Samstag, 8. Januar 2011

Living in Vienna as an Expat

An interesting letter was sent to recently:

To Whom It May Concern,

I came across your site and your page about the pros and cons of Austria. I agree with many and find that they generally apply to Austria indeed.

I have been traveling to and living in many different countries around the globe and have been living in Vienna since two years ago. I would like to express my opinion about Vienna in particular as I have experienced it thus far:

I have tried to merge with the Viennese culture but find it impossible to do so. I have remained unemployed since my arrival, have been rejected for being non-Austrian and ignored even after offering to volunteer my work. I have a postgraduate university degree, postgraduate certifications, 12 years of experience, and have worked successfully for schools and universities in the US, UK, Spain, Tanzania, Lebanon, Japan, and The Netherlands. I understand that the job market is relatively small here and thus chances are few.

However, I have found on several occasions that the same group of people were hired in various places, being rotated from one job to another by being part of this 'inner circle' of locals who favour each other and keep out 'others'. If their qualifications were equal to mine, I could accept that they hire their own friends. However, I know that they do not have such qualifications and working experience, and as such I was being ignored because they can not find a reason to dismiss me.

As for Viennese behavior in general:

1. If you can handle rudeness than this is your city! Unfriendly is an understatement, really. Getting barked at is a daily event and people jumping the line at the supermarket or any other store is 'acceptable' and very common here. And make sure you weigh and price your fruit because you may just get a serious mouth full from both the cashier and other customers for being that foreign idiot who hasn't learned how to do things right. This happened to me when I first arrived and was called an 'stupid cow' by a middle class 50 somewhat year old behind me in line. When I confronted her she went quiet. That's the routine response.

2. If you live here, be prepared to 'lose' some of the personal mail send to you. Packages that never arrived, letters and cards that did not make it to our mail box. We lived in Tanzania for several years and honestly, the mailing system was more efficient and reliable there than here in Vienna. There are newspaper articles about post workers stealing thousands of letters and parcels every year, so just remember that you are not alone!

3. Your neighbours may refrain from ever saying 'hello'. From the entire building we have one set of neighbours who return our 'good morning' and we feel lucky!

4. The International Airport (Schwechat) and XXX Airlines... No comment! Honestly, XXX Airlines stole our money and to date we have not been able to retrieve it because of their bureaucracy and lawlessness.

5. The rental car company XXX in the city centre: Pay and be willing to find your own parking spot when you return the car. In other words: Drive in circles until you have legally parked your car somewhere nearby on the streets! Ehem..I do not own this car..that is why it's a RENTAL car!

6. I was quite surprised to still find that one of the proper Viennese antique stores was selling the WWII Jewish armband for 68 Euros!

7. Smoking, smoking, smoking...

8. Opening and closing times: Do yourself a favour and bring a scroll of paper with you to note down when the opening and closing times, dates, and lunch times are for all stores, museums, etc.!

9. Beautiful buildings and history, which is the past and not the present, is great for a touristic visit at most. If you wish to live here, think twice because it is the people who occupy these buildings, the streets, shops, and the subways. And with Mercer rating this city as the highest quality of living, they surely have not taken into consideration how empoverished interpersonal relations are on a daily basis, the lack of communication, why the ambulance driver smokes in the vehicle when transporting patients, why Amnesty International has lengthy reports on abuse and brutality caused by police, how xenophobia affects so much of the population, why people huff and puff when they stand in line at the post office, and why the local Viennese seem to disappear when the tourist season arrives and reappear when the tourist season ends?



Websites back and running!

Sorry for everybody who was looking for information on and; both websites were not available for a few days after new year's eve. They are back and running now and I am looking forward to serving you with advice in the next year!

Donnerstag, 23. September 2010

100 new articles about "hidden treasure" sights in Salzburg

Ursulinenkloster - Toscaninihof - Roittner Turnhalle - Salzburgarena - Bundespolizeidirektion - Hexenturm (Witch Tower) - Reißzug - Leopoldskroner Weiher - Festungsbahn - Diakoniezentrum - Saalachspitz - Engelwirtsbrunnen - Unfallkrankenhaus - Bildungshaus St. Virgil - Aufestehungskirche Gneis - Salzachseen - Erentrudishof - Liefering Parish Church - Villa Schmederer - Hans-Donnenberg-Park - Christian-Doppler-Gymnasium - Franz-Josef-Straße - Neptunbrunnen (Fish Fountain) - Ursulinenplatz Square - Hanuschplatz Square - Boating / Cruising on the Salzach - Look-Outs - Bürgermeisterloch - University Library - Kieselgebäude - Messezentrum (Exhibition Centre) - Herrnau Parish Church - Kavalierhaus - Klausenkaserne Hospital - Brunnhaus Nonntal - Hofhaymer-Allee - Fürstenallee - Moosstraße - Langwied - Glan - Taxham Parish Church - City Walls - First Fortification - Second Fortification - Third Fortification - Apothekerhof - Vereinigte Versorgungsanstalten - Unipark Nonntal - Traklsteg Bridge - St. Josef Nunnery - Bankhaus Spängler - Sekundogeniturpalast - Volksgarten Park - Mönchsbergaufzug Lift - Mozarteum - Michaelitor - Kommunalfriedhof Cemetery - Villa Kast - Imbergstiege - Heffterhof - Freyschlösschen - Villa Berchtold - Mutterhaus der Barmherzigen Schwestern - Bruderhof & Bruderhaus - Villa Swoboda (Casa Austria) - Villa Ferch-Erggelet - Lürzerhof - Itzling-Nord - Maxglan-West - Gneis-Süd - Taxham - Kasern - Salzburg-Süd - Gnigl - Liefering - Lehen - Elisabeth-Vorstadt - Gneis - Maxglan - Leopoldskron-Moos - Rauchenbichlerhof - Districts of Salzburg - Schallmoos - Nonnberg Hill - Hellbrunnerberg Hill - Heuberg Hill - Festungsberg Hill - Itzling - Parsch - Aigen - Bridges of Salzburg - Hellbrunner Brücke bridge - Überfuhrsteg - Müllner Steg - Eisenbahnbrücke - Autobahnbrücke Nord - Mayors of Salzburg

Montag, 20. September 2010

New Hotels in Salzurg

A very warm welcome to two new hotels from Salzburg city and state:

Altstadthotel Weisse Taube in Salzburg's city centre:

Ski-, Spa- and Hiking Hotel Kaprunerhof near Zell am See:

Freitag, 3. September 2010

Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurants in Vienna

VVV - Vegetarian and Vegan Vienna now has a chance to see an overview on appropriate restaurants. A guest writer contributed the first article for in more than a year:

Donnerstag, 2. September 2010

4* EB Hotel Garni in Salzburg

Welcome to a new entry in our Salzburg hotel directory: 4* EB Hotel Garni is a nice breakfast hotel near the exhibition center of Salzburg, but also ideal as a basis for sightseeing or trips to the surroundings of the city.