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VIENNA — Excitement overtook exhaustion for many of the thousands of refugees at the train station in the Austrian capital of Vienna as they waited to continue their journeys into mainland Europe on Monday.
"There is food, there are people helping each other," 19-year-old Mohammed, from Syria, told NBC News. "It shows me there's a chance for a better world."
Along with his 14-year-old developmentally disabled nephew, he said they had traveled for 20 days through Greece, Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary before reaching Austria.
Volunteers distributed food, clothes and other supplies to the thousands of migrants, many of whom have traveled days across Europe. The scenes contrasted starkly with the treatment they had received in Hungary where migrants were put in holding camps and a series of confrontations between the country’s police and refugees were caught on film.
"They treated us like sheep, like animals," Mohammed said of the Hungarian authorities.
Hungary's right-wing government has come under criticism for its treatment of the migrants and refugees, many of whom are fleeing war-torn Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mohammed said he was hoping to travel to Germany before moving on to Sweden. The prospect of a new life in Europe excited him more than anything ever had, added Mohammed, who provided only a first name.
His 17-year-old friend who did not wish to be named, said that he was "feeling great" about his arrival in Vienna and now he was "going to Germany."