Us Europeans

Xenophobia in Austria

`Da Heim statt Islam` (No Islam at home), `Wien darf nicht Istanbul werden` (Wien shall not become Istanbul) and `Wir sauben Graz` (We clean Graz) leave little to the imagination. These lines serve as official slogans of the Freedom Party FPÖ, which can count on almost 20% of the votes if elections were to be held today.

Posted by Bruno

Up in the mountains

There are very few places in Innsbruck that do NOT offer a magnificent view on the surrounding mountains. Situated on the banks of the river Inn ? hence the name of the city ? Innsbruck provides a perfect gateway into the Tyrolian mountains. Coming from a country that is almost as flat as a pancake, I am obviously very eager to find out what life surrounded by mountains looks like.

Posted by Bruno

I`m back in Austria after a quick one-day visit to Munich. Now in Salzburg, I am asking young Austrians to tell me about the way they like to spend their spare time. Key ingredients: beer, enjoying and challenging nature, preferably through individual sports. And football..

Posted by Bruno

Bavaria at a glance

One of the explanations for Tyrolians to feel like they are different from average Austrians is that the most convenient connections from Tyrol to lower Austria either run trough the north of Italy, or through the South of Germany. On my way from Innsbruck to Salzburg, I am making a small detour to include Munich in the list of cities visited only to jump back into Austria tomorrow.

Posted by Bruno

The upcoming commemorations of the end of WWII remind me of the many statues I have seen across Europe, all the military graveyards, former concentration camps or other types of scars from the past. They all mean to express one and the same message: We never want this to happen again. No more slavery, no more colonization, no more territorial disputes, no more Nazism, Fascism, Racism. The memorials represent a frozen state of `Evil`, as if it is something that belongs to the past and has now been forever extinguished.

Posted by Bruno

The upcoming commemorations of the end of WWII remind me of the many statues I have seen across Europe, all the military graveyards, former concentration camps or other types of scars from the past. They all mean to express one and the same message: We never want this to happen again. No more slavery, no more colonization, no more territorial disputes, no more Nazism, Fascism, Racism. The memorials represent a frozen state of `Evil`, as if it is something that belongs to the past and has now been forever extinguished.

Posted by Bruno

More than nine months behind and less than three more months to go. Austria is country number 22 and the magic number 27 is slowly getting in sight. So, what is there to know about Austria? First of all: it`s not a province of Germany and it has nothing to do with Australia. As the Austrians like to say: there are no kangaroos in Austria.

Posted by Bruno

Fashion statements

Italians rarely ever lack a subject of conversation. In case it does happen, it only takes one person to start talking about food before the situation is restored. Or about fashion, as I learn today. Opinions and preferences about dress codes differ by the individual, but every Italian for sure has clear cut opinions about it.

Posted by Bruno

Italian extremes

It`s not a coincidence that my coverage about Italy ended up being divided in three parts. The first two parts had a logistical explanation. I simply needed to travel to the South of Italy to get to Malta, and then up again to catch a ferry to Greece. My third passage in Italy can be explained by the fanatic encouragements of Southern-Italians to also visit a few Northern cities, so I could see with my own eyes how much North Italy and South Italy are different from each other.

Posted by Bruno

European love story

Spending a study semester abroad is a perfect way to get to know a new country, new customs and new people. The European student program `Erasmus` was set up to facilitate exchanges between European universities. The experience of living in another country for one or two semesters is refreshing, confronting and intense. Because of this, `Erasmus` students tend to spend a lot of time together and create strong bonds between each other. Most of those turn out to be of temporary nature ? explaining the nickname `Orgasmus`, but there`s always a few that stretch beyond the exchange period.

Posted by Bruno