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A little more than an hour later, we arrived in Wels where one of Ulrike's Austrian cousins lives with his family. His son now manages the family business, the Hotel and the Gasthof Maxlhaid , located on the outskirts of Wels. Wels, the seventh-largest city in Austria with 60, inhabitants, lies at the Traun River, about 20 miles from Linz. It was my first visit to Wels and I was eager to learn more about its history.
Important during the Roman age, prosperous during the Middle Ages, devastated during the 30 Years' War, Wels became an important manufacturing center during the industrial revolution. However over the years, new industries have settled there and the city has also gained prominence with its trade fairs and congresses.
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For a small fee, people could visit any of the area's participating museums, many of which stayed open until midnight. We took advantage of that opportunity and visited several museums in town, including the City Museum. The City Museum is located in a castle, which for centuries belonged to the Habsburg family. Many artifacts from that time are exhibited, together with documents, models, and audio-visual presentations of the city's and area's history.
One exhibit shows the many different bread forms bakers have used over time. Another one shows the various tools and machines the agricultural industry had developed in Austria. Our understanding of the Upper Austrian dialect was also tested we passed! The museum, a longterm hobby, is his love and passion. The history of the horse railway is quite interesting.
That was the northern route of the horse railway, which opened in Franz Zola received a license from Emperor Franz in to continue the southern route from Linz to Gmunden. However, when his financing fell through, Zola left for the Foreign Legion and settled later in France. Subsequently, the southern route of the railway was completed by others in The miles of track from Gmunden to Budweis could then meet their real purpose: transporting goods, especially salt from Gmunden to Bohemia.
The station Maxlhaid, at the location of the current hotel, was one of several stations where horse changes occurred and a tavern already existed there in By , however, steam engines replaced the horses and the horse railway became history. See the map above and the German Wikipedia entry for further details of the Budweis-Gmunden horse railway. The next day, we visited Linz, the capital of Upper Austria. It is Austria's third-largest city with a population of over , Linz is only 19 miles from the Czech border.
Today Linz remains one of Austria's main economic centers. Its harbor on the Danube one of four in Austria attracts logistic and trading enterprises as well as manufacturing plants along the river banks. This year angels were the main topic. It was all both fun and instructive. We learned about the history of angels in different religions, and in literature and art. The views across the roofs of Linz from one of the wooden towers were spectacular.
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Our short stay did not allow us to visit any of the many museums along the banks of the Danube, for example, the Schlossmuseum, the Lentos Art Museum, the Ars Electronica Center, but we got a glimpse of them during our walk through the city and along the Danube. Seeing the Danube wind its way through Linz prompted me to look a little further into this great European river. Indeed, with a length of about miles, the Danube is the second longest European river after the Volga. And, as no other river in the world, it touches 10 different countries on its way: From its source in the Black Forest in Germany, it flows through Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Romania, Croatia, Bulgaria, Moldavia, and Ukraine, where it empties into the Black Sea.
Thereby even more European states were linked through their own connected waterways. On the map above, the Rhine and Main are shown in green, The Main-Danube Canal in red, and the navigable stretch of the Danube in blue.
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We would be amiss if we didn't mention the poster child of German compound words:. However, it even pales against this one which contains 79 letters and, reportedly, holds the Guinness Book of World Records. A few days later found us walking through the streets of Vienna, a city we both know well. But you can always find something new to do in Vienna!
This time we happened to walk by the Austrian National Library and were attracted by the exhibition about the life of Emperor Franz Joseph I. It was held in remembrance of the th anniversary of his death in The exhibition described his life from young child to teenager, young man, media star, and statesman, with portraits, letters, news reports.
The Austrian National Library is not only the largest library in Austria with 7. It forms part of the Hofburg Palace and everywhere you look, there are sculptures, frescos, marble statues, and paintings. So next time you go to Austria, consider going a little of the beaten track. And don't forget, when you come to Vienna, take a look at the Austrian National Library.
Bio: Peter Rettig is the co-founder of Gamesforlanguage. He is a lifelong language learner, growing up in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. In our previous post, we focused on the bilingualism of many Fribourgers. The German spoken in Fribourg is clearly of the Swiss German variety, with a few French expressions mixed in at times.
And while Swiss German is the generic label for the dialect, there are plenty of regional differences that a foreigner would only detect after a while. When you're traveling in countries where you speak the language, you may notice that both formal and informal greetings often vary from region to region.
This week we are exploring a few Swiss German expressions we encountered while skiing in the "Berner Oberland". Above picture of "Saaner's Loch. It was the 1 song in Switzerland in for 10 weeks, made it to 3 in Germany, and sold over 1. Even if you know some German, you'll have a hard time understanding the simple refrain.
But listening to it a few times, you'll start distinguishing verbs, their grammatical modifications. You'll also pick up a few Swiss German idiosyncrasies. Sagget sie, wie labbet sie, wie sind sie de so dra?
Sagen Sie, wie leben Sie, wie sind Sie denn so dran? Tell me, how's life, how's it going? Sagen Sie, wie leben Sie, wie geht es ihrem Mann? Tell me, how's life, how's your husband doing? Quick note: There is no standard written form of Swiss German. Letters and letter combinations are mostly attempts to express the way words sound. Just listen to the Swiss German language melody.
This week the public schools in the canton of Bern have vacation, and besides a little French, we hear mostly Swiss German in the villages and on the mountain between Zweisimmen and Gstaad. Even for us German speakers, some of the Swiss German we come across is a little hard to understand. Briefly: In general, the dialects spoken in Switzerland collectively called Swiss German belong to the Alemannic variety of German.
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May God greet you. This greeting is used mainly in the Zurich area and in the east of Switzerland. People even greet you as you're walking in the village. Today, we ate on the terrace of a mountain restaurant.
Lit: What may it be? Meaning: What can I get you? Lit: Was it good? Meaning: How was the meal? It was a beautiful, sunny day and the terrace was crowded. So, as is typical for many European countries, we shared our table with other restaurant guests. Don't Despair. If you're just learning German and are trying to understand Swiss German, don't despair.
Even native Germans have a tough time understanding rapidly spoken Swiss German, even more so speaking it. But as with any language or dialect you want to learn, there are many ways to do it. We have not tried any of these yet, so let us know what you think below.