English Girl in Vienna

Cultural Commentator

Any Excuse to Have a Drink…

Further to the last blog, I remembered thinking it hilarious when, a few weeks ago, there was a large street sale very close to where I live. Two streets were closed and lots of people from the area had put up stalls and were selling bric-a-brac and old kids’ toys. We wandered through, determined not to buy any clutter and then had to laugh when in the middle of this residential jumble sale was a stall where you could get a beer on draught. It’d been put up especially because, obviously, where groups of Austrians are to gather, there absolutely must be beer on tap. A hot sausage stall never goes unappreciated either. It was ten in the morning and the modest stall was doing a roaring trade, showing that there is never a time when having a drink is inappropriate. And now that the weather is a little sunnier, the streets of the city centre are lined with people drinking a curious bright orange drink called an Aperol Spritz. It consists of Aperol (something a little like Campari), white wine and is topped off with sparkling water. It looks like Tizer and kind of tastes like it too, although it’s a little on the bitter side. Everyone loves sipping an Aperol Spritz in the afternoon and what always surprises me is although it is potent, no one ever seems to get drunk and want to have a fight. I always feel that the city is chilled out and people get merrily drunk and not aggressively so. They are, in my experience, good drunks, happy ones or sleepy ones.

The Viennese save their aggression for sober rush hours when they like to barge onto public transport, elbows at the ready, regardless of whether people have been able to get off first. Perhaps it is being in enclosed spaces such as on a bus, or in an underground station that makes the Viennese a little bolshy, because when they are outdoors with a wee drinkie in their hand, the world is a safe and conflict-free zone.

Boozy Tizer?

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