Amstetten is the most extremely average place in Austria. It’s a largish commuter town in between Linz and Vienna. You have no reason to visit it. Its main claim to fame is that Josef Fritzl lived there. I was there to teach in one of the schools as a visiting teacher.

This glass in the hotel door is nice though, eh? This seemingly derelict barn was the hotel’s neighbour however. I would have been very tempted to get this plate set from the charity shop if it weren’t €60 and it weren’t impossible to bring back to the UK unbroken. Local ice cream shop sign. Yes, that is an eggnog sundae. (For Americans- German eggnog is pretty much the same as Advocaat and is alcoholic). Spaghetti Eis is Mr Whippy extruded into spaghetti form in a similar manner to Play Dough, served with strawberry sauce. You want calories? We got ’em. (Also upside down apostrophes) Peeping tom 80s street art. A little stream of the River Ybbs. Eventually it becomes part of the Danube. Eventually.

It was also carnival time in Amstetten. It was all very normal after Wallern Carnival. “Graveyard of the Living Dead”. A least there was one tractor? And the chicken people were blasting out a glam rock song that seemed to have lyrics about chickens. It was Shrove Tuesday, so I had pancakes as dessert. The Austrians have donuts instead. I bravely celebrated both culinary traditions. Fashion!  A good bet in any small Austrian town is to find the oldest looking pub you can find. They usually have good food. This place was doing wild garlic specials. I had some great Bärlauch gnocchi. Vegans however are screwed in rural Austria. If it doesn’t have meat, it’s covered in dairy.Wrapping paper in the book shop. The hazards of teaching 12 year olds. One boy offered to bring in a Nerf gun to use in the drama skit. This was the result. I had to declare a Nerf gun amnesty to be able to get anything done.Shiny dirndls in the second-hand lederhosen shop.

The selection of books provided in my hotel room.

 Dramatic looking bakery near the hotel from two different angles. Oh I’m spoiling you. A short walk from the hotel was a strange little nature reserve area in the hills. All the houses in the street leading up to it looked like they’d been very fancy circa 1972 and never been fixed up since, which is very unusual in Austria. They like everything done up and spick and span. Confess your sins before strolling along the nature trail.

Book I got in the charity shop. “Baking makes you happy” according to Dr Oetker. (Is Oetker even a real doctor? Why do they seem to only make frozen pizzas and baking supplies? It seems like a strange combination of products). Yes, I will scan this book.