Austria Column: Austria water


A favorite topic of discussion among the students in Austria is the topic of the difference between life on main campus and the Austrian campus. I remember during freshman orientation, my small group leader advised us to buy a filter for drinking water because Steubenville water is probably not the most healthy to drink straight from the faucet. Just look at the Ohio river – I’m pretty sure that if I were to toss a lit match into the water, the entire river would burst into flames.

Yet we arrive in Gaming and Student Life tells us that it is okay to fill our water bottles not only from the faucet, but from the creek that runs right through Gaming! I couldn’t believe it! I’m from Colorado and we pride ourselves for having some of the cleanest and freshest drinking water in the United States, but I wouldn’t dip my water bottle into a mountain stream for water unless it meant life or death.

But in Austria, I was on a 6 hour, 17 mile hike to the Mariazell Shrine and ran out of water early on in hike, so I filled my water bottle right from the stream. It was the cleanest water I have ever tasted. It went through no filter; it just was.

During dinner one evening, one of my friends said they were planning on taking a bottle of the Kartause water home, they loved it so much. Our table laughed and ridiculed them, but they were being completely serious.

I don’t miss the days when I had to fill my roommate’s water pitcher and wait ten minutes for the water to completely filter through before I could drink it – or when the caf’s water dispensers ran out of filtered water, so I was left without water during my meals.

It was really funny watching the students in Austria try Austrian water straight from the faucet in the Mensa. There was hesitance. People took small sips until they realized they weren’t dead as a result. They soon realized how good it was, to the point where one is planning on taking some home!

I’m not going to turn this into a “Let’s go green and clean up the Ohio river!” piece. I recycle when I can, and don’t throw my trash on the ground, but I’m not a go green activist. I have my opinions about the legitimacy of global warming and the need to save the earth. I simply find the difference between the water ironic and funny.

Quite honestly, I’m contemplating bringing a bottle home (I’m serious, it really is that good). I won’t in the end because I may or may not have been a little souvenir crazy so I’ll need the space and weight. I regret nothing.

1 Comment

  1. It is refreshing! The fresh, odorless mountain air and clean water. I lived in Colorado too, and we don’t even let our dog drink the mountain water. However, this sense of security led me and a couple friends to drink water from a free flowing faucet along the road on the Mariazell hike. Each of us were in gastrointestinal distress in the following days due to parasites! I talked to another student who drank the same water and he said he started having problems after drinking the water too! This was the semester after yours. But being a Colombian Pre-Med student I took it as an opportunity to test home remedies for parasites, such as clove tea. You can buy cloves at the Spar. In German they’re called Nelken. Parasites like simple carbohydrates from fruits, dairy, and white bread–basically every food at the Mensa, so you have to make an effort to avoid them and eat vegetables and meat instead.

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