Friday, July 6, 2012

School is out! (for the austrian kids)

Today was the first day that kids in Austria had no school (most schools in Austria and Germany share the same last day, although I'm told some schools differ).

My austrian father and I headed to Villach to meet up with some of the austrian kids to celebrate the end of school and to offer congrats on grade reports (that came out today). He first had to stop at a office in Villach so I was left on my own devices for about twenty mins. How much trouble can I get into in 20 mins?

Street performer in Hauptplatz standing next to St. Jacob's church

Doughnut I bought from a vendor in the street (farmer's) market

Of course it is filled with some sort of cream. I wonder what my diet in Austria says about me.....

Some of the vendor stalls at the market

I met my austrian father at Cafe Rainer where we settled down and waited for the austrian grandparents, aunt, cousin, brother and sister to show up. While we were waiting, my austrian father peered at the menu and said "too early for lunch" and then handed me the cake and ice cream menu telling me to look it over.

Once everyone showed up we started ordering a combination of cake and ice cream (some people ordering both).

My austrian brother focused on his cake

And my ice cream arrives! I think it is called a "Danemark"? Much bigger then I though it would be...

While we were eating my austrian aunt mentioned she had been to the U.S. before and how surprised she was of all the big people. I should probably pause at this point to explain why this was mentioned as a description of the U.S. (not the first time I have heard it). What you should know is that Austria is not filled with extremely thin people but a broad assortment of body sizes, shapes, and proportions. What you will have a hard time finding in Austria are people who are morbidly obese.

A quick search of statistics (2002 and 2003 stats had best comparisons) have U.S. with 30.6% of population obese versus Austria with 9.1% of the population obese (obese defined as Body Mass Index (BMI) over 30). In terms of people being defined as overweight, the numbers are a little closer with U.S. at 73% versus Austria at 50% (numbers from 2007, BMI=>25).

So far the only morbidly obese person I have seen in Austria was in Vienna, and it was both noticed and commented on by my austrian companion at the time. I am not entirely sure what to attribute to such a difference in obesity however I could guess it might have to do with the fact that Austrians walk quite a bit, don't eat a lot of fast food, only drink soda/pop as a treat, and their breads and desserts seem to contain a lot less sugar. Sometimes its hard to believe while I'm watching my austrian father and grandfather down a slice of cake and a ice cream sundae in one sitting but somehow the Austrians stay relatively fit without sacrificing their love of food.

My austrian father and I left the family in Villach and headed to the InterSpar to grab some groceries (bread, butter, tomatoes, water, etc.). We headed back to the house as the weather started to turn cloudy and by noon we had some good thunderstorms in Sattendorf. A friend of the family stopped by briefly (often family and friends stop by to visit) and the weather eventually cleared up around 7 pm.

I spent most of the evening rewriting my Salzburg wall post that somewhat spectacularly failed to publish last night with everything I had written (it is now fully updated as of this post, the 75% of the post that went missing I had to rewrite).

Tomorrow will probably be spent at the lake if the weather is good. From what I heard last a bunch of the family should be at the house tomorrow cooking and talking it up.


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