A lot of small towns in Austria have a Mardi Gras carnival, and they often organise them to be on different days to not clash. This means that if I’m in Austria doing school workshops in February I often see multiple carnivals. Wallern-im-Burgenland is still the most surreal I’ve seen.
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.
I used to go to Austria quite a lot to run workshops in schools, travelling from school to school each week. I started writing this zine after my first trip to Vienna in 2010, didn’t finish it, and then finished it off a couple of years later. I made a few copies at the time, but then mislaid the pages again when moving house, so barely anyone has read it. I recently found them again, and scanned them, so people can order it now!
I’m in a small town in SE Austria called Oberpullendorf right by the Hungarian border. I’m here to teach some English workshops with kids. I’ve got 1 week here, 1 week in Vienna, and one in a town near Verona, doing essentially the same thing, but in different schools with various age groups. Oberpullendorf’s got about 3,000 people, but there’s a pretty good selection of shops, and cafes and restaurants here. Also 3 underwear shops and a bong shop, which seems a bit odd for such a small town.