taste, to me seems better than most. Especially the difference in taste from cheap Aussies beer to cheap German beer. The German Beer Purity law of 1516 prevents additives being added to beer. Even cheap beer tastes awesome and with the lesser chance of getting a hangover.
Price, there’s no Alco tax making beer, wine and spirits significantly cheaper. For instance go to the supermarket and grab a pint of beer for 1 euro and a bottle of spirits for around 9 euros. Go to a beer hall in Munich and get a litre for 7.50 euro, a LITRE. Plus grab a bottle at your street vender and drop the empty beside the bin and the bums will collect it for the refund on the bottle.
The drinking culture is much more enjoyable, drinking is a big part of euro life but there’s no threat of violence. Drinking in a big beer hall seems equivalent to a Sunday picnic with the family. Many people drink on the street but there’s not threat of muggings and alcohol is so cheap yet there seems to be fewer drunks. Until Oktoberfest I guess ha ha
So what does that say about Australia? Why is it more expensive and harder to get, yet there seems more problems? Is our tax an effective solution? Is it more of an education thing? Is our culture not old enough to be united?
Hmmmm all this thinking makes me thirsty ;) at least it’s cheap, unfortunately the people I’d like to drink with are so far away.