“We excuse nothing – Welcome to Vienna”
Every city got its image. You know like Paris is the city of light, Chicago the windy city and New York the city that never sleeps. I’m not acquainted with any particular adjective that they’ve given Vienna but if I had to choose one I’d say it’s the grumpy city. For those who live or spend a lot of time in Vienna, this is the most obvious and accurate description. And for the ones who just thought “what is she talking about?” – stay tuned! I’ll fill you in!
When I call Vienna “the grumpy city” I don’t mean this in any kind of disrespect! It’s the opposite actually. We are not necessarily unfriendly, we are just distant – minding our own business. We are not overly helpful (no British vibes here, sorry) and we aren’t the kind of people who hold it in if we are furious. If you are being an idiot – we let you know (no hard feelings though). We love to complain – everywhere and about everything. In Winter, it’s too cold, in Summer too hot. And if we don’t have anything to complain about – we complain about that. It’s that simple. And still, it’s not because we are naturally moody people or because we can’t appreciate anything. It’s more because of an attitude, you might even call it a lifestyle. It’s what makes us Viennese.
I’m not originally from Vienna though, I moved here in September 2016 for my studies. But even before I first set foot in Austria’s capital city, I knew what to expect. Rumor had it that Viennese people weren’t exactly known for their excessive friendliness. I usually don’t really care about rumors (especially since I come from a super tiny town where everybody knows everyone and gossip is omnipresent). With Vienna, however, it didn’t take me long to realize that there was some truth to this one. I wasn’t shocked, I was just surprised. With time I got used to it. I got so used to it that when I went to New York City and some guy yelled at me “MOVE IT” on the subway I actually felt like I was home.
And this is exactly what I am trying to tell you! Vienna and its citizens might be grumpy – but in a very likable way. It’s who we are and what makes us Viennese. It’s a characterization that might have brought stereotypes with it but we don’t try to change it because we take it with humor. What’s more, we aren’t internally mad or unhappy – we are just being Viennese. We actually have a great sense of humor (not biased at all :P). Viennese people love to joke around, tell funny stories and make their friends laugh. Even when we come across as grumpy to others we still spread some sort of humor. This is exactly what connects us and also what we get reminded of frequently.
When I came back from Lisbon I wanted to take the train to Carinthia. I stood on the escalator at the train station, suitcase in one hand, juice in the other, minding my own business. Suddenly, a woman rushed by, turning her head and yelling “EXCUSE ME” at me and some guy who stood directly behind me. I did not even notice that he was there till I heard his voice yelling back at the woman ” WE EXCUSE NOTHING! WELCOME TO VIENNA!”. He and I started laughing and this was the moment I knew; I was back home.
Now it’s your turn! Feel free to leave a comment about your city and what description would fit the best! 🙂