How to Survive Autumn in Europe Austrian Adaptation

How to Survive Autumn in Europe as an Expat

In Austria, Living Abroad by Carly3 Comments

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Surviving Autumn as someone born in the Southern Hemisphere (where autumn really isn’t a thing) is a mental game many Expats play every single year. An emotional rollercoaster if you will.

Your thoughts tend to go something like this:

‘The LEAVES are so PRETTY and oh my, look at that crisp blue sky on this slightly frosty morning, what a delight!’  

I’ll think, as my feet swish in knee-high boots along crunchy gold-leaved paths and my snug woollen scarf cradles me in warmth.

How to Survive Autumn in Europe Austrian Adaptation

Delightfully enjoying the Autumn colours and outdoor life

This optimism can quickly veer in the opposite direction, often the very next day….

‘What is this god-awful-grey soup cloud of mist that hangs over Vienna and WHY does everything smell like wet dog and will I EVER feel my fingertips again!! GAH!’

I’ll mumble like a crazed haggard on the metro, as my nose drips and toes tingle from the terrible, terrible ballerina-flats shoe choice on this unseasonably rainy day.

There’s a lot of conflicting reactions, is what I’m saying.

How to Survive Autumn in Europe Austrian Adaptation

I mean occasionally the views are worth the struggle….

I love the rustle and beauty of Vienna in fall, the crowds are quieter and you feel like you can start to relax on your own on the weekends. The autumn leaves and colours of the countryside in Austria in Autumn are unmatchable. I mean, look at this place:

How to Survive Autumn in Europe Austrian Adaptation

But between those weekend trips and local adventures, Autumn can kinda suck on a day to day basis.

If you’re looking down the barrel of 3 months of iffy-kinda-grey-not-properly-cold weather in Europe and wondering how the hell you’re gunna survive, fear not, I have a fool-proof guide for you.

How to Survive Autumn when the Weather Turns to Shit


1 . It’s a time-honoured tradition, but one we can all get behind to handle our problems. Drink delicious wine.

In Vienna, autumn ushers in the Wine Wandertag time of year, when there are days literally dedicated to hopping between Heuriger’s and sipping wine from local vineyards. If that’s not a foolproof survival tactic I don’t know what is!

How to Survive Autumn in Europe Austrian Adaptation

2. Get yourself some fake sunrise action.

When the actual sun rising fails to make even the slightest colour change against your curtains in the morning, use the power of technology to trick your foolish brain into thinking it’s sunny.

We installed a Hue globe in our bedroom lamp last year and have set it to generate a fake sunrise at the same time everyday. I swear to god just waking up to the golden-orange light makes you feel warmer on the inside. Just beware the crushing realisation once your brain fully awakens and realises that warm glow is fake, and the noise you hear upon your window is lashing rain and wind….the sunrise is good while it lasts though!

3. Cuddle up with cosy things.

I mean, if Pinterest has taught us anything, it’s that fall is about cosy sweaters, cosy blankets and making your house ooze that Nordic ‘Hygge’ vibe, right?

So indulge your inner basic white girl and get that velvety huggable blanket, that rollneck sweater and even a pumpkin scented candle if you must. When the weather sucks, now is the time to embrace being a homebody.

4. Make time to read alllllll the books.

Now is primo book reading weather. With your couch decked out in cosy blankets and the weather giving you the perfect excuse to cancel your social plans, you can finally snuggle up with those books you’ve been saving all summer.

Want some recommendations? Here’s 7 Books for Expats & Traveller’s to Read on Rainy Days

5. Soup will be your best friend.

Trading out salads for soups on the daily is the official start of colder season for me. Goodbye greek salad, your salty feta was fun, but now it’s time for some zesty tomato and as much Pho Soup as my body can handle on the regular.

6. Get the good shoes now, trust me on this.

For the first two years living in Austria I cheaped out on proper autumn/winter shoes because it seemed ridiculous to spend money on shoes only to wear them for like, no time at all. But DEAR LORD ABOVE do good shoes make a difference.

As soon as I got my hands on a pair of Timberlands and these sassy but warm boots courtesy of Zalando, my life in Autumn levelled up. In the famous words of Ross Gellar, who can be nice when your feet are wet?

How to Survive Autumn in Europe Austrian Adaptation

Even cows get warmer hoofs in Autumn barnyards

7. Get outta the house. This is counterintuitive but hear me out.

Your inner sloth will resent you, and your housemates will likely think you are an idiot, but if you cave into your laziness you will end up schlumping around the house, snacking on chocolate (because, cold, ergo, chocolate) and getting annoyed at the laundry/dishes/furniture. If you get OUT of the house, all these annoyances will magically disappear.

How to Survive Autumn in Europe Austrian Adaptation

This was not a terrible decision

Need some inspiration of what to do once you are out? Checkout my 50 things to Do in Vienna … no coincidence that was written in Autumn!!

8. Brunch & Coffee dates.

When all else fails, autumn is the perfect time to make friends with your barista again, while away some hours in a coffee shop reading or catch up on gossip with your girlfriends over brunch.

Nine times out of ten brunch and or coffee is the answer.

9. Embrace your basic need for Pumpkins.

Look, in Australia we get pumpkins in supermarkets year-round so I basically thought access to pumpkins was a universal god-given right until moving here and realising pumpkins DISAPPEAR past a certain point in the year. It was devastating.

So yes I’ll be that basic fall girl, lapping up the pumpkin soup, the pumpkin salad, taking photos at bright orange pumpkin festivals… hell I might even get a kitschy pumpkin cushion and carve me a jack-o-lantern.

How to Survive Autumn in Europe Austrian Adaptation

Just keep your Pumpkin Spice Latte’s away from me – what abomination hath Starbucks wrought upon us all? Just say no and get a real coffee from the better cafe down the street!

10. Eat cupcakes.

There’s nothing a good cupcake can’t solve. The best in Vienna are at Brass Monkey on Gumpendorfer Strasse, but if you don’t yet know the best cupcakes in your hometown NOW IS THE TIME. You hereby have my permission to go research and report back on the greatest cupcakes in your area for autumn.

The best cupcake place in all of Vienna – I defy you to find better!

They are just some of my survival tactics for this time of year – but I want to hear yours!

What do you do at this time of year to survive the inevitable grey skies?

Let me know in the comments and may we all be blessed with the sunny crisp morning and crunchy leaves version of Autumn!


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  1. Pingback: How to Survive Autumn in Europe as an Expat | schlaflosinwien

  2. Haha. Eat cupcakes. GURL it can be any time of the year and you’d recommend to eat cupcakes.

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