The American Douchebag’s Guide to Europe: Austria

The Hills are alive with the sound of alcoholism!

Overview

Austria, also known as “Germany Lite,” was the birthplace of four famous historical figures: Mozart, Hitler, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the greatest tour guide ever (Our tour guide) Andy.  To make Andy seem better than the other three (Like I need to), I’m going to talk some trash on the other three. Mozart was a sickly and girly voiced douchebag, Hitler was a filthy vegetarian (as well as the killer of a bunch of Jews) and Schwarzenegger is shorter than he claims, the lying bastard.

Dude, I was just kidding. Put the knife down. We all know you're over six feet. Please don't hurt me.

Austria was a part of the Roman Empire for a while, what with it sharing a border with Italy and all, up until the 16th century, when it became one of the main powers in Europe. It then became the Austrian Empire in 1804, which then became the Austria-Hungary Empire in 1867. Then, in 1914, the assassination of the band Franz Ferdinand triggered World War I, which ended the Austria-Hungary Empire.

Initial Thoughts

My initial thoughts were: “Austria, eh? Well, let’s put another shrimp on the barbay!”

"Wanna get freaky?"

I said this to Brennen and Sammy, but none of them seemed to appreciate it as much as me. Then, once we reached our hotel in Altenmarkt, I updated my facebook letting everyone who cared that I had made it into Austria. My dad replied to my status with the same quote that I used above, and Hollie, a girl on my trip from Wyoming, replied with, “That’s Australia.”

uh DUUUUUUUUHHHHHHHHHHH!

Clearly I was one of few people on the trip who’s actually seen “Dumb and Dumber.” But yeah, I’m the crazy one who is not fit for high society (or any regular society, as they say). You know what? Maybe they’re right; I am a crazy bastard, and I’ve put them in danger seven times, and that was just the two days before we made it into Austria. And one of those times, one of our tripmates ended up dying (Rest in peace, Greg. We all miss you). But still, they haven’t seen Dumb and Dumber.

Point: Me.

Accommodations

This was our room:

Holy shit, look at that TV!

this is only the washroom

This is the water closet. Yeah, we have a two-part bathroom.

And this was the view from our room:

And THIS is the pool area:

The pool as a tree!?!?

And the spa area:

And the sauna:

fuck yes

What I’m getting at here is that the hotel was awesome. Well, it was being renovated in some areas that they set up a blockade to. And by “blockade”  I mean they set up sheets and mattresses in front of the door ways. Needless to say, the guys and I checked that shit out. Other than that, I spent my two days in Austria chilling at the spa- well, after visiting Salzburg, going for a hike in the Alps, and white water rafting. That really brings my relaxation time down to four hours, but it was a goddamn relaxing four hours. I got to sit in a steam room, which combines my four favorite things: extreme humidity, nice smells, not being able to see far in front of me, and not doing anything. I then hopped into the sauna and let my body sweat as I had some quality bro-time with our tour guide.

We stayed at a Ski Lodge in the small, practically uninhabited town of Altenmarkt. No, this didn’t result in a Scooby Doo-esque mystery, but we did all discuss how we were probably in a horror movie. And who’s part each of us had. We decided that:
Either Cie Cie or Paul would die first, because they were our only two minorities on the trip. We figured that it would probably be Paul, since he’s a frat boy.

Sorry Paul

Anna would die second, because she’s Anna. And also loud.

We then decided that one of the sorority girls would die next, which means either Julie, Tristan, straight hair Lauren, or April.

After that, things get a little hazy and we don’t know who would die next, but we figured that either Kevin or Nick (The two nicest guys on the trip) would be the killer, and the other would survive. I pointed out that I would either be the hero, or I would die the coolest death, so they agreed that I would die the coolest death, because the douchebag usually does anyway. Zack would probably die heroically to save his girlfriend, Shar, and that other than Shar, Natalie and the other nice guy would be the only survivors.

Unless Natalie was the real killer all along…

I'm pretty sure Nat did it.

Sites

In Salzburg, there a few major sites, like Mozart’s house or where they shot The Sound of Music. They also have a statue of Mozart, a pretty epic fountain, and a castle on the edge of a cliff. While in Salzburg, most of the woman visited the palace that was the set of The Sound of Music, a group of us guys decided to go check out Mozart’s house. Well, we checked out the front of it, and decided if we’d ever come back, we’d totally go in.

One day, Mozart's house, one day...

As I said, Altenmarkt was pretty much a ghost town while we were there, what with it being a ski resort town on a Sunday in the middle of the summer, But they still had tons of great views on the dozens of hiking trails. What was also cool about the hiking trails is that they had several different workout activities placed around the bottom of the mountain. Nick and I stopped on our way back down so that I could try to do the iron cross. I totally did it on my first try. Isn’t that right, Nick?

Nick, don't make me do something we'd both regret.

Anyway, closer to the top of the mountain we stumbled upon some freaky, Blair Witch Project shit. Check this out:

Well, that's not that terrif-AAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!

OK, just a little weird, right, well how about this? You could see figures through the cracks in between the boards, and I assumed they were real people trying to scare/ murder us. Where we were was incredibly quiet and insulated with enough alpine forest that no one would ever hear screams.

And on a unrelated note, those two straw people kind of look like they’re humping. Just sayin’.

Food

In Salzburg, I had a bratwurst hotdog with mustard. It was amazing. The bun was warm and flaky and the brat itself tied with the brat I had in Heidelberg. But I did burn my mouth on it a little, so I guess I should deduct a few points for it in that respect. Sorry Austria.

I also had schnitzel again. And again, it was delicious. I had it this time at our dinner in Altenmarkt with my entire group. I assume everyone who wasn’t a vegetarian loved it, and I’m glad that they didn’t know that schnitzel isn’t schnitzel  unless it is made out of veal. PETA, apparently, isn’t a thing over in Germany. So that’s two things that Central Europe has in common with the American South. I honestly don’t mind eating veal, but then again, I don’t care what animal I’m eating as long as the meat that came from it tastes good.

I would like a steak of that with a side of carrots and a plate of cheddar bay Seabiscuits.

Alcohol

Honestly, I don’t think I drank much in Austria. However it could be that I was so hammered the entire time I was in Austria that I don’t actually remember drinking anything.

Yeah, it was probably that second one.

People

Well, The Austrian I had the most contact with was our tourguide, Andy, who I mentioned above as being the greatest thing to come out of Austria since schnitzel (I really loved that stuff), but  I was worried that Andy’s awesomness wasn’t an accurate depiction of all Austrians. I mean, other countries don’t base their assumptions of America on only one American, do they?

Well, shit.

The people I met in Altenmarkt were pretty nice, and they tolerated me and my antics, like riding a bear through their lobby and locking Natalie in the steam room because she gave me lip, so I’ve got to say that, definitively, all Austrians are amazing. They should be the poster children of Europe, not those dirty, dirty French.

Overall Atmosphere

One word: Serene

Altenmarkt (because it was a weekend during the off season) was magically peaceful. I literally saw only one person in town and a total of three cars. This was a great stop on our trip because it finally gave us an opportunity to sit and relax. The views everywhere were beautiful,  and even though it was cold and rainy the two days we were there, the place was still majestic. And it’s even more majestic when you see it while riding a bear.

OK, Pictures:

FYI This is Mozart. Yes, I thought he was a pudgy woman too.

Nick is on the far right. We had just come back down from our hike. Clearly, we should have waited for this group.

White water rafting is so metal

The MEN

Peace out

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