The first in a series of my own personal top eight entries on the list of awesome things about the alpine republic. Since Mozart, Almdudler, Jägermeister, Manner and Reinhard Fendrich all refused to sponsor me, none of them appear in the top eight*.
*If they were to reconsider my generous cash-for-comment offer, I may consider extending the list. Just saying. Wolfgang Amadeus. If that is your real name.
1. Having access to a 83,872 km2 freezer
It is a little-known fact that if you live far enough away from either the Tropic of Cancer or Capricorn, the entire outdoors can be used as a giant, state-of-the-art fridge/freezer combination for at least 6 months of the year.
This glorious fact was first illuminated during my heady days in Vienna on student exchange, when I began to wonder why, in winter, my fellow dorm colleagues would open the window to get the orange juice.
I caught on to this revolutionary windowsill-as-refrigeration shelf idea pretty quick, and soon experimented with placing everything from vodka (relatively hip) to leftover pasta bake (less hip) outside, in the process thwarting the twin fiends of a tiny communal refrigerator and hungry and unscrupulous study colleagues.
Take a moment, if you will, to consider the possibilities of living with permafrost ready to knock on the door any minute. Firstly, and clearly most vital, no need to fill up the bath with ice for those frat/fratess parties! Crate upon crate of beer and mineral water can be kept frosty on the balcony till, say, about the end of November, beyond which you are risking heineken slushies.
This point, in turn, marks the beginning of frozen goods season, when you can stack an unlimited number of ice-cream containers outside till the end of winter, meaning you can get as fat as you like despite only having a freezer the size of a shoebox.
All of this is an enormous novelty for someone who grew up in Sydney, where the ambient temperature for 9 months of the year is high enough to curdle dairy products on the way home from the corner store.
Here in Österreich, from about October to March, you can shop for the frozen groceries of your choice and drop by a friend’s house for coffee , secure in the knowledge that you will never experience that moment of panic where you sit bolt upright and have to translate ‘Shit! The groceries are still in the car! Everything’ll be fucken melted!’