Pamha­gen and Wall­ern-im-Burgen­land- the Kansas of Austria

Published Categorised as Austria, Travel No Comments on Pamha­gen and Wall­ern-im-Burgen­land- the Kansas of Austria

My next work assign­ment was in a small village called Pamha­gen on the Austria-Hungary border. The main hotel in the village was closed, so we were put up in a neigh­bour­ing village called Wall­ern-im-Burgen­land. Pamha­gen is only about 70 miles away from Vienna, but it’s a million miles in real­ity. Until 1989 it was pinched between the lake and the heav­ily milit­ar­ised Iron Curtain. The border is open again now, with no pass­port controls (thanks Schen­gen Agree­ment!) but the area still feels like the end of the line.

It’s also not what people expect of Austria. Most people aren’t aware that Austria has a prair­ie area at all. It’s completely flat from here until Romania (howl­ing artic winds included at this time of year). And extremely agri­cul­tur­al (with match­ing strong local farm­er accent). Many of the teen­agers I taught at the village school were about to embark on agri­cul­tur­al appren­tice­ships.

It’s also just a short hop across the border to Hungary. On 3 days out of the 5 I was there we had dinner in Fertőd across the border, as it was nicer and signi­fic­antly cheap­er (and things being closed all the time was a constant theme in Wall­ern). The train took five minutes, but unfor­tu­nately there was only one every 4 hours.

Flat, with howl­ing winds in Febru­ary. 

Leftovers from the carni­val. More on that later.

€2 find in the super­mar­ket. Yes, I bought them.

Decor­a­tion in the town bar. Yes the town bar.

All go on Wall­ern high street. There was a mini Spar there. For everyone’s conveni­ence, its open­ing times were 6.30-12 am, then 2-6pm. Please do not incon­veni­ence them by want­ing anything at lunch­time.

Fred­dos at school.

Extremely weird play­park by the train station. The station itself is a slab of concrete on the floor with no tick­et office, wait­ing room, or even tick­et machine.

I have a feel­ing that if you lie down in the Big Corn, you will never be seen again. All very Eerie Indi­ana.

We trekked a few miles across this frozen windy tundra because my cowork­er saw there was an anim­al park where you could pet goats and ponies. The website claimed it was open that day.

Approach­ing the anim­al park. The only trees for miles.

Oh, what’s this? A piece of paper pinned to the door saying “Closed til East­er”? Let’s trek back across the frozen tundra and eat a pot noodle in our hotel rooms, because the only restaur­ant in town is now closed too.

Leftover party decor­a­tions at school from the student party.

The chick­ens I could see from one of the classroom windows.

In both Wall­ern and Pamha­gen the local schools were next to the grave­yard. Leav­ing! This is the entire train station.

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