Running out of Austrian schillings in the pre-Euro, pre-ATM days
10/25/1981 - 10/26/1981 73 °F
So far on my backpacking adventure, I had visited England, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany. I was on my way to Switzerland and decided to cut through the panhandle part of Austria. So, I spent two nights in Bregenz, Austria. Why? Well, you have to understand I really didn't know how to travel back then. I was 18, and never been out of the country before I graduated high school a few months earlier. I was simply following the Youth Hostel map, and making my way from city to city across Europe. To me, Austria was simply another country to tick off my list.
I was not in the habit of writing travelogues, yet. And I skipped composing one for Austria a decade-plus later when I created my Worldwidemike website. But now that I am transferring all those website entries over to my Travellerspoint blog, I decided to finally do one for Austria -- 38 years after the fact! So, what do I remember about Austria? I remember climbing a mountain (probably a hill) on the outskirts of town. I remember halfway up being passed up rapidly by an elderly Austrian man. I clearly remember thinking, "What the heck? I am young and this old dude goes chugging up past me like I am standing still!"
I also remember gorging myself in a McDonalds upon arrival in Austria. This was in pre-ATM days. You had to visit a bank to exchange money. As I was on my way out of Germany, I was budgeting my deutsche marks, but ended up cutting it too close and running out of cash. I spent a last hungry day in Germany, and then hitch-hiked to Austria the next morning. As soon as the banks opened in Bregenz, I exchanged my American dollar travelers cheques for Austrian schillings and took my new-found wealth to a local McDonalds. I was SO hungry! Travel was MUCH tougher back in the days before ATM and credit cards...ha, ha!