Trip Start Dec 11, 2012
Trip End Oct 17, 2013

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Flag of Austria  , Salzburg,
Wednesday, January 9, 2013

So after having been here for a month, I think we can safely clear you up on some of the misconceptions, stereotypes and preconceptions of our one-street-village Austrian waitressing living.

Preconception #1:

Austria is a first-world country and should thus stock most electronic, fashion and recreational equipment in small towns.

I went to four different villages in search of a nano SIM card for my new iPhone, eventually resulting in me being stranded in Schüttdorf, with no bus (both buses had not seen fit to stop for me) or taxi, mere hours before my shift (the bus ride alone is a good 1 hour back to Hinterglemm),which leads me to preconception #2....

Preconception #2

Germans generally aren't quite as friendly as us sunny Capetownians

Sadly true.
Being stranded with knots in my stomach, akin to giant anacondas practicing their contortionist skills, convinced I would get fired due to my extreme lateness because of aforementioned stranding, I decided to put on my big girl pants and hitchhike my way back to Zell am See. However, this mental change of wardrobe was a wasted effort, as no one would take me. I was close to tears before I found the right bus stop.

Preconception #3

South Africa has now made it into international circles after the World Cup

Here is a list of things people have said to us when we told them we came from South Africa (I am not embellishing for effect)
1) But you're not black!
2) Are you albino?
3) Can you speak African?
4) Which country in South Africa?
5) Why can you speak English?
6) So you guys hate black people, right?
7) Have you met Nelson Mandela?
8) No.

Preconception #4

"Fräulein" is an archaic word no longer put into practice.

Everyone calls us "Fräulein" if they want to address us in the restaurant. The first time a customer said it to me, I thought he was taking the piss. My jaw almost hit the table top when I realized he wasn't joking.

Preconception #5

You'll get sick of each other if you travel with your friend

But perhaps this is just because our shifts are almost never together - a blessing in disguise, I suppose. Either way, domestic life is relatively easy, bar one argument as to which way round the toilet paper should go (I wasn't aware there was a right or a wrong way, prior to this massive toilet paper faux par) and the fact that I hit Claudia in the face quite regularly in my sleep.

Preconception #6

The act of opening a door is fairly obvious

I don't know what it is with these Austrian doors, but I am convinced they open the wrong way round. I'm constantly pulling instead of pushing or leaving a shiny forehead mark on the glass instead pulling.

Preconception #7

You'll get used to cars driving on the right.

I still don't know what side of the road to be on when waiting for the bus. And I spent a 20min car journey quietly freaking out as to why the driver kept speaking to us backseaters instead of looking at the goddamned road, before I realized that he wasn't actually the driver...

Preconception #8

Waitresses will inevitably brake things

Here is a list of (my) accumulated shards:
1) 1 butter dish
2) 2 water carafes
3) 5 wine glasses
4) 1 champagne flute
5) 3 beer glasses
6) 1 martini glass
I refuse to take responsibility for the sugar pot. Or the dessert dish that spontaneously combusted.

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Ulf Hitzeroth on

Hey you two,
You are doing great on this blog. I look forward to read more fun stories, especially the right hand traffic stuff! Keep it up!

Georgi on

Such an amazing post. Put a big smile on my face x

aquirkybunchof2 on

So glad you liked it :) lots of love xxx

Wolfi on

Dear Fräulein,
the question is, how to call a waiter. The traditional way in Austria and much of Germany is Herr Ober and Fräulein.
In France it is Garcon ("boy"!) or Mademoiselle.
Political correctness has taken it's toll in this area as well, and many guests will not use these terms. So how DO you call a waiter?
Hey, waiter? Entschuldigung? Excuse me for what? Disturbing the waiter? Or just waiving the hand? Please observe your guests and note who calls you what, might be interesting study, or thesis for your PhD
Now also note that Austrians really LIKE titles. A waiter can increase his/her tips greatly by showing due respect and knowing the correct title. For instance, the wife of a professor or doctor (no matter what kind) is always called Frau Professor! And if no title is known, Herr Kommerzialrat is a good start. For houseguests a look at the guestbook might be useful to find out the correct title.
Happy waiting.

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