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Two Weeks, Ten Countries: a backpacker's itinerary

Just over two weeks spent traveling through ten European countries. It was completely worth every minute spent planning the trip - but you're welcome to save yourself some time by stealing parts of our itinerary. We used an Interrail flexipass.  It was valid for 10 days of travel within 22, and ... read more

Anjali Nirmalan

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GermanyGermany

GreeceGreece

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Lying in Church: The Backpacker's Religion

My friend Jade likes to lie in church. On the ground. It gets tricky in a house of worship; sometimes she has to settle for kneeling.  In the Hagia Sofia, she had barely a minute to soak in the 6th-century dome before a security guard dragged her up.   But ... read more

Anjali Nirmalan

AustriaAustria

How to Enjoy a Bierzelt Like a Local

A Bierzelt, or beer tent in English, is best described in its simplest form: a gigantic tent, in which one can order a beer...or five. In Ausseerland, a region in the northwest of the state of Styria and stretching into Upper Austria, beer tents are an important part of spring- ... read more

Alaina Rose

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Music

Bring a scarf to the opera

Vanessa Quirk

03 Feb 2009

Austria

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Vanessa Quirk

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Vienna is known for its classical music scene, which you can take part in for an amazingly cheap price. You may have heard that on the day of a performance, you can get ridiculously discounted student tickets in the standing room section (I saw Puccini's Tosca for four Euros!), but you probably haven't heard of the golden scarf rule. It's quite easy - just bring a scarf with you to the opera, find a good spot in the standing room section (it's first come, first serve), and wrap your scarf on the banister to mark your territory. Voila! You've officially carved out your spot for the rest of the night - now you're free to wander around the opera house to your heart's content.

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Slang

Austrian German: It Ain't Your Mama's Hochdeutsch

Alaina Rose

18 May 2010

Austria

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Alaina Rose

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Before I left for Austria, my German advisor warned me about the dialect here, saying it was much different than the Hochdeutsch (standard German) I learned in school, so I felt prepared. ... Ha, ya right. From my arrival until this very minute, I've had a difficult time understanding the Austrians. The dialect even varies from village to village! (Though it has, admittedly, gotten easier.) While it's damn near impossible for an outsider to learn fluent dialect, there are a few words you should know before arrival... Grüß Gott or Grüß di - Hello, Pfiat di or Wiederschauen - Goodbye, der Oachkatzlschwoaf - Squirrel's Tail (very important!), Fad - Boring, Most importantly, stay patient and keep your ears open!

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