Letter from Austria – #2 – Working hard for tourists is a way of life

When you enter an Austrian village in the mountains at 13.00h it appears to be sleepy… but that is far from the truth. Shops, building workers, farmers are just taking a break at the same time for lunch.

From 07.00 to 18.00 and later for restaurants and hotels, there is a hive of activity.

People work here because they are entrepreneurs.

There are no big hotels chains, no huge Kesko’s or S-markets. There are very few big companies in these places.

Most of the businesses are family run. They keep their places beautiful, clean and tidy. Flowers, in summer, are everywhere in boxes and in gardens. The sides of buildings have their names proudly written in attractive traditional style.

There are few if any unsightly buildings or gardens. It is more than a civic duty to keep everything looking nice. It is the way to attract thousands of paying tourists to come again and again.

We have spent the last week hiking along paths that are carefully maintained and well kept. Small log huts and huge stone “Hütte” on the top of the mountains have welcomed us with friendly service and delicious meals and drinks. The ski lifts are open for quick transfers up and down the mountain-side for free with an electronic tourist card.

Buses run on time between villages for free with the same cards.

It may appear sleepy at 13.00h, but underneath there is careful planning and a lot of hard work to keep the paying tourist happy enough to return, time and time again.

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