It has been over a month since I last posted; time flies – especially when I am back in the classroom and papers waiting to be graded are piling up. I also needed to take a break from posting since my blog postings could have easily turned into a rant about missing Italy in particular and Europe in general. And since the semester has started again and I have met a new group of students, I am once again the oddity – the Austrian teaching in the US. Of course, this also means that I hear a version of the question “So what is it like – this Austria?” Well, how can one describe a whole country in a couple of minutes?
I try to avoid the well-known impressions of Vienna and Salzburg and of course Sound of Music (which very few Austrians know about; I learned about Sound of Music from a Scot on my semester abroad in Scotland, and this knowledge has come in handy when talking with Americans about Austria – but that is a story for another time). Well, so what is Austria?
Austria is centuries-old castles and grand palaces.
Austria means rugged mountains hugging crystal-clear lakes.
And since Austria is small, these sights are compressed to have castle, and mountains, and lake all in one view.
Austria is orderly.
And most of all, Austria is colorful; it is rich greens.
It is ultramarine and chartreuse in lively contrasts.
And when the skies are grey, the buildings stand out in vibrant orange, burnt sienna, and playful pinks.
So most of all, Austria for me is color; that is the five-second answer to what Austria is like.