Friday, June 4, 2010

Honor in Austria

Many of my friends and I agree that one aspect of living in Vienna—and Austria—that is truly powerful, uplifting and inspiring is the underlying expectation of honor and honesty here.

Unlike most subway systems in the world, there are no gates in Vienna's U-Bahn. It is assumed you are honest and have paid for your ticket. Sometimes, ticket inspectors show up on a train and escort those without tickets off. They receive a citation, fairly expensive, we have heard. As you can see, there is no person or gate to check your ticket or stop you from entering the subway system.

In their spare time some rural firefighters plant flowers which you can cut and take home. You are expected to pay for them by dropping the appropriate money is a metal tube. It's your sense of honor that is at stake.

Newspapers on the street are not locked; there is a coin receptacle for your money. (This particular paper is often found at U-Bahn stations for free, though.)

Another paper that depends on your honesty and sense of honor:

In still another exercise in honor, some places request you pay to use their facilities. This was one of the more humorous, found on the Grossglockner highway. Need change?

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