5 things I miss about life in Austria

My time in the land of the lederhosen and ski-high alps has drawn to a close.  After just three weeks of being back home I’m already starting to miss a couple things from my life abroad.  Here’s a few: 1.  … Continue reading

Australian Slang that should never leave the country

I’ve collected a list of Australian slang words to avoid when travelling through Europe.  All words have been learnt from very awkward personal experiences: Mozzies/Sunnies Or pretty much any word we’ve shortened and added ‘ies’ to the end of… which … Continue reading

Eishockey: Graz 99ers v Salzburg

I went to my very first ice hockey game here in Graz.  On a lightly snowy Friday night 1500+ showed up to watch the Graz 99ers play Red Bull Salzburg. The field was less than half the size of a … Continue reading

Holiday Season in Austria

  While some of my Australian peers may still be on holidays, spending their days lying on their ass, lapping up the sun; the silly season has since ended here in Europe.  Unlike our extended end of year uni/school holidays … Continue reading

Reminiscing on autumn hikes

After a month of traveling Europe with my family for Christmas and the rest of the silly season, I returned to Graz for a few days.  I was disappointed to see the beautiful, heavily vegetated mountain range near my flat … Continue reading

Apfelstrudel gebacken (Apple Strudel Baking)

My chef du jour of a flatmate, Daniel, had a strudel making extravaganza one rainy afternoon. I often come home to him cooking up a storm and tease him about his traditionally Austrian, gourmet concoctions; looking on with green eyes … Continue reading

Spontaneous Solo Slovenija Weekend: First stopover Maribor

Oh the joys of living in Austria:  After catching up for a drink with my Slovenian classmate, Katja, on Tuesday, I was inspired to take a trip down to the coast of the neighboring country.  So Wednesday night I booked … Continue reading

Austrian’s in water: like fish out of water

When I decided to take my first visit to the local pool here in Graz, I did not expect it to generate enough interest to suffice an entire blog post.  But how wrong I was and how humorously eventful it was!

I had conveniently found a large swimming center within a 5 minute walk from my flat, with multiple outdoor pools and an Olympic sized indoor pool with diving platforms of varying heights. There was a club training across seven marked lanes and an open space, 4 lanes wide with no barriers, for the general public.  After my first lap I was so confused I had to ask someone catching their breath at the end of the lane “Do you swim on the right or the left?” to which he replied “Neither”.  Apparently its a free for all over the entire space and you just weave around the other swimmers and hope you don’t bump into anyone.

Back in Perth, we may not have the same courteous and calm driving etiquette as the generous Austrians, but at least we have pool etiquette!!  First there was the lane thing; then every time I came to the end of a lap I would have to detour two or three lanes over to get to the wall.  After a lap or a set, swimmers pick a spot on the wall to catch their breath and don’t move for anyone or anything, making for very awkward tumble turns during long distance sets.

Now please allow me a moment of a vanity.  I am far from my peak swimming form and would struggle to make the times and distance I did back in my club and competition days, but I felt like a swimming sensation next to the Austrians.  Even amongst the public lanes back in Australia there are always more accomplished swimmers leading the lanes, but here I felt like king of the pool – or the non-club lanes at least.  I was swimming laps around a group of fit muscular young men. I finally see what my coaches had tried to explain in all my years of competitive training: “technique is so much more important than strength or physique”.  I had better not go too often or I won’t be able to keep my big egotistic head afloat!

Every time I get back into swimming I remember how much I enjoy it and wonder why I ever stopped, this time I had a legitimate excuse: travelling and moving to a new country.  But without the consistency and commitment of being in a club I always start off strong then slowly decrease my personal training sessions until out of nowhere a couple of months have pass before I’m back in the pool again.  Here in Graz, one of the other universities operate a swimming club open to all students, but it is at a pool on the other side of town and I was a bit put off when I read the prerequisite for the ‘advanced’ class  was “100m breaststroke without pause”.  I will have to look for a club a bit closer or a swimming partner to keep me motivated.

Morning at the markets

This morning I visited the Kaiser-Josef-Markt farmers markets to stock up my kitchen with fresh Styrian produce, of which I had heard so many good things about!  Styria, the province of Austria in which Graz lies (Die Steiermark as it … Continue reading