Graz

Graz Travel Blog

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Views from the train from Salzburg to Graz

We took the train from Salzburg to Graz and it was possibly the most beautiful scenery we've ever seen. The journey was about four hours and we had all the usual journey distractions planned, books, games, headphones, food etc but it was impossible to do anything other than look out the window. With every bend in the track a new vista of snow capped mountains with meadows and forested slopes in the forground rose up. The villages and houses were all beautiful and as the weather was so sunny and hot it seemed that the whole of rural Austria was outside basking in the spring warmth. (Except that lot in the cellar of course!!!!) Austria is an amazing place, travelling through the mountains you get a real sense of scenenery in 3D as opposed to two dimensional landscapes of flat countries.

Steph up the Schlossberg
When you consider it's about a quarter the size of Germany but with only a tenth of the population there is a feeling of space that is added to by the scale and depth of the geography. Our four hour journey flew by and once again when we arrived we walked out of the station and our hotel was right there. Couldn't have been easier.

One aspect of Europe that has seemed a bit strange considering the areas we have travelled through is that you have a sex shop on pretty much every corner. Like 7/11's in Thailand or Fried Chicken joints in London they're evrywhere. No problem with that but the full sized explicit cut out models and posters in the windows seem a little bit over the top. They'd sure draw a crowd if we were still in India.

The Daniel Hotel where we stayed was great, very "boutique" hotel in style and a real bargain for the money.

Flowers on the Schlossberg
We did our usual stroll into town to get ourselves oriented and to decide on what we wanted from our time here. Whereas Salzburg has done an excellent job of keeping development at bay, Graz has embraced modern design and in the midst of the same style old school European architecture is some of the funkiest and most beautiful modern design we've seen. The river Mur runs through the town and in the middle has been built a bar/restaurant and arena called the 'Murinsel' It is a beautiful piece of architecture and is a deservedly popular local hand hang out. Over the road looming out from between some very traditional buildings is the Kunsthaus modern art gallery which has been given the name of the friendly alien by the locals due to its blue colour and ultra modern design.
Us atop the Schlossberg with the Kunsthaus in the distance
Both very beautiful.

On the other hand the old town is dominated by the Sclossberg castle and the clock tower at the top. A 260 step climb which is well worth it for the incredible views. Yet even here among old architecture and historic sites there are modern bars and beautiful gardens to enjoy. Which is exactly what we did. We could hardly believe how hot it was, only a few days ago in Frankfurt we were worried about the cold now we were sweating again. Still some more of the amazing Austrian Weiss Beers sorted that out at the Aiola Bar which has incredible views from the top of the schlossberg.

Another aspect of Austria which has struck us is that everyone eats ice cream all the time. When we say everyone we mean everyone. From old folks to middle aged men, stick thing fashion obsessed women to grunged up gothsand from homeless drunks to try hard skater dudes too cool for words.

The Murinsel as seen from the Schlossberg
Even thre shops and trams have signs on them asking people not to bring in their ice creams. If they are not the highest per capita eaters of icecream it's only because the beers is so good that so much of that is consumed too.

The gorgeous weather drew us onto a self guided walking tour of the sights of Graz and the camera was unbelievably busy yet again. Looks like we'll need another SD card sooner than we thought!! We stopped at a restaurant called Ginko which is a veggie buffet where you help yourself then your plate is weighed and you are charged by the 100g!!! Very dangerous. Still we managed to get away with spending only ten euros for the two of us which given our love of food and eyes bigger than our bellies that was a result.

There is a church here which apparantly has an interesting stained glass window of jesus dying on the cross as Hitler and Mussolini look on smiling.

Adam and our Edielwiesse beers at a bar on the Schlossberg
We say apparantly as it was closed but we thought that would have been a funny sight to see and who would come up with that?

A few cathedrals later and some very cool spiralling staircases later we found ourselves drawn to the park and a bar/cafe in the middle where it seems all the beautiful people hang out on warm days drinking beers and coffee and of course eating ice cream. We joined them with the beers and spent a great hour people watching and soaking up the sun.  We've gotta say that this touring around, not working, enjoying life sure beats work.

We had wanted to take in a concert in Salzburg but that was one thing the Salzburg card didn't cover and they were mostly tied up to dinners as well which didn't interest us as the menu's were mostly full of dead flesh.

Steph, Graz views and the Clock Tower at a bar on the Schlossberg
So we checked out the options here and found a big brass band rendition of the score of West Side Story on offer. We figured it would either be a disaster or really good fun so off we went. We'd bought the cheapest tickets which turned out to be standing at the back but somehow we ended up sitting as nobody checked our ticket and we didn't see the standing area until half way through. Oh well!!!! The first half of the concert was a bit formal but after the interval the band really kicked it up a notch and is was great. La la America later and even the old biddies in their concert finery were loving it.

We visited the Kunsthaus on our last day and were a bit disappointed by the exhibits, Steph got shouted at by some uptight jobsworth for taking a sneaky photo of one exhibit.

The bar on the Schlossberg where we took a break from sightseeing
It's was'nt as if there was much worth photograph either!!! The building though was the star and well worth the entry money. The same ticket also gave us entry to the old armoury and we couldn't quite belief how the literally thousands of medieval guns, armour and weaponry had survived intact. There has been a long histroy in this area of conflict with the Turks which might explain Austria's continued opposition to Turkish entry into the EU, then again it could be blatant racism. We did see a famour painting on the wall of one of the cathedrals which is titled the year of plagues and commemorates some year in the 1400's or something and the three plagues were locusts, the black death and Turks!!! Very nice. It must make the large turkish community feel great!!!

All in all we loved Graz, loads to do and with the great weather we had it was really beautiful.

giotravel says:
Great travel blog!
Posted on: Mar 07, 2009
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Views from the train from Salzburg…
Views from the train from Salzbur…
Steph up the Schlossberg
Steph up the Schlossberg
Flowers on the Schlossberg
Flowers on the Schlossberg
Us atop the Schlossberg with the K…
Us atop the Schlossberg with the …
The Murinsel as seen from the Schl…
The Murinsel as seen from the Sch…
Adam and our Edielwiesse beers at …
Adam and our Edielwiesse beers at…
Steph, Graz views and the Clock To…
Steph, Graz views and the Clock T…
The bar on the Schlossberg where w…
The bar on the Schlossberg where …
On of the beautiful stucco covered…
On of the beautiful stucco covere…
Flowers of Graz
Flowers of Graz
A duck hidden amongst the flowers
A duck hidden amongst the flowers
The Murinsel
The Murinsel
The Murinsel
The Murinsel
The Kunsthaus Graz
The Kunsthaus Graz
The stairs up the Schlossberg
The stairs up the Schlossberg
Adam part of the way up the stairs…
Adam part of the way up the stair…
Views of Graz from the Schlossberg
Views of Graz from the Schlossberg
Views of Graz from the Schlossberg
Views of Graz from the Schlossberg
View of the Kunsthaus Graz from th…
View of the Kunsthaus Graz from t…
Adam and the Clock Tower
Adam and the Clock Tower
The Glockenspiel
The Glockenspiel
The unauthorised photo taken insid…
The unauthorised photo taken insi…
View of Graz from the Kunsthaus
View of Graz from the Kunsthaus
The roof of the Kunsthaus, as seen…
The roof of the Kunsthaus, as see…
Spears in the armoury
Spears in the armoury
The double-winding stairs of the B…
The double-winding stairs of the …
Stadtpark
Stadtpark
Parkhouse bar in Stadtpark
"Parkhouse" bar in Stadtpark
The rusty nail in Stadtpark
The "rusty nail" in Stadtpark
A fountain in Stadtpark
A fountain in Stadtpark
Us in Stadtpark
Us in Stadtpark
Adam sitting on the rocks along th…
Adam sitting on the rocks along t…
Steph sitting on the rocks along t…
Steph sitting on the rocks along …
The concerthall where we saw/heard…
The concerthall where we saw/hear…
Graz
photo by: giotravel