The finest and most unique Lederhosen, a stein in hand made for the Habsburgs and a powerful beard radiating from the face encouraging other “alpha-males” to take part in a best beard-off. These are a few things that I imagine echo through every man’s mind. Wait, just kidding; probably just my own. This and when I get to eat again.
In my world, this is something that I strive to achieve in my time in the Bavarian/Austrian area. For now though, I have cheap tourist lederhosen bought at a store in Munich, properly named “Bavarian Stuff.” Instead of a stein, I only posses the generic ones they give you at the local beer hall. And for the beard, mine makes me look like a 16-year-old trying to change his social status entering sophomore year. It’s all part of my very own Austrian Quest.
An Austrian Quest for me is to try to do the most Austrian and Bavarian things that I can while I am abroad. The success of my journey depends on me stepping out of my comfort zone. This includes: growing my facial hair for the next three months, eating my way through Austrian delicacies, and traveling the Austrian and Bavarian countryside.
A few weeks back I traveled to the tourist and college student favorite Oktoberfest in Munich. While I was there I encountered many different styles of beer, cheaply made lederhosen (which of course I had to get), and of course every American college student within a 1000 mile radius. Not quite a step in the right direction for encountering the perfect Austrian culture but at least I tried. I did get to sample some great beer from Germany and I got a picture eating a pretzel- can’t go wrong there.
This past weekend, I spent time in Vienna, the capital of Austria. I got to take in breathtaking art, the beautiful architecture of one of Europe’s most interesting cities, and enjoy some of the best and fairly priced Austrian food I have had to date. It was a cultural and social experience that I will likely not be able to experience anywhere else. This upcoming weekend I’m headed back to Vienna to run the Fall Half-Marathon in the city. This will be my first of hopefully many international races. One of the best parts of going to Vienna was returning to the smaller city of Salzburg, back to our home.
These past few weeks I have explored every corner of Salzburg that I could imagine. I have been to the catacombs, Augustiner Hall, and the top of nearly every mountain in sight from the city center. These include Gaisberg, Untersberg, and even the ice caves just outside of Hallstatt.
What do these instances have to do with an Austrian Quest? It depends for each person. With my goals in mind, I have only just scratched the surface of what Austria and my time abroad has to offer me. I’ve eaten some fantastic food and met some interesting people. But it’s that little extra in extraordinary that I am looking for, from amazing to unbelievable. An Austrian Quest for me includes people responding to me with “Oh, you did not?!?” or “OMG! You’re kidding.” Except I won’t be kidding of course.
Time for me to stay humble.