Thoughts on Austria

We followed the R3 Inn route (Inn being the name of the river out of Passau) and the Alpe di Adria Cycle route from Salzburg to Vienna. We spent a lot of the time on country roads which was great and the rest of the time on Alpe di Adria where the signage left a lot to be desired. We discovered that although there is supposed to be a Eurovelo Route with the appropriate signage, sometimes the local route took precedence and the Eurovelo signage disappears. Who knew?

We found campsites to be few and far between in Austria. However, there appeared to be lots of youth hostels. The youth hostels were not cheap, but a lot cheaper than hotels and a welcome alternative to camping, especially as we were in the Tirol and Alps.

The scenery was beautiful and the Towns and cities were clean, although the Cities did have a fair amount of grafitti.  The Austrian Tirol region is primarily geared for the winter season and skiing. There were lots of small towns and villages that had guesthouses and hotels. In the summer they gear their tourism more to walkers than cyclists. We found the cycling routes very good, especially around Salzburg.

We really enjoyed our tourist days in Salzburg.

We found the Austrians to be very helpful and other touring cyclists stopped and chatted, which is one of the main reasons we like touring.

Austria took in more than 1 percent of its population in 2015 when Europe’s influx of migrants began, many of them fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa. Initial sympathy for the new arrivals soon turned to alarm as their numbers mounted. The Austrian government recently enacted restrictions on becoming Austrian citizens, ceasing cash from migrants so that they can pay their own way and ceasing cell phones so the government can see where the migrants came from. “We have very deliberately set ourselves the goal of fighting against illegal migration but also against the misuse of asylum,” Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told a news conference after the weekly cabinet meeting.

We spent an evening talking to young people who worked together in a large company producing semi-conductors, it used to be part of Siemens. The company employs people from all over the world. At our table there was an Austrian, English, Canadian and Bulgarian.   We had an interesting conversation on the education system in Austria. University is free in Austria for Austrians. Foreign students used to get free University education, now they have to pay to attend University in Austria. We also talked about the communist government in Bulgaria. Angelina said that some of the older people miss the regime, because everything was provided for them. They had education, work and homes. They were also able to travel within the communist countries including Cuba and some areas of South America. We had a very interesting conversation discussing capitalism and communism.

The company they all work for pays very well, as it is difficult to get people to work in a small town. However, they all agreed that the area around Villach was great for hiking, cycling and climbing.

We liked Austria.

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