In Austria souvenir shops sell a sign that would look great on the mantelpiece in the good room, right next to your beloved yard glass and the portrait of your sadly departed blue ribbon greyhound . The little yellow sign has a picture of a kangaroo, subtitled “Austria – No Kangaroos”.
It really is just as well Austria doesn’t have any kangaroos because they would charge your €50 just to approach the ticket booth to the marsupial show, another €50 to talk to the salesman, who would then cavity search you and charge you €100 for your back row seat.
J-man and I should have fled the country after our first morning here. After arriving early in Vienna, a girl at our hostel recommended we go to a nearby traditional Viennese coffee shop for breakfast. After eating three croissants that magically appeared – unordered – with our coffees and all five (5) bread rolls that came with Joel’s plate of eggs, we felt fat and triumphant. Until we got our bill for €35 ($AUD1,000) which charged us for each roll we ate, each of the croissants we didn’t order, the milk in the tea and just a little extra to cover the waiter’s child support payments. Since then we’ve paid 40 cents for whipped cream that came with a slice of cake, €4 each for a breakfast made up of cold bread rolls and warm milk and we are fighting for a €26 refund from the Austrian rail system after we bought the wrong type of Vienna Card, an all-included transport and sightseeing pass, which has several different types all conveniently titled “The Vienna Card”. Well done, Austria, well done.
But here’s my favourite screw of all: On our first night here in lovely Salzburg we found a cheap Japanese restaurant for dinner. Once inside, the waiter took our drink orders then handed us a menu, which was completely different to the one displayed downstairs and much more expensive. The cheaper one was allegedly the lunch menu. As an act of revenge, we ordered only spring rolls and Miso soup. When our bill came we were pleasantly surprised to find that, with a glass of Coke and a wine, we owed close to €30. Ah, the waiter explained, that glass of wine I poured you? That was a double. It might be different in America, he said, but that’s how we do it here. Oh yeah? Go check if there’s kangaroos in Texas, jerk face.
So, I’ve taken solace in tasting some of the cheaper local delights:
Mmmm, sweet, sweet €2.50 erdnuss creme.