Fortunately, I have managed to raise a particularly nice one who looks like he has the same love of travel as me. I'm very pleased about that! However, he also has a love of something else: all things related to waste disposal. Rubbish bins (or garbage cans, depending on what kind of English you speak) and the trucks that empty them are highest on his agenda of things he loves (after Mum).
Before we left for Europe, I must admit I had promised him we would see all different kinds of rubbish bins on our trip. We have lots of German books about rubbish and they feature all the different and innovative recycling that Germany does (some of which we haven't quite caught on to yet). Maria, one of the friends we went to stay with in Ireland, even indulged his love of rubbish by writing a blog post especially for him about the rubbish bins on the tiny island of Inis Meain.
|Aida Cafe in Vienna with the gorgeous Stephansdom in the background|
Alas, something else was in store for me. We emerged from the U-Bahn into Stephansplatz, arguably one of my favourite spots in Vienna, and can you guess what my son spotted immediately? A garbage truck doing the rounds, emptying the CBD of rubbish. It was reasonably early in the morning and Vienna wasn't too crowded yet, so he persuaded me to follow the truck. I'm sure it looked quite odd - a woman and a child in a stroller who kept stopping every time the truck stopped - but my son was thrilled to see a genuine Austrian "back loader" rubbish truck in action. The ones we see here are "side loaders" - operated all from inside the truck - so being able to see the rubbish man pull the bins over to the truck and hook them on thrilled him. I later made a mistake of summarising the day by talking about the man pushing the button to empty the bin - my son corrected me immediately by telling me that he didn't push a button, but pull a lever instead. You can see who was watching more closely. Every now and then, another rubbish truck crossed our path, but this one was collected glass bottles only and my son deemed the noise of all that glass falling into the truck too noisy for his liking (thankfully).
|A garbage truck in central Vienna|
But of course you probably don't want to hear all about the garbage trucks of Europe. So let me get to my travel-related point. What this taught me - or reminded me, perhaps - was that every single person has a uniquely different perspective on travel. You can take one thousand people to the centre of Vienna and each one will remember it in an entirely different way.
In turn, this reminds me not to be too judgemental about other people's travel experiences. Heading to Bali (from here, just three hours and a few hundred dollars) to enjoy cheap cocktails by the pool is not my idea of what travelling should be about, but for other people, that's just what they want. Joining a whirlwind bus tour of Europe isn't my idea of fun, but other people have a different perspective on that and will enjoy it. Everybody's expectations of travel are different and the ways people like to travel are different.
|Viennese rubbish man; Viennese pastry|