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April 16th 2015

Cross Border Comparisons

Karl Zeiner, (half Brit, half Austrian) from Innsbruck chose the motto “The Grass is always Greener on the other side” for his cross border comparisons. The talk was accompanied by a slide show that helped to underline his views.
For those who did not already know Hazel’s Half Blood Prince, he started out with a short CV: Born and grown up in Innsbruck, University Studies in Innsbruck, Freiburg and Cambridge, a job with one of the British Big Four of Banking and now a self-employed Triathlon coach in Scotland. Those have been so far the important stages of his life.
Although he was quite confident as to his Britishness when he went to work in London, he did make some negative experience; in fact the one that all tourists make: London is a great place to visit but not really a pleasant one to live in. The Tyrolean country boy missed something. Cambridge was better, but Edinburgh was and is definitely best. It has allowed him to integrate his beloved sport into his life. What is more important: Setting up your own business is so much easier in the UK.
But there are other differences .
However, Karl made it quite clear that most so-called differences are clichés and showed some great slides proving that snow does exist in Scotland (and England) and that the Austrian summers are by no means eternal sunshine.

arl also highlighted the disadvantages of the great British passion of queuing: What happens at the bus stop where buses stop for different destinations?

It was good to hear that British food and drink can be excellent and yet
* Austrians go out and tend to spend an evening together at a specific restaurant. Besides, we are waited on all evening
* Britons book a table for two hours (or even less) and then may start pub-crawling. But everywhere they will have to go to the bar for their drink
And then there are the many different clubs you (have to) join. ….
The sportsman also pointed out the difference in mountaineering: Austrian mountains have paths (normally well marked with all sorts of indications) Britons have to find their way through “nature”. Perhaps this is the reason why explorers and adventurers are more frequent among the Brits.
Last but not least came the “divided nation” problem: A Brit is either English, Scottish, Welsh or Irish, so is football.
Well, Karl could have gone on for hours had Hazel not interrupted her son reminding him of the time. Questions time allowed for a few more facts: What does Karl take with him from Austria (Fleischkäse, Landjäger), what does he bring with him from Britain (Typhoo Tea) ? … All in all, a very pleasant evening.

Annemarie Kirchner

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