There are things that jump out at you about any place, that are obvious to even the most oblivious of tourists. Other things are subtler and take a while to notice, and while perhaps not of great import, can tell you a little about a place.
One of the ‘little things’ we’ve noticed here in Innsbruck and its environs is that there are gumball machines scattered throughout the town. Not inside stores or in malls, but placed outside, exposed to the sun and snow.
It seems like an odd thing to me, and after seeing the faded, bleached gum inside, I don’t know who exactly buys them. On the other hand, I think it’s nice that they can exist, undisturbed. In the US, sooner or later, some creep would probably tamper with one in some way, possibly leading to someone’s sickness or injury, and they would all be removed for liability reasons. In certain parts of Italy, people would probably simply drive off with them, gumballs, coins and all.
Here in Innsbruck, they sit there unmolested, dispensing, for whatever reason, gumballs to anyone who should happen by and decide that yes, indeed, they want a gumball that very moment, whatever time of day or night it may be.
To tell the truth, I got curious and tried one once. It was a sorry looking piece of candy, faded to the point of looking weatherbeaten, from sitting in the sun, and unsurprisingly, it wasn’t all that great.