Note: This blog is part of a series on a recent bicycle tour across Austria, along the Danube. To read from the beginning, click here.
Some things were weird in Austria. This is stuff we all noticed and puzzled over, never figuring out the whys:
– Queen or king-sized beds are not a thing in Austrian inns. The bed frames are queen-ish-sized with two twin-ish-sized mattresses and two twin-ish-sized comforters.
– Basics on the dinner table, such as water, salt and pepper, or butter, are not common there either. If you want pepper on your steak or salad, you must ask the server to bring it to you; likewise, water and butter. In some restaurants, we were charged 45 euros for a glass of water; water was free, however, with red wine. At our inn in St. Agatha, my brother Allan asked our waiter, Benji, to bring “lots of butter” to go with the baskets of warm, freshly baked breads. Benji brought our table of eight six pats of butter. “Could we have more please?” Allan asked, repeating, “Lots of butter.” We got four more pats.
– Toilets do not have tanks, and the bowl is directly connected to the wall. You flush by pushing one of two metal plates above the toilet, on the wall—one for a smaller flow of water, one with a larger flow for, you know, bigger jobs.
– Weirdest of all: shower curtains were also not a thing. Bathrooms had showers with no barriers. This meant there was water basically everywhere. Odd, as well as dangerous.
– While it was wonderful as opposed to weird, it bears noting: An Austrian breakfast is a feast. The morning meal was free with every one of our stays, and each spread was as fabulous as the last. I’m talking massive cheese and meat trays—brie, gouda, cheddar, cheese spreads, bologna, pickle-and-pimento loaf (a personal favorite), ham, salami, pepperoni—with olives, peppers, pickles, breads of all kinds, pastries that would make you drool. And oh, also you could have omelets made to order, or scrambled eggs, bacon, and sausage. This is why, even though we biked over 250 miles in eight days, Jacques and I gained weight.