Thursday, September 03, 2009

A Swedish American in Vienna, Austria

I disappeared to Vienna for a few days. It was the first time I had ever been to the city. Or to Austria for that matter. There were plenty of things to see. Plenty of churches to explore. Plenty of museums to wander through. And the sun was shining. All in all, just a lovely trip.

I have a habit of writing about my travel. Because usually something happens. Like me missing a train in Poland. Or evil Mikael from SAS causing hell before heading to Spain. Or even the stinky girl on the plane ride home. But this trip was easy. Ryanair easy.

So instead of lamenting my inability to handle airports, I decided to share some pictures. Most people share pictures of themselves. Or the scenery. Or the sights. Those people are missing the point. It is much more entertaining to share the ridiculous signs that a country has to offer.

Let me first start this off by saying that I consider myself to be a relatively nice person. Just today I let a pregnant lady step in front of me in line while getting on the bus. I’m basically a chivalrous gentleman. But sometimes I have my moments. Don’t judge me.

I laugh at inappropriate things. I’m surprisingly ok with that. Like when I burst out laughing at the port-o-potty nearly smack dab in the middle of Vienna. It’s important that toilet access be given to everyone. Men, women, children, and of course, the handicapped. Which I think is why I appreciated this port-o-potty so very much.

Now the benefits of speaking a very Germanic language is that despite my lack of German skills, I can figure out certain words. They tend to be words that I have no business knowing. Like prisoner of war for example. But that’s what makes German language signs so very fun. Which is why I’d like to give you this gem of a sign from a church in Vienna. Focus on the last line.

Screaming is uncool. I’m pretty sure God mentioned that somewhere in the commandments.

An Austrian friend of mine has said that the subway in Stockholm is damn near raucous compared to Vienna. Having ridden around on the subway a fair bit for a few days, I am clearly in a position to make blanket generalizations. It was quiet, but I didn’t notice it either being more or less quiet. I might just be morphing in a Swede more than I am willing to admit. But then, I saw this sign.
Finally, the proof I needed to convince me that it isn’t just Swedes that are deathly silent on the train.

Welcome (back) to Sweden. And signs from abroad.

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  1. haha awesome signs. You seem to travel a lot! I'm envious :).

  2. I love weird signs...and garbage cans. I always end up taking pictures of garbage cans. They're different everywhere. ;)

    I think most trains are quiet-ish. People don't chat up strangers. Except Italian men (annoying) and French grannies (sweet). But maybe that's just my experience?

  3. Running or jumping is dangerous!

    No kidding, stairs in old churches are usually pretty darn steep.

  4. @jessy - I like taking advantage of ryanair when Im over in europe. its just so cheap.

    @E - well weird signs I can support. But garbage cans? Im going to have to start paying more attention to those I guess.

    @eklandisk - agreed. they tend to be made of stone and worn and slippery too making running or jumping even more dangerous. and if you were to fall, just remember not to scream. its uncool.

  5. wow interesting, cuz not so long ago i had a chat with a swede bud who had lived in Austria for a while, when i asked him about this train silent trend we have in here he said this is more of a scandinavian thing not other parts of the EU. so a generalization could be : this is a trend in cold countries,like i read somewhere that canadians are far less outgoing than Americans.

  6. P.S
    special box
    hu hu haha, it sounds like a box of incredible or very special things .

  7. @Tod: Canadians are definitely just as outgoing as Americans, only they tend to be less superficial about it. I do think there is something to the cold climate vs. warm climate thing though. Maybe someone should do a study.

    @E: I have some awesome pics of strange garbage cans (so you are not alone in your hunt for cool garbage cans).

    @Hairy: As usual a wonderful post. I too am working the Ryan Air for as long as I am here. You have to go back to Vienna at Christmas though. You think it's a nice city now, just wait until there are lights in all the trees and the markets are all set up, and everyone is happy from too much Punsch. I love your immaturity. It makes me not feel so bad about being immature myself because I too love funny signs. There is a great one at the top of the Spanish steps in Rome that has a stick figure man taking a dump and says "Please to not defaecate". It's amazing. Oh and then at the San Diego Zoo they have one of a Rhino behind that says to stand back 20 feet. Not for your safety. Oh no they are not going to jump the moat to ram the fence. It's because they wizz like a fire hose.

  8. Like your blog!
    But can't say i like the austrians idea of an specialbox to store handicapped people when they're not being used...

    and for heavens sake stop by

  9. @shawna
    i found that point in an excerpt of Pierre Berton.

  10. Good man, that Pierre Berton, though he was high for most of his prolific career... so...
    I could also just know all the wrong Canadians, you know those Southern Ontarians (905ers) probably aren't the same as the rest of the country.

  11. "Canadians are definitely just as outgoing as Americans, only they tend to be less superficial about it."

    What an absolutely annoying generalization. What does that even mean? How is one "outgoing in a superficial way"?

  12. in a completely irrelevant comment, have you heard about dirty diaries wow,i'm so pumped up don't miss it, the first performance is this sat-sun. check

  13. Don't hate. Garbage cans are interesting...well...not super interesting. Still, they are different from place to place. It's the little things sometimes. You'll do well to notice them. ;)

    @ Shawna - Yay!

  14. Special Box! I can just see you giggling at that one!

  15. I wanted to read about you missing the train in Poland. But it seems that the links "missing a train in Poland" and "the stinky girl on the plane ride" both takes me to the blog post about death breath girl.. would you be so kind..? :)

  16. @Tod – hmmm, that could be. But Austria is much warmer than Sweden during the summer months I believe.

    Well some might argue that a port-o-potty is in fact a box of incredible and special things…

    @Shawna – I disagree with the superficial comment. Although most of the Canadians I have met have always been very nice.

    I need to see the do not defecate sign. That sounds absolutely amazing. What bothers me so much is I have been to the Spanish Steps in Rome and somehow must have missed the sign.

    @Bjoern – well it doesn’t seem like the nicest way to store people. I agree.

    And I love the name of your band. Just another reason to not change the signs really.

    @Tod – I had to google Pierre.

    @Shawna – The black sheep if you will.

    @anonymous – a good question and one I cant answer.

    @Tod – indeed, the Swedish government funded feminist porn.

    @E – I’ll keep an eye on them next time I go someplace new.

    @mamma – seriously… it was too much for me.

    @sophia – oops, sorry about that. The link is fixed.

  17. now ashamedly i have to confess my friends talked me out of watching dirty dairies by saying we could watch a porno in the comfort of our lägenhet lol.
    now we gonna watch that alien thing "District 7" but you guys shouldn't miss it,tonight 20:30-i don't know!

  18. Sorry about the over-generalizing with Americans being superficially outgoing. Not all of us are, and I know that. But "Bless your Heart" just grates on me, and I was kinda thinking of that when writing my first comment. Didn't mean to upset anyone(@anonymous). I apologize.

  19. @tod - ahh the truth comes out.

    @Shawna - no worries. I once ran into some souther girls who loved the bless your heart. It entertained me to no end. Especially when, in reference to George Bush, who they did not like at all, but didn't want to say anything bad about came with "He's a good man. He tries hard." in a nice southern drawl. I still laugh about it to this day.