Three or four months after I moved to Vienna my friend came to visit. As I moved with no prior knowledge of German I was still pretty much in the beginning of this rather bumpy ride. This is quite important for the rest of the story.
What else can you offer your special guest if not wonderful grilled sausage, filled with melted cheese, put in a hot dog bun, with ketchup and mildly hot mustard – Austrians have little clue what does “hot” mean when it comes to mustard, but this is a subject for another post.
We went to my favourite spot. I had an experience of listening to Piers ordering us sausages and I braved myself “you can do it!”. So I have ordered the sausages in perfect German, including using Dativ and Akkusativ in one sentence and not mixing it up.
After we got our Käsekrainers I cheerfully said “Auf Wiedersehen!” (goodbye!) to what the man managing the Würstelstand replied with “Auf Wiederschön”, which I roughly understood as “Till next, pretty”. I was a bit surprised and after we left I said to my friend: he thinks we are pretty! It did not matter he was well in his fifties, and entirely not my type. I was smug and happy.
Later at home I have bragged to Piers about it. He seemed awfully disinterested and after my whole tale he said “welllll…. The guy did not say Auf Wiederschön, he said Auf Wiederschaun, which is basically the equivalent of Auf Wiedersehen”.
My life shattered.