The Austrian People, Salzburg
In Salzburg the people are very polite and all the people that I met spoke English (although some fluently, others only a bit). However, I think that when visiting another country you should try a few words in their language. So here are some basics in German:
Hello/Hi - Guten Tag/Hallo
Goodbye/Bye - Auf Widersehen/Tschuss
Good Morning - Guten Morgen
Good Evening - Guten Abend
Good Night - Guten Nacht
Do you speak English? - Sprechen Sie Englisch?
Yes/No - Ja/Nein
Please - Bitte
Thanks - Danke
In general the people that I met in Salzburg were very polite, especially the people associated with public transport (see my ‘Transport Tips’ for more information). But I also liked the fact that one morning as I was waiting for a bus, another lady approached the bus stop and said ‘Guten Morgen’, so I replied in kind. Usually where I come from you may acknowledge someone else approaching a bus stop with a smile, or sometimes if they are elderly you will say hello, but most of the time we keep to ourselves. Salzburg, to me, seemed like a very friendly place.
Austrians are very reserved people... more so in Salzburg than Vienna. Don't be loud or obnoxious and don't overwhelm a local by asking too many questions or trying to get too conversational. If the Austrian looks uncomfortable talking with you, stop. Also, if you're looking for English speakers, try the young Austrians first. They usually like to use the English and are more willing to try.
It's not very easy to find friends in this city, but once you are in contact with the people here, it can be a start for a good friendship. Many people are a bit prejudicted against foreigners. Exceptions are people working in touristic sectors.
Principal dramaturgical ideas and artistic focus 2002 - 2006
Salzburg has always been a crossroads between different cultural tendencies: German traditions came under Italian influence and merged with the lifestyle characteristic of the old Habsburg monarchy.
Salzburg is a unique City which host both the very old and the Very Educated. So always be prepared to represent your country with pride but not arrogance. You may end up making yourself look like a fool. Keep an open mind and learn from their long standing success.
I have found that most people under the age of 30 speak English and German, so if you speak either of those languages, you will have no problems finding someone with answers to your questions. Don't be afraid to ask someone what you are looking at, or where something is.
Sound of Music might be one of the most famous films but most of the population in Germany, Austria and Switzerland either haven't heard of it or dislike it. So it might not be appropriate to talk too enthusiastically about the film before local people as it does contain quite a lot of inaccuracies.
Austria on the whole has a high standard of living, in fact Austria is the EU’s fourth richest country. Crime is relatively low, making it a very safe country to both live and visit.
There is no concept of root beer on the European continent. They don't understand it ("You have beer for CHILDREN?") and they can't stand the taste. If you have some, treasure it.