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Green & Clean Austria

27 Feb
Austria is amazingly clean. Cleaner than I had expected. I had read that Austria is a haven for smokers due to lax laws so I expected to find cigarette butts all over the street and chain smokers in every doorway. Not the truth! Only once did we enter a restaurant where there was significant smoking and they had a separate room for non-smokers. It is simply a country where people care: they pick up after themselves and nurture the environment.  
Clearly labeled and frequently emptied recycling center in public. Roma is not quite so neat....

Clearly labeled and frequently emptied recycling center in public. Roma is not quite so neat….

Recycling is widely encouraged and supported by sturdy containers clearly marked for the purpose. They also appear to be emptied frequently. Litterboxes are everywhere, complete with a little smokestack for butts. Never saw one overflowing. We rarely saw a cigarette butt in the street. So very different from Roma. I think we saw dog poop once on the ground in 10 days in-country. I see it ten times on my way to the bus stop in Roma.
Typical refuse receptical in the street. Note the little chimney for butts.

Typical refuse receptacle in the street. Note the little chimney for butts.

In our hotel rooms, we found the usual signs saying that if we wanted to reuse our towels we should having them on the racks and thus save on water use and laundering. Nine-times-out-of-ten when we do this the maid replaces them anyway. Not in Austria! We hung up our towels for reuse and the maid left them.
We actually enjoyed going to the laundromat in Salzburg. There is a small chain called GreenandClean throughout Austria with a couple of outlets in northern Italy. Totally unattended and automatic, it was amusing trying to figure out how the machines functioned. We were there with a mix of locals and travelers all trying to figure out the system. One of the features is that an ecological detergent was used, so one did not add one’s own soap or other ingredients, but signage was a bit obscure so it was difficult to figure this out. Ric noted a young guy put two giant scoops of detergent in his washer anyway. We should have stuck around to see the foam. The place was sparkling clean, so clearly someone comes in to tidy up daily, but it was also obvious that people picked up after themselves. The one laundromat we have visited in Rome has a full-time attendant. Even so, about half of the machines are broken and if you can avoid it, you would not want anything falling on the floor.
Golden Orb Guy statue in Salzburg, gazing up at the fortress.

Golden Orb Guy statue in Salzburg, gazing up at the fortress.

I skipped writing about Salzburg earlier because we had moved on to the Pillerseetal and I wanted to write about that area immediately. That is not to say we didn’t enjoy Salzburg. Quite the contrary! We wish we’d had one more night there even in winter. After reading Rick Steves, it seemed two nights would be sufficient, but he seemed focused on beer drinking. I think he sold Salzburg short. We have loose plans to return in more clement weather for as much as 5 days, affording side trips to Berchtesgaden and the Salzkammergut.
Hohensalzburg Fortress as viewed on our little hike across the Mönchsberg. it is huge!

Hohensalzburg Fortress as viewed on our little hike across the Mönchsberg. it is huge!

With only one full day in the town, we had to choose carefully what to do. Since the day dawned sunny, with rain forecast for the afternoon, we had to be outside. Salzburg’s mountain, the Mönchsberg, afforded us a lovely if chilly hike on a clear morning and the Hohensalzburg Fortress was well worth a visit. We thought it would be a walk-through, but were quite intrigued by the history and the well-curated displays so stayed much longer than anticipated. There’s an app on the free WIFI that serves as a self-guide with a clever cartoon version for children. I think a child of 6-11 would have a blast self-touring the fortress.
One of the things we really love in Europe is that no matter where you go -- even a medieval castle high on a hill -- there will be a quality cappuccino available, served in a ceramic cup.

One of the things we really love in Europe is that no matter where you go — even a medieval castle high on a hill — there will be a quality cappuccino available, served in a ceramic cup.

We did not make time for a concert here in the birthplace of Mozart. His influence is everywhere, right down to the Mozartkugeln or “Mozart’s Balls” sold everywhere.
We only licked windows and did not purchase anything, but Salzburg looked like a great town for fashion as well as mountain sports attire.
The restaurants – at least the ones we found – were not as creative as those we found in Vienna, although Organic Pizza was a highlight. We found plenty of good Grüner Veltliner to drink.
Lovely walk on the Mönchsberg.

Lovely walk on the Mönchsberg.

So why did we like Salzburg better than Vienna? The weather was only slightly better. I think the quaintness of the old town that is highly pedestrianized, the riverside location, the mountains looming over the town, and the views make Salzburg a more Ric-and-Laurel kind of place, a far cry from the big city. We love Roma, but one does get tired of the mess and noise, and when we travel we gravitate to quieter places where the sound of motorini is not omnipresent.
Can I tell you how much we appreciate that train stations are putting in lifts to platforms? After years of hauling our luggage up-and-down stairs between platforms, this is a blessing.

Can I tell you how much we appreciate that train stations are putting in lifts to platforms? After years of hauling our luggage up-and-down stairs between platforms, this is a blessing.

I have to say that in Italy since the stiff fines for tossing cigarette butts in the street went into effect February 1, there are fewer of those overall though in Roma the cracks in the sampietrini are still full of cigarette butts. Apparently no self-respecting Austrian would dream of tossing a one in the street. And why would they need to when the cities and towns provide adequate sanitation stations?
If Roma could put all the mendicants to work cleaning the streets instead of holding their ball caps upside-down outside of bars, it might be a win-win for the city.
Frankie the hotel cat at Landhotel Strasserwirt.

Frankie the hotel cat at Landhotel Strasserwirt.

Golden Orb Guy as viewed from the fortress above.

Golden Orb Guy as viewed from the fortress above.

One of the intriguing exhibits in the fortress.

One of the intriguing exhibits in the fortress.

Cute little cafe at the Hohensalzburg Fortress. No plasticware and paper plates.

Cute little cafe at the Hohensalzburg Fortress. No plasticware and paper plates.

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2 Responses to “Green & Clean Austria”

  1. gooddayrome February 28, 2016 at 20:16 #

    And I thought my blueberries were all from Oregon! Blueberries are something very hard to obtain here. Ridiculously expensive on the rare opportunity you can find them. I miss them!

    Like

  2. Marcia Kakiuchi February 28, 2016 at 20:14 #

    Organic pizza! Sounds intriguing. We are in Uruguay enjoying learning about this country of 3mil. I learned Uruguay exports blueberries to the USA…who knew!

    Like

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