I have been to 68 countries. I plan to write about all of them, but I nearly forgot one.

Writing this series of 30 Travel Memories has been a massive undertaking. I’ve spent months writing the stories, editing pictures and planning the series. My goal is to fill gaps in the blog and write about countries I haven’t previously written about.

Once this series is complete, I have written about all but two of the 68 countries that I’ve visited. (Posts about Luxembourg and Iceland will soon follow.) However, I nearly missed one country completely.

As I was finishing this series, I realized I had not written about Austria. I decided to fix the shortcoming with these recollections.

random generators for traveling
Five darts on the map of Europe. The one in the middle landed in Austria.

First Visit to Austria

I have been to Austria twice. I have even mentioned both visits in previous Travel Memories. But for some reason, I had forgotten to plan a separate post about the fcountry.

My first visit came in 2012. I picked destinations for my first Interrail trip by throwing darts on the map of Europe. One of the darts hit Feldkirch, a small town on the western end of Austria. I’ve mentioned this visit on my story about Liechtenstein (see Travel Memory #6).

My stay in Feldkirch was interesting. It was my first pre-planned Couchsurfing experience. I stayed with local Couchsurfer Sarah who had traveled in Asia in the past. In hindsight, I think we’d have much more to talk about now.

Feldkirch is a town of 30,000 people. It is rarely visited by travelers, and Austrians are often surprised when I say I’ve been there. It’s like going to the United States and only visiting Vermont.

I remember being amazed by the landscape of Feldkirch. There was a mountain close to my host’s apartment. To me, it felt amazing that one could see such a mountain from their own home. I talked about this with my host. She said she was used to the mountains.

I also changed trains in Vienna and spent a few hours there. Unfortunately I lost my camera a bit later (Travel Memory #21), so I don’t have any photos from my stay in Austria.

Scratching the Surface

I returned to Austria a year later on a project called On the Road of Dreams (Travel Memory #3). My friend Olli and I spent a day in Vienna before we were supposed to continue our journey to Croatia. I say “supposed to” because we boarded a wrong train and ended up in Romania (Travel Memory #5).

When I’ve been to Vienna, the city has felt too polished to my taste. In my recollections, the city center feels fancy yet lifeless. I haven’t felt l like I belonged there.

However, I have never been to Vienna overnight, so my perspective is very limited. I should fix that at some point.

If I spent more time in Vienna, I might understand more of the city and its mentality. When I first visited Austria, I was 20 years old. Perhaps I could appreciate its history and culture more at an older age?