Taking it in stride

As we continue to adjust to life here in Vienna, there are a few things that would irk most of you, stateside. It did at first for us, but now it has just become the norm.


The washers are half the size than those in the States, and the wash cycles take twice as long…So what would normally be a 45 minute wash cycle in a front loader, takes two hours here! That’s not including drying either. Also, when you rent a place here, the washer/dryer does not usually convey. We lucked out that one did come with our place and still have the option to get another washer/dryer combo to put next to our downstairs bathroom. But with just the two of us, we only need the one that was already here. I could see how that would be an advantage to some to have two washers, especially with the long cycles.

Grocery Shopping

There are several options here and these are the four that we tend to go to for our needs.

Billa  – These are about half the size of Trader Joe’s and it’s usually in almost every neighborhood. Ours is right around the corner. It’s great to get everyday needs, such as milk, eggs and veggies.

Merkur:  Our favorite. It’s basically like the Wegman’s equivalent. It’s the closest in size of what would be a normal grocery store back in the States. They have amazing selection of cheeses, meats, fresh pastas, baked goods, etc.

Denns: Miniature version of Whole Foods. It’s been my recent discovery and I love it for getting produce (especially for the “dirty dozen”) and great selection of cooking oils, baking materials, etc.

Nakwon: General Asian store with most of our needs.

Cashiers are seated at check out and you bag your own groceries. So as your groceries are scanned, it’s a race against time to throw them back in your cart. After payment, you take the cart to the “loading/bagging” area and bag your goods. Like many locals, we’ve invested in a trolley. It truly makes lugging groceries on public transportation A LOT easier!


These are definitely smaller, although some flats are starting to cater to expats. However, the freezers are of the size of a medium-large cooler at best. We actually don’t throw out as much food as we did back in the States. We buy what we need for a few days and go back to the grocery store when needed.


2 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Bottom dollar here has loading areas too. No bags, you bring your own. Scotland is a lot like those stores. I love how they are considerate of cashiers and give them seats! I love the small stores and just getting what you need when you need it. I could easily adapt to European lifestyle.

    I still don't get why Europeans have very small wash/dryers. It is probably there way of saving money?

  2. Give it time. For our first month here I raced to get my groceries out of the way, but no longer. I refuse to be intimidated by the lightning-speed clerks, and have learned a handful of useful tactics to loading groceries on the conveyer to slow them down. But I can't share everything. 😉

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