Best place in Germany to stay to visit Vienna?

Gadget88

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I was thinking of staying in Munich is this the best place? It’s 4 hours a while for a day visit is there anywhere I can catch a 3 hour train ride to Vienna? I am keen to check out the station looks impressive a similar to Rotterdam and Berlin.
 
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AlexNL

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Why would you go to Germany if you want to visit the capital of Austria? :)

Anyway, if you have no preference for Germany you may want to consider Regensburg, Plattling or Passau. There's a bi-hourly ICE service from either of those cities directly to Wien which will get you there in 3h19 or less.
 

70014IronDuke

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I think the best place to stop in Germany if you want to visit Vienna is Bratislava.

OK, you might argue that Bratislava is not in Germany - but look at it this way.

If you say you are stopping in Munich, but actually stay in Bratislava, you leave the capital of Slovakia and travel through Vienna to get to Munich - obviously you need to do this and to be able to tell your friends you've stopped in Munich.

Then you come back to Vienna for the actual visit. Spend a day eating Bratwurst on Stefan's Platz feeling you've got to know the heart of Austria, then you go back to Munich (after all, you are pretending to stay there), before quickly hopping on a train back to Bratislava via Vienna.

That way you a) visit Vienna three times in a day - so you feel REALLY good about getting your money's worth psychologically while b) actually stopping in Bratislava, which will save you money 'cos it's cheaper than Munich.

I think we could start a whole new series of threads like this, eg What's the best place to stay to visit Paris when not stopping in France? Could run and run.

ps Saying you've stayed in Munich when you've kipped in Bratislava is not even a white lie, really. I mean, they build VWs in Bratislava - you can't get much more German than that, can you? - And the city has a German name (as does everywhere from Paignton to Yokohama) - it's called Pressburg. You can even tell your friends you stopped in 'a place near Munich called Pressburg' - and they won't have a clue in any case.
 
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citycat

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I always look forward to Gadget88’s questions as they increasingly get more eccentric.

The UK to New York in three hour segments is still the best though. Did you ever make that trip Gadget88?
 

30907

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Returning to the real Germany :)

Passau and Salzburg are both 2:20 to Vienna, so staying in Freilassing (effectively a German suburb of Salzburg) or a small town a little further into Germany would be an option.

Passau is the obvious choice, a nice little city at the confluence of two rivers but sometimes swamped by cruise ship passengers.
Regensburg is exactly an hour further, a bit bigger - not been there but on my list. Plattling is a railway junction and IIRC has nothing particular of note.
 

Belperpete

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I was thinking of staying in Munich is this the best place? It’s 4 hours a while for a day visit is there anywhere I can catch a 3 hour train ride to Vienna? I am keen to check out the station looks impressive a similar to Rotterdam and Berlin.
Your question is a bit like asking where is the best place to stay in Scotland in order to visit London for the day, because you would quite like to check out "the station"!

If you are going to be spending 6 to 8 hours of your day travelling, then that won't leave much time left over for actually looking around the city itself. The attractions in the city are quite spread out, and it takes awhile getting between them. If you are only going to see "the station", I certainly wouldn't spend 6 to 8 hours travelling just to see either Westbahnhof or Sudbahnhof, let alone Mitte. The tram/underground/overground network, however, is well worth exploring, especially the more historic parts of it.

Vienna is well worth visiting, but you really need to spend a couple of days actually in the city.
 

duesselmartin

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Salzburg is located conviniently between Munich and Vienna.
Freilassing is of course a lot cheaper and somewhat alpine.
Munich station is rather underwhelming I think.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Returning to the real Germany :)
Passau and Salzburg are both 2:20 to Vienna, so staying in Freilassing (effectively a German suburb of Salzburg) or a small town a little further into Germany would be an option.
Passau is the obvious choice, a nice little city at the confluence of two rivers but sometimes swamped by cruise ship passengers.
Regensburg is exactly an hour further, a bit bigger - not been there but on my list. Plattling is a railway junction and IIRC has nothing particular of note.
Regensburg is a lovely little cathedral city on the Danube, with a rich medieval centre (UNESCO World Heritage Site).
It's where the German Electors used to meet to elect the Holy Roman Emperor.
The centre is a bit of a hike from the station, but there are frequent trams/buses.
There are through hourly regional trains to/from Munich Airport, as well as to Munich Hbf, taking just over an hour, as well as 2-hourly ICEs to Vienna and Frankfurt.
 
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Vienna Hbf is certainly worth a visit - it is a major rebuild and replacement of the old terminal Suedbanhof to allow through running, and is similar to Berlin Hbf in concept although much less grand. I stayed in the hotel forming part of the complex, and is was fascinating to observe the late evening international departures - you can wander freely on the platforms. Westbanhof, formerly the main station for Salzburg and beyond is a dull 1950s structure, rebuilt after heavy bombing, and eerily quiet these days. As others have said, Vienna requires several days at least to explore, with plenty of transport and non-transport interest - the extensive tram network is fascinating with very cheap 'day rover' tickets available. Like all major capital cities accommodation can be expensive and scarce - the Christmas Market season is about to start - so if that is your worry may I suggest Linz - a pleasant city with an excellent service to all parts of Austria and much less touristy than Salzburg. I wouldn't hike all the way from Muenchen just to see Vienna Hbf, to be frank.
 

Gadget88

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Don’t worry about time to explore I stayed in Zurich and managed Milan in a day was fantastic. Also hope to do Rome in a day just can’t decide which one to do first. I’m not a fan of long breaks so I like to do things in a short space of time and by Eurostar rather than flying.

I enjoyed Italy very much but I’m a big fan of Germany so I’m keen to try places on the border. Salzburg doesn’t look as good as Vienna.
 

takno

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I visited Vienna for 3 hours last week, which was plenty for me. You could spend a lot longer there, but Europe is full of interesting cheaper places you could spend a lot of time. I did it on the way between Bratislava and Prague so it only added an hour into the total journey time anyway.

I wouldn't really say the Hbf was worth a look personally - it's a lot like New Street but without the character, and the entire area is a rather dull new development on the site of the old station. It's a worthwhile project and greatly useful for the city and for through passengers, but as an experience, arriving at West was a lot more exciting back in the day. Obviously other people have differing levels of interest, so it might be a grand experience you.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Salzburg doesn’t look as good as Vienna.
Horses for courses. They are both very fine cities from the cultural point of view.
Salzburg is more "manageable" than Vienna which is much bigger and more complicated.
Vienna Hbf is a fair way outside the historic centre, Salzburg Hbf is just a short tram/bus ride away.
The journey between the two is pleasant enough but rather bland - brief views of the Danube east of Linz, the last 30km or so uses a new tunnel.
Munich-Salzburg has nice alpine foothills/lake scenery, and you can use the €25 Bayernticket as a day ranger ticket on RE services (not ICE/RJ).
I'd go on about the opera and music scene in both places, but you won't want any of that on a day trip.
Munich, of course, is excellent in its own way.
Munich-Vienna is good value at about €30 each way on a Railjet.
 

Gareth

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I did it from Bratislava.

In fact, I did a triangle Budapest-Bratislava-Vienna-Budapest.

Bratislava-Vienna is Liverpool-Manchester sort of distance. Budapest is maybe the same again, so still not that far.

Bratislava is quite small but nice, particularly around the old town. Much cheaper than Vienna.

Vienna is large, expensive and stressful. Don't get me wrong, it's beautiful and culturally rich. I spent only three days there and still didn't get to see everything. The streets are always chocker block with people walking which way everyways and watch the roads as the motorists are noticeably more aggressive. And yeah, the price for a meal in Bratislava might get you a bag of chips, If you're lucky.

Budapest is somewhere between the other two in terms of size, cost and things to see and do. It's not Vienna but still very beautiful in its own right. It's also not nearly as expensive or stressful. On balance, it's probably my favourite city of the three. I recommend a day at the thermal baths. I'd definitely consider it as a base for visiting Vienna.
 

takno

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I recommend a day at the thermal baths. I'd definitely consider it as a base for visiting Vienna.
Sounds like the best base yet tbh, although probably worth toweling yourself down before getting on the train!
 

Gadget88

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Well what I can see so far is Munich may be best? The other cities are small and don’t seem to offer much. Problem is Brussels to Munich will take up 6 hours to get there. I hoped to have time for the football stadium but might not.
 

70014IronDuke

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I did it from Bratislava.

In fact, I did a triangle Budapest-Bratislava-Vienna-Budapest.

Bratislava-Vienna is Liverpool-Manchester sort of distance. Budapest is maybe the same again, so still not that far.
Vienna - Bratislava is about 75 km. Vienna - Budapest is nearly four times further, around 260 km.

Vienna is large, expensive and stressful.
Uh? I suppose Altnebreac is stressful if you're in a hurry - but Vienna is no more stressful than any city. Indeed, far less than many, since it's pretty safe. It has been voted "Most Liveable City in Europe" (or some such) numerous times. It has an excellent public transport system, the best I've ever encountered, with plenty of explanations in English. You'd have more difficulty getting around Boulogne-sur-Mer than Vienna.

Don't get me wrong, it's beautiful and culturally rich. I spent only three days there and still didn't get to see everything.
This is very relative. Do you think you could "see everything" in, say, Islington in three days? Of course not. But our OP seems to delight in visits of a few hours and ticking the box - Been there, Done that. It seems that's what floats his boat.

The streets are always chocker block with people walking which way everyways and watch the roads as the motorists are noticeably more aggressive.
Maria-Hilfer Strasse perhaps, between the Ring and the Gurtel. Stefan's Platz and some parts of 1010 - and that's mainly tourists. Otherwise no more than any other major city. Try spending a morning in Grinzing: it's like an Alpine village. re traffic, I accept the Gurtel can be intimidating when driving, but otherwise, I'd say Vienese are more law-abiding than London drivers.
 

coppercapped

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...indeed it is and I found the area its situated in to be massively underwhelming (being polite).
As a once-upon-a-time resident of Munich, I have to ask 'What did you expect?' It's a large railway station near the centre of the city in quite a densely populated area that was flattened as result of the bombing raids in the Second World War, few old building were left standing. An image of what it looked like in 1945 may be seen here. The whole area was rebuilt as quickly as possible in the 1950s - and the rubble that was cleared out of the city centre now forms the hill in the Olympic park.
Within easy reach of the Hauptbahnhof in the Arnulfstrasse is the biergarten of the Augustiner Brewery. It's not all bad news... !
 

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Seems I've come up a cropper with the Vienna Tourism Board. For the record, I don't actually dislike Vienna but you really need both time and money to make the best of it, I would say.

And to clear up any confusion, I said it was large, nothing more, nothing less. I didn't make any implication that it was particularly difficult to get around.

I stand corrected on the geography trivia (though I still found Vienna to Budapest a doddle), but I stand by everything else I said.
 

takno

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Seems I've come up a cropper with the Vienna Tourism Board. For the record, I don't actually dislike Vienna but you really need both time and money to make the best of it, I would say.

And to clear up any confusion, I said it was large, nothing more, nothing less. I didn't make any implication that it was particularly difficult to get around.

I stand corrected on the geography trivia (though I still found Vienna to Budapest a doddle), but I stand by everything else I said.
Vienna to Budapest is about 2:40 by train against 1:06 to Bratislava. Personally I think you were about ballpark with twice as far. I tend to agree with your assessment - Vienna's nice enough but it's too big to do in a day, and wouldn't be high on my list of places in the area to stay in. Everything is expensive compared to the surrounding area. I'm sure it's probably great to live in, not least because of its bland but useful new station and excellent transport links across Europe, but that seems a bit beside the point.
 

Bantamzen

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Bratislava is quite small but nice, particularly around the old town. Much cheaper than Vienna.

Vienna is large, expensive and stressful. Don't get me wrong, it's beautiful and culturally rich. I spent only three days there and still didn't get to see everything. The streets are always chocker block with people walking which way everyways and watch the roads as the motorists are noticeably more aggressive. And yeah, the price for a meal in Bratislava might get you a bag of chips, If you're lucky.
I can't say I agree about the drivers, I was in Vienna last week and didn't notice any of that aggression from them, indeed I commented to my wife how patient they are when pedestrians have the right of way. Like you I was there for 3 days, which wasn't enough but in terms of budgeting for meals, drinks etc, a little research in advance and we were able to find prices that were no more expensive than any other major city. Of course there are tourists everywhere, but we found that if you visit attractions in the opposite direction to the tour buses, it was a lot less stressful.
 

DaiGog

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I'd be tempted to do it the other way round - stay in Vienna, as not only is it a great city in it's own right, but it's a good base to visit Budapest, Bratislava, Salzburg, Linz, even Prague is doable at about 4 hours each way. You could also go for a ride over the Semmering pass and visit Graz. Vienna has some old trams knocking about as well - the local public transport ticket is only about 8 Euros for 24 hours.

If you wanted to save time getting there by rail, there are NightJet services available. There are decent hotels outside the Hauptbahnhof (Motel One and Ibis, to name two) with similar options within a short walk of Westbahnhof. There is also a good choice of brew pubs around the city if that's your thing.
 

Belperpete

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As a once-upon-a-time resident of Munich, I have to ask 'What did you expect?' It's a large railway station near the centre of the city in quite a densely populated area that was flattened as result of the bombing raids in the Second World War, few old building were left standing. An image of what it looked like in 1945 may be seen here. The whole area was rebuilt as quickly as possible in the 1950s
Have just returned from Gdansk, which suffered a similar fate, but the Poles took the time and trouble to rebuild as it used to be (except for the Prussian era buildings, for some reason). I was aware that they had done this before I went there, but what took me aback when I got there was the size and scale of area that they had rebuilt - not just a few blocks. To be honest, I preferred Gdansk to Krakow.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Have just returned from Gdansk, which suffered a similar fate, but the Poles took the time and trouble to rebuild as it used to be (except for the Prussian era buildings, for some reason). I was aware that they had done this before I went there, but what took me aback when I got there was the size and scale of area that they had rebuilt - not just a few blocks. To be honest, I preferred Gdansk to Krakow.
Do you mean the stations, or the wider cities?
I haven't been to Gdansk, but I thought Krakow (city) was very impressive, although its station was a bit like Birmingham New St (retail park with platforms attached).
Having passed through Poland recently I was impressed by Warsaw Centralna and the CMK route to Krakow, also Przemysl old town centre.
 

takno

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Do you mean the stations, or the wider cities?
I haven't been to Gdansk, but I thought Krakow (city) was very impressive, although its station was a bit like Birmingham New St (retail park with platforms attached).
Having passed through Poland recently I was impressed by Warsaw Centralna and the CMK route to Krakow, also Przemysl old town centre.
To be fair to the new station at Krakow, the platforms were built at least 20 years ago in that position, and were connected for years to the station building by a crazily long walkway. The old station building was nice enough to look at but wasn't really great facilities-wise. The new station is a pretty good integrated transport hub for what is a pretty large city.

The wider old town is nice enough, but has got a bit overloaded with tourists for my tastes, and since there isn't a huge amount in the wider city for visitors they do tend to end up crammed into the old town.

Gdansk and Warsaw were both largely flattened in the latter stages of the war by the Germans, and as a show of defiance amongst other things, the old quarters were rebuilt essentially from scratch as a reproduction of what had been there previously (but with better plumbing, and usually not falling down). The result is impressive by anybody's standards, and what it loses in authenticity it makes up for just from the sheer impressive bloody-mindedness of it. In both cases I think what you're left with is an area that is in better condition, and is a bit less of a tourist trap.

Centralna station has been cleaned up really nicely, and I think stands as a reminder that brutalism can be effective and beautiful, as long as the money gets spent on doing it properly. It's not inherent in the architectural style that the materials are underspecified, and the concrete is left to stain - if you build it will and take care of it the result can be pretty good.

Bit of a tangent from staying in Germany to go to Vienna though. Until they've finished a lot more of the work between Krakow and the border it's a very long ride for a day out in Vienna
 

coppercapped

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Have just returned from Gdansk, which suffered a similar fate, but the Poles took the time and trouble to rebuild as it used to be (except for the Prussian era buildings, for some reason). I was aware that they had done this before I went there, but what took me aback when I got there was the size and scale of area that they had rebuilt - not just a few blocks. To be honest, I preferred Gdansk to Krakow.
There was more time and care taken in rebuilding the centre of Munich than in the residential and industrial areas around the Hauptbahnhof - places like the Marienplatz, Lehel and around the Residenz. One other thing that is sometimes forgetten, not only did Germany have much of its housing and other infrastructure destroyed at the end of the war but it also had to cope with several million refugees driven out of the old German-speaking areas and cities of the East by the Soviet Army. Building accommodation quickly was absolutely essential and overrode most other considerations.

I have not been to either Gdansk or Krakow but I was very impressed with the recreation of the centre of Warsaw, if the others are to the same standard then - wow!

But all said and done, Munich is a living, working town, it's not a tourist trap preserved in aspic - buildings have been redeveloped and replaced in the same way as any other large city. It is still a city which offers much - a lively cultural life, good food and beer, an impressive array of shops to suit all tastes, it has an excellent local transport service, it is comparatively easy to cycle around and the Alps are only an hour away...
 

Belperpete

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Do you mean the stations, or the wider cities?
I was talking about the wider city. I didn't get to see much of Gdansk main station, as most of the building is currently closed for refurbishment.

But all said and done, Munich is a living, working town, it's not a tourist trap preserved in aspic
Gdansk is also far from a tourist trap preserved in aspic - its famous shipyards are massive, although I am not sure just how much is still operational.

After 3 days in Krakow, I felt there really wasn't much more to do, and although I enjoyed my time there, I don't really feel inclined to go back. Whereas in my 3 days in Gdansk I barely scratched the surface of all the different things to do, and will definitely be going back. The only thing to note is that many museums and attractions either close altogether, or have much restricted opening, from the end of September.
 

70014IronDuke

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There was more time and care taken in rebuilding the centre of Munich than in the residential and industrial areas around the Hauptbahnhof - places like the Marienplatz, Lehel and around the Residenz. One other thing that is sometimes forgetten, not only did Germany have much of its housing and other infrastructure destroyed at the end of the war but it also had to cope with several million refugees driven out of the old German-speaking areas and cities of the East by the Soviet Army. Building accommodation quickly was absolutely essential and overrode most other considerations.
...
Going OT (but then one could argue the first post was OT from the word go)

Just for the record: an awful lot were force marched out (if they didn't die on the way) by the Poles, Czechs and Hungarians. The Poles and Czechs had some sort of excuse, given the brutality of German occupation. The Hungarians, since they were allies to the very end, really had none whatsoever.

OK, you could say they all had the backing, tacit or otherwise, of newly arrived Red Army forces in all these countries, but the cruel and sometimes muderous actions of many local civilian leaders are a stain on these countries' national histories.

Intriguingly, I met the granddaughter of a 'repatriated' Sudetan German family a year or so back. Originally from a tiny German-Czech village smack bang on the Polish border, she was born and raised near Stuttgart-Tubingen somewhere. She said tens of thousands of German families had to take in refugees from the east (and, I suppose, regular Germany) due to the lack of housing. And in many cases, the home owners were less than friendly to their 'guests' - although in her case she said her family had very kind 'hosts', and they remain friendly to this day.
 

coppercapped

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Going OT (but then one could argue the first post was OT from the word go)

Just for the record: an awful lot were force marched out (if they didn't die on the way) by the Poles, Czechs and Hungarians. The Poles and Czechs had some sort of excuse, given the brutality of German occupation. The Hungarians, since they were allies to the very end, really had none whatsoever.

OK, you could say they all had the backing, tacit or otherwise, of newly arrived Red Army forces in all these countries, but the cruel and sometimes muderous actions of many local civilian leaders are a stain on these countries' national histories.

Intriguingly, I met the granddaughter of a 'repatriated' Sudetan German family a year or so back. Originally from a tiny German-Czech village smack bang on the Polish border, she was born and raised near Stuttgart-Tubingen somewhere. She said tens of thousands of German families had to take in refugees from the east (and, I suppose, regular Germany) due to the lack of housing. And in many cases, the home owners were less than friendly to their 'guests' - although in her case she said her family had very kind 'hosts', and they remain friendly to this day.
Thanks for your post. I knew all that but I thought that my post would get awfully long if I tried to include all the details! The same thing happened with my wife's grandparents who lived in Bad Kreuznach - he was a gynaecologist and they had a larg(ish) house. They not only had a family of refugees allocated to them but the normal living rooms were taken over by the French occupying forces for two officers. My wife's grandparents lived in the cellar for a year or more...

The period immediately after the WWII was for all those living in central Europe terrible - and then the Iron Curtain clanged down.

(PS - OT is fun!)
 
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AlbertBeale

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Going OT (but then one could argue the first post was OT from the word go)

Just for the record: an awful lot were force marched out (if they didn't die on the way) by the Poles, Czechs and Hungarians. The Poles and Czechs had some sort of excuse, given the brutality of German occupation. The Hungarians, since they were allies to the very end, really had none whatsoever.

OK, you could say they all had the backing, tacit or otherwise, of newly arrived Red Army forces in all these countries, but the cruel and sometimes muderous actions of many local civilian leaders are a stain on these countries' national histories.

Intriguingly, I met the granddaughter of a 'repatriated' Sudetan German family a year or so back. Originally from a tiny German-Czech village smack bang on the Polish border, she was born and raised near Stuttgart-Tubingen somewhere. She said tens of thousands of German families had to take in refugees from the east (and, I suppose, regular Germany) due to the lack of housing. And in many cases, the home owners were less than friendly to their 'guests' - although in her case she said her family had very kind 'hosts', and they remain friendly to this day.
The German speakers were also expelled from Vojvodina (autonomous region in the north of the Serbian constituent republic of Yugoslavia (to give it what I think was its official title in Yugoslav days, before that country fell apart / was dismembered [according to political analysis]; still the name of the northern region of Serbia). A colleague of mine, years ago, had grown up in a small town in Vojvodina before WW2, and spoke a mixture of Hungarian, Serbo-Croat and German when playing in the street with the other kids. Apparently she didn't click, until going to school, that she was actually speaking 3 different languages. Post WW2, the German-speaking families "disappeared", and in post-war Yugoslav times the region was officially bi-lingual, recognising Hungarian as well as Serbo-Croat for local purposes (in the same way as Kosova was an autonomous region in the south of Serbia, with the Albanian language recognised.) (There were - and are - small numbers of people in Vojvodina with other mother tongues, including Romanian.)
 

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