Staying With A Local Family In Vienna
Journal Entry 12
If you follow us on Instagram, then you probably already have an idea about what we’re currently doing. If not (but you really should!), we’ve been staying with a local family in Vienna. Here is what we signed up for!
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WE ARE LIVING WITH A FAMILY FULL-TIME!
We found this beautiful family on the platform we are most grateful for – workaway.info – a platform we honestly can’t imagine travelling without! It’s not just for the free food and accommodation – it’s much more than that! Thanks to Workaway, we are able to get so close to the local people, and obviously the local life. We get to do so many activities that would either cost a lot of money or else really difficult to actually do.
The family consists of five people, that is if you don’t count Fio the cat and their tortoise … so, you might get the idea that the house is not exactly peaceful and quiet. It’s loud and there’s chaos all around. But we don’t really mind … in all honesty, we love it!
Things We Love & Admire
We admire them so much as a family! The parents are both self-employed and their 3 kids (aged 10, 8 and 6) are unschooled. Therefore, the main priority is basically to spend as much quality time together as a family as possible … which is always a fun idea for the kids – they get to spend a lot of time in nature, they meet people regularly, we get to prepare meals together, work in the garden and come up with numerous fun ideas to spend the day.
At home, the family’s vegetarian and whenever possible, they choose vegan products. And after getting to know them a bit better, they told us that some of them weren’t always strictly vegetarian outside the house.
The baseline of their thought is to lower the consumption of meat and to increase the appreciation of the meat itself when it’s consumed. They believe that eating meat should be something special, more like a feast, not something done on a day to day basis – something that for most people can be viewed as ‘normal’.
Another thing we admire so much about them is that they do their best in being self-sustainable. The house is mainly powered by solar energy, and one of their main use of transport are bikes. Vienna is transforming into a very bike-friendly city, and car drivers on the road are one of the most respectful we’ve ever seen. Really, the discipline is sublime!
And Finally … The Location & Community
This family lives on the outskirts of Vienna, surrounded by greenery and fresh air. However, getting to the heart of the city requires just a 45-minute combination of public transport – so in reality, you’ve got the best of both worlds!
It’s not just the location, it’s the community that really attracted us. For starters, the people living in this small town are so nice! On our second day, we went out just for a short stroll, in an attempt to explore our new surroundings. It was Sunday, so the majority of bars and cafes were closed – all apart from this small cute pub very close to the centre. We sat there and ordered a beer, and as soon as everyone heard that we’re not speaking German, they immediately turned all the attention towards us. They were all so excited that ‘tourists’ were visiting their small town, asking us all sorts of questions. Basically, we ended up explaining all our travels to them.
Also, the family is part of a community garden from where they get most of their fruits and vegetables. The field consists of 1 hectare of land, which around 25 people from all around town is responsible for. Everybody gives his/her input in the work, and in return, everybody is free to take whatever is needed in their household. What’s so beautiful is that there’s no selfishness involved. It’s not like a competition of who takes the most stuff, but more of a community thing where everybody takes his responsibility very seriously.
The Experience So Far
We can’t say we feel like guests. as from the very beginning, they made us feel like family! We even got keys, for God’s sake!
Staying with a local family in Vienna has got all sorts of perks attached to it. They made it a point for us to feel comfortable, grab whatever we want (whenever we want) from the kitchen and basically behave as if we were at home. We really love it when we hang out together, especially on those nights when we drink beer (or Schnapps), chat and play PlayStation – Charlon could never get tired of that!
They invite us everywhere! On our very second day, our hosts’ father was so excited to take us on his small inflatable boat for a tour around the nearby streams. He picked us up with his car, took us to his favourite starting point, inflated the boat and off we went. We were 4 people and we had a blast! It’s so beautiful – just paddling along the currents, side by side with families of swans just cheering for us. Yep … SWANS!
What Job Do We Do In Return?
You can’t really call what we do a job. They’re basically things we would be doing if we were living in our apartment, standard stuff such as general cleaning, laundry, ironing, cooking, vacuuming or else playing and spending time with the kids (okay, we wouldn’t do this back home).
We worked on a schedule together, made up of five ‘working days’, for five hours each. They really respect our free time and the activities we want to do in our time here – such as Charlon’s stadium hops around the city. It’s been a total blast – so good, we’re barely thinking about where we’re going next!