In transition

Graz and Vienna, Austria Today was mostly dedicated to travel. We left lovely Graz after a filling Viennese breakfast – heavy on the bread. The train station is really impressive, with only a few American invasions on the fast-food front. Guess they want to reassure travelers that Graz is a civilized place.

Our train was an old-fashioned one, with our own private compartment. We had great views of the villages in the valleys and the foothills of the Alps, many of which were still covered with snow.

So now we’re back in Vienna, attending to some housekeeping issues. Since there is not much else to relate, I’ll just share my favorite stupid tourist story from this city.

All over town, there are souvenir goods which boldly state: “No kangaroos in Austria.” Originally, I thought this was part of some weird campaign to attract tourists who are phobic about marsupials. Maybe that’s a thing.

Then I realized the cold, sobering truth, which was confirmed by one shopkeeper.

People here got very tired of being asked where the kangaroos were by impatient tourists eager to snap their selfies with a herd of them. The “No Kangaroos” campaign was designed to head the stupid questions off at the pass. I asked, as I had to, whether these people tended to be of the American persuasion. The shopkeeper was embarrassed to admit that this was the case. And yet, we think we have a great educational system…

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