Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Austria is different

Geese in flight - Hungary
Sometime I look around me and think that the world is completely mad. After a moment's reflection I realize that in fact it is.
There is a forum called Virtual Vienna Net where expatriates exchange ideas and information and general banter. 
A week or so a go someone posted - saying that they had some friends coming to Vienna and were there places they could go that were smoke free. 
This prompted a few rational responses before the Smoking Fascists arrived and I watched in fascination as the usual diatribe ensued from the wingnuts:
Smokers have rights; A Big Mac can kill you too; why don't you ban guns in America; car exhausts are just as bad; if you don’t like it here then go back to where you came from etc etc.
It is a strange country. You just cannot have a sensible conversation about smoking. Even non-smoking Austrians will go to the barricades to maintain the rights of smokers to pollute every corner of the country.
I used to think that it was because Austrians just don’t want to be told what to do, wanted to be independent, and demand the right to make their own decisions.
Nowadays I just think they are Fuckwits. 
Anybody who demands the right to be poisoned does not deserve the right to be able to make their own decisions. 
But things are looking up marginally. 
I July is the date that smaller establishments have to decided whether to be smoking or non-smoking - and larger ones have to have a separate smoke free area. 
Well the first will work just fine and our favorite cafe, Cafe Diglas in the Wollzeile has gone entirely smoke free. Bliss - you will see me there a lot from now on.
Having a smoke free area in most restaurants is like having a pee-free area in a pool. It does not work.
But that’s Vienna. Austria is different.


  1. It has worked here. I struggle with the evil weed but still do not like smelling other peoples smoke when I am eating. I like going into pubs now and not having sore eyes in 10 minutes. I still recall being on a flight from London to Egypt where there was a smoking section - real useful.

  2. love this post - made me laugh. we've had a total smoking ban in all restaurants/pubs/cafe's etc in england for quite a while now so it was quite a shock coming here... and the smoke is still something i haven't got used to. it certainly is a debate that will rage on and on i'm sure!

  3. I discovered Diglas in 1995 when I was staying at Pension Domizil in the Schulerstrasse, and it was my favorite cafe. So glad to hear they've gone smokeless! Now I'll know where to find you next time we're in Wien...

  4. A pee free area in a pool. Love that! But hey, at least you'll have a few smoke free places now, that can't be bad.

  5. No I'm not really complaining. Having Diglas and a few other places totally smoke free is wonderful. It is indeed my favorite cafe. A waiter smiled at me there once - I think it was me - maybe he had just won the lottery.

  6. Yes I love Diglas as well. And the other good news about them going smoke free is that it should be easier to get a table there now, because all the smokers will go somewhere else!

  7. I was there on Sunday - empty!

  8. Maybe we should move our offices there?
    Imagine, no more empty fridge, but a daily changing menu instead.
    And coffee aplenty.