Austria. The Journey is the Reward
Andrea Zefferer from Austria couldn't live without these three things: Viennese melange, coffee shops and her passport.
For more than 20 years I was living in at my parents’ house. During my studies I commuted every day for one hour from Leibniz to Graz. When my colleagues met spontaneously for a beer or went to the cinema, I was on the train or already at home and far from any urban amusement. I could have afforded a shared flat in the second biggest city of Austria, because I had done several part time and summer jobs as journalist and waitress, but I did not want to spend my money on the rent, I would rather save it for travelling.
After I had finished my studies of journalism and public relations, I could not wait to move out of my parents' house in Southern Styria. I was looking forward to my new independent life. I would have loved to use my freedom for a long trip to Asia, to China maybe or to the unknown Kazakhstan, but I did not have enough money for an adventure like that, so I had to look for a job and I found it in Vienna.
That suited perfectly, because after some time abroad I had the wish to discover the capital city of my home country. I had spent half a year as an Erasmus student in Ljubljana and another six months as a Leonardo trainee at the German speaking newspaper ‘Griechenland Zeitung’ in Athens. In this year I did not only get to know my neighbouring country Slovenia and the popular travel destination Greece, but also many students from other European countries. I learned that Slovenia is kind of a small Europe: sea or a mountain, you can reach everything within a few hours by car. Without the programmes of the European Union it would have been a lot harder to realise my dream of living in other countries and getting to know new people and cultures.
Abroad I realised that I also want to know the coffee houses, cinemas and clubs in the capital of my home country. I wanted to get to know the Viennese people that nobody really likes in Austria, they say that the people in Vienna are grouchy and arrogant and I wanted to find the answer to the question: What is typically Austrian? Are the Viennese people really different than the Styrians?
Coffee and furniture
It has been three months now that I am living and working in Vienna. But I haven't met lots of Viennese people so far. My flat mates and most of my colleagues come from other parts of Austria and the rest of my time I don't meet people that are originally from Vienna either. In the trams and subway you cannot only hear a mix of different Austrian dialects, but also an exotic ’melange’, as we say here in Vienna, of Serbian, Turkish, Polish and other languages.
By the way: 'Melange' is a coffee with milk foam, which people drink in one of the old Viennese coffee houses, where more than a hundred years ago famous authors like Arthur Schnitzler and Karl Kraus wrote their novels. Nowadays, tourists as well as young and elder locals likewise appreciate those old coffee houses. There you can read the newspapers for hours, have an 'Apfelstrudel' (apple pie) or chat with friends. Young people also meet in trendy bars like ‘Das M?bel’ (Piece Of Furniture), where you can even buy the furniture you are comfortably sitting on in case you have enough money or they gather in the 'Donau', a bar with electronic music and visuals all over the walls; and of course in the ‘Museumsquartier’, which is a small neighbourhood, where numerous museums, art collectives and restaurants are situated.
These days I cannot spend a lot of my time in places like that, but I do not mind, since I found a job in a field, where I always wanted to work: in developing co-operation. Through my work I became aware of the fact that it is a real privilege to be a citizen of the European Union - for example in reference to travels. I want to stay in Vienna for so long, until I have the feeling that I really know the city, until I have visited all theatres, shopped in all second-hand-shops and tried all the coffee houses or at least most of them. After that I will probably go somewhere else maybe to another city, maybe to another country, which would not be possible without my EU-passport.
Andrea Zefferer, 23
Photographer Andrea Zefferer:
Graz: This is the city, where I studied.
Southern Styria: I come from the southern part of Styria.
Town hall: The town hall of Vienna.
'Museumsquartie' is one of the trendiest places to relax in summer.
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