Austrians threw a party for one of their most famous sons, Arnold Schwarzenegger, celebrating his 60th birthday Monday with strudels, schnitzels and a gift - the original street number from the house where he was born.
"A Day for Arnold," proclaimed officials in the southern village of Thal Bei Graz, the California governor's birthplace.
A brass band played, a priest celebrated a special birthday Mass and 59 people joined Mayor Peter Urdl onstage in a ceremony to wish Schwarzenegger well.
Urdl said he sent a birthday present: Thal 145, the enameled number of the house where Schwarzenegger was born July 30, 1947. "This belongs to him. No one here will ever be assigned that number again," he said.
In an interview with Vienna newspaper Kronen Zeitung, Schwarzenegger said he had a simple birthday wish: that the United States, his adopted country, recovers its international prestige.
"My wish is that this great country once again gets the reputation it once had around the world," Schwarzenegger was quoted as saying.
Schwarzenegger immigrated to the United States in 1968 and became a naturalized citizen in 1984. Although he remains fairly popular in Austria, he lost a bit of luster in 2005 after he refused to block the execution of a convicted gang founder.
"When my father turned 60, I was just 20, and at the time he seemed terribly old. Now I'm 60, too, but I don't feel old at all," he said.