Every Saturday the Naschmarkt (the huge food market near Karlplatz) holds a flea market. Of course this flea market often sells old junk, but in between you can also find some true treasures.
Before I go on, there is something that you must understand about Vienna that seems rather strange to us Americans: people still often wear Trachten (Read: lederhosen, Dirndls, etc). This isn’t a day to day thing, but as the weather gets nice, you often see people wearing the traditional clothes walking down the street and on the public transportation on special days. People also often wear Dirndls to the important events, like balls. Many people here have Trachten hanging in their closets.
So, as someone who is learning to be part of the Austrian culture, it is of absolute importance that I, too, acquire a Dirndl. This was a common sentiment among the IES students, and many of us set off on the same goal. Unfortunately, these traditional clothes tend to be on the expensive side (a moderately priced Dirndl can cost €200-300, and the nice ones can put you out of a couple thousand dollars or more.) Luckily, the flea market has a stand that specifically sells second hand Trachten. Among the rather used looking dresses, I found myself the perfect Dirndl – for the perfect price. I was able to get the dress, the shirt, and the apron, all for around €40, and it all fit me to a T!
A couple weeks after finding my Dirndl I was wearing it on the Ubahn on my way home from an event. An older lady caught my attention, and asked about the Dirndl. When she noticed my accent, I could see her eyes light up. Instead of being annoyed that a tourist was wearing the traditional dress (as I worried she might), she seemed pleased that I appreciated the culture, and that I, as a younger generation, was carrying forth the culture. We both left the interaction smiling.
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<p>Fionna studies Anthropology and Molecular Biology at the University of Pittsburgh. Though she is originally from the Netherlands, she has spent the last ten or so years in California. Her free time is spent reading, horseback riding, nerding out about television shows, hiking, and dreaming of future travels and adventures. She is looking forward to spending her spring semester enjoying the life and culture in Vienna, Austria and the surrounding countries. </p>