Diplo Repost: Still a favorite topic of conversations – so many people have told me after this post that when they meet an Austrian, they ask them about their water – it’s still a hit every time.
Ahh trinkwasserqualitaet….the first time we heard this phrase, we were putting along in a “pollution-less” electric boat in the alps, while the boat tour guide was going on and on and on about the “trinkwasserqualiteat”, with all the other German-speaking tourists nodding in earnestness…As we don’t speak German, most of the presentation went right over our heads but most of it seemed to be devoted to trinkwasserqualiteat (essentially they were pointing out that you could drink the water straight out of the lake at any point) and the phrase stuck with us. As one can guess, the phrase means “of drinking water quality”. This is a fine example of what’s neat about the German language – if you don’t have a word for something, you just throw together a bunch of other words until you get to what you mean to say.
We were relating this story – also partially because we like to say “trinkwasserqualiteat” now – to an Austrian friend of ours here in Vienna, thinking that the reaction of the others was typical to the tour. But he also nodded very seriously and pointed out that his home region is known specifically for their trinkwasserqualitaet…Trinkwasserqualitaet is a very serious subject around here, and as it turns out, Austrians are very knowledgeable about it.
Then yesterday evening, upon returning from London, the driver of the cab was being quite chatty and we talked about Vienna and where he was from. And I’m sure you can see where this is going – yes, more talk of trinkwasserqualitaet. Being from Styria, he informed me that they have indeed the best trinkwasserqualitaet and that their water is what allows Vienna to have such good water. And one has to admit that the drinking water here, straight from the tap, is quite good – you don’t really need filters or bottled water or anything like that….Straight out of the tap is fantastic here, and frankly, it’s a luxury most people in the world don’t have so it should very much be appreciated.
My driver confirmed that not only does Vienna have the best water, the trinkwasserqualitaet is so good that you can actually drink the water used for flushing the toilets – this was after many hand gestures and interpretive sounds as he didn’t know the word for “flushing” in English. He was also quick to point out though that you can not, however, drink the water from the toilet after it has been used for flushing. Just a little pointer for your next visit to Vienna.