Austria

I’ve removed some people from the images, rather than put the black tab across the eyes they way they do in some of the cheap news magazines. This 1977 trip is not meant to show how we “looked” when we were young, but rather what we “saw” back then.

The morning after sleeping in the “closed for the season” campsite at Leibnitz (our first Austrian stop after Yugoslavia), we wandered through town looking for a place to have breakfast.

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After driving and camping for days as we traveled from southern Greece towards our eventual destination of London, we welcomed something more civilized. A restaurant that was probably part of a small hotel looked promising. It felt so strange to sit at a table with fine cutlery and a white tablecloth.

A quick trip to the washroom was also a treat: clean sinks and real toilets (not the two feet around a hole in the floor that they have in countries where water is scarce), aromatic soaps, and paper towels. We were enthralled by all these modern conveniences that we had learned not to take for granted.

While we waited for our breakfast, we ogled the basket of buns in the center of the table.

“And look at this,” I whispered. “It’s real butter!”

“Help yourself,” my husband said.

With huge smiles, we tucked into the bakery fresh crusty rolls. After two months of camping, I enjoyed the buns as if they were a steak dinner in a fancy restaurant.

The ham and eggs arrived along with frankfurters and excellent strong coffee. I was in heaven.

When it came time to pay, we knew roughly what the price would be and that was no problem, but the cashier said, “And how many buns did you eat?”

“Oh, quite a few.” I was embarrassed to think she’d been watching as I made a pig of myself.

“I need to know how much to charge you.”

“OH!” Many thoughts raced through my mind. How much would each one cost? If I’d known they weren’t free I wouldn’t have eaten so many. Darn! Why did I fill my boots like that? “I think …  three … each….”

She added the price of the six buns to the price of the breakfast.

I’m sure she thought that for two skinny people we had huge appetites. Probably thought we had tapeworms.

29 thoughts on “Austria

  1. Only three each?? Hum???? What happened to the leftover buns? Would they just leave the basket for the next starving tourists?
    I can just imagine how wonderful that meal was..and you have a terrific memory for detail:)

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    • What “leftover buns”? No, buns came to the table fresh each time, although who knows if they were sitting on someone else’s table earlier. But in Canada, that’s what they do – leave a basket of buns. In the cheaper Canadian restaurants you can eat as many as you like for free, but they can do that because who wants to fill up on “wonder bread” buns? I wonder….
      As for the memory, I remember the things that leave an impression, and having to pay for the buns was a shock – different from the way it’s done at home, plus the buns were that good!

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    • Austria was much more expensive in general than countries like Italy or Greece, but the price of the buns wasn’t too bad. It’s just that we would have shown some restraint if we had known we would pay for them by the piece.

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  2. Sounds like it was a great meal and came at a point where you needed a chance to treat yourselves! I’m glad you ate ALL the buns! Forget restraint! 🙂

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  3. Linda and I sat at a table the other day and in the center was a sealed bottled water… we thought this a nice touch as both of us always ask for water and are never charge we thought this would be the same… the meal was well over the R200 and then I noticed we had been charged for the water as well as our other drinks, I returned to the table to get the bottle and it had already been cleared… I insisted on getting the rest of the bottle, as we had been charged more than double of what we would have paid in a cafe… I am enjoying this journey with you and Hubby, glad we’re out of Yugoslavia…

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    • Isn’t it terrible to be two-bitted to death with these little things when you’re already paying a stiff price for the meal?! This reminds me of a similar situation happening to us here in Canada. I hate it when that happens. You feel dirtied somehow when they screw you over after you’ve been their guest. Thanks for coming along on our “memory lane journey.”

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  4. Good thing you enjoyed those buns before you knew the price. They wouldn’t have been so good if you had known! My eye was caught by the ubiquitous CocaCola truck. Where in the world can you be completely free of American culture?

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