Austria
Mariatroster Bach

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8 travelers at this place:

  • Day228

    Day 229: Exploring Graz

    October 1, 2017 in Austria

    Busy day of exploring today! Graz (pronounced Gratz) is Austria's second-largest city, and the only major place in Austria we hadn't already visited. The old centre is of course a UNESCO world heritage site, so we were keen to check it out!

    Had a hotel breakfast (first time in a long time!), then walked down into the old part of the city (we were staying about a kilometre outside near the train station). We basically just kind of wandered around for the next few hours, soaking in the sites and filming at a few different spots.

    It's quite an interesting mix, since it's much more of a cross-roads than other cities nearby, so you can feel the influence of several different cultures (Germanic from the north, Balkan from the south, Orthodox from the east). It also survived the upheavals of the 19th and 20th centuries (ie mass artillery and bombing) mostly intact, so there are probably more old buildings here than in nearby Vienna.

    Stopped at a nice-looking restaurant for lunch and had some traditional food - Shandos had sausages and I had a mixed meat plate of pork & chicken, some fried and some grilled. With biers, of course. Took a while to get the bill but then we were back out amongst it.

    As there often is, Graz has a large steep rock sticking out of the middle of the city with a castle built on top, so we caught the lift up and checked it out. It was once reckoned as the world's strongest fortress, and even Napoleon with the might of the Grand Armee couldn't capture it. In the end, Graz surrendered anyway as the French threatened to burn Vienna to the ground if they didn't. What a dirty trick!

    After this the fortress was pulled down, so there's actually very little of the battlements left now. Though there is a clock tower perched at the front of the hill which looks very cool. The tower has existed since the 13th century, though obviously the clock was added much later! Also interesting to see that the clock used a large hand for hours and a smaller hand for minutes - when it was installed the concept of "minutes" hadn't been invented and wouldn't have been useful in any case!

    (If you're wondering, "minutes" were only really fleshed out as a concept in the early 19th century with the advent of railways. Prior to this it wasn't really necessary to know the time any more accurately than the hour!).

    Wrapping up our filming we headed back down into the old city, where we chilled out in an outdoor cafe for a while. We'd done a fair bit of walking, and though it wasn't hot it was definitely warm in the sun! Back home where we relaxed for a little while before heading back out to a nearby Asian restaurant for dinner. It was kind of a pan-Asian restaurant, where you could get sushi, Thai curry, Chinese dumplings and so on, so I didn't have great hopes. In the end my Thai curry was OK, nice and spicy but very very oily. The sushi at a nearby table looked good, but I was dubious about ordering raw seafood on a Sunday night in a land-locked country!
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  • Day283

    Graz

    January 11 in Austria

    BIG DAY.

    So the day began at 9. I forced myself up. Vicki had of course set up breakfast. 😅

    We left soon after and we just walked around the city so we could see it in daylight. I like it way better than Vienna. It's smaller and cosy.
    She then took us to see the clock tower - to get up the mountain we had to take a lift which cost 1.50€ - happy to pay than take the gazillion stairs (I think they were shut anyway - maybe too Icey?)
    Up we went. The view was nice. Got a few pics.
    The clock tower isn't AMAZING but it's still cool. Got a photo with it too, of course. 💁🏼

    To get back down we got a train thingy like the one at the blue mountains. It was a novelty ride and I think aimed at children and elderly. I enjoyed it more than I should have 😂

    We then got on a tram to the bus station and from there 2 more buses to a little town called Thal. I couldn't have navigated our way there by ourselves. Very thankful for Vicki.

    So why did we come here?
    The Arnold Schwarzenegger museum of course. 🙃
    Vicki had never been either so she was happy to take us.
    It's not in the most convenient location because it's set up in his actual childhood home.
    Cute village life for the win.

    There were heaps of transformers around the place and we don't really understand why but still they added a crafty touch to the place lol.
    I know he was in terminator but Will said they were not them lol.

    Ok so up the street we went and into the house.
    The lady was nice and gave us the discount price cause Vicki told her we are unemployed hahah Cha -Ching.

    First room was about his childhoods, second was his political career, third was his Hollywood stuff and fourth was his body building. His kitchen and toilet were also on display though not with the original original items.

    Room one had cute photos, room two has awards and a big ass desk, third had some inspirational speechs and movie posters and props and fourth had his weightlifting gear.
    I actually really enjoyed it. I think everyone did.
    As you leave there is a sign "I'll be back" hahaha
    Not funny and yet really funny.
    Well placed haha.
    In the yard were more transformers.
    We walked back to the bus stop except on the way we went by a frozen lake! It was awesome to see ducks actually standing on it.
    Naturally we threw rocks and sticks at it to try break it but every time it either bounced or the sticks broke - even the thick branches which gave us a super clever idea - lets try stand on it! 😂😂

    Me and Vicki, after a lot of trial and error and hesitation were both successful. 🎉🎉🎉🎉
    Will didn't risk it - he is much bigger haha it was so much fun!
    Won't lie I felt a little like Jesus.

    Got back on the bus and did the long trip home (about 40mins)
    We went out and got a pizza before heading back to the Apartment- we also bought 4 packets of taco flavoring 😂

    Went home, packed and walked to the station.

    Super awkward moment when she was like can I give you my card details so you can give me the money for the train tickets.
    Ermmm I have in writing you saying you didn't want our money but of course we couldn't say no. It put a sort of sour vibe on the end. Not because we had to pay - of course we had to pay - we expected too but once she offered to do it herself that expectation went away and because she did we have shouted her a few things to pay her back a bit of it and as a way to show appreciation. We wouldn't have bought her dinner if we knew we were paying for our tickets.
    In conclusion Just didn't like she changed her mind rather than we had to pay.
    This negativity was all internal and we parted on happy terms at the station. 👍🏼
    Happy to leave - keeping convo going is exhausting haha

    So the journey to Hinterstroder consisted of 2 trains and a bus.
    Sooooo lucky we got the bus because we had 4 minutes from when our train arrived to find it and it was the last for the night. I am so thankful I jotted down the company name because we would have missed it otherwise. It's a 6 person van, not a bus. Not what I was looking for. It's pitch black with no lights so praise the lord. 🙏🏼
    So grateful we made it.
    The bus took us 11km to our hotel which on arrival no one answered the door for 5 minutes which was stressful! It crossed my mind we would have to sleep ourside but eventually someone came and we got into our room.

    Cue relaxation time!
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  • Day227

    Day 228: North to Austria

    September 30, 2017 in Austria

    Long day of travelling today! Packed up and left our apartment at 10am, and drove the hour or so back to Ljubljana. We were getting a train to Graz later today, so I dropped Shandos at the train station and left her with Schnitzel in a cafe with all our luggage.

    Drove the 30 minutes or so out of town to the airport where I returned our car, after waiting an interminable 45 minutes in a queue. Car rental transactions always take so long, and it's beyond me why companies willingly staff their desks with just one person. Madness, though I guess they don't care that much.

    After the wait, dropping the car itself off was fine, no problems. Got a shuttle bus back into Ljubljana town, though I had to wait ages for it to fill up before the driver wanted to leave. Felt like being back in Asia again!

    Met up with Shandos around 1pm and grabbed some McDonalds for lunch since that was the more appealing fare than what was on offer at the train station. Now it was my turn to mind the luggage for a couple of hours while Shandos went shopping! All good, I've got loads of podcasts to listen to.

    Finally around 3:45 we headed over to the platform and boarded our train for Graz. It left pretty promptly at 4pm and wound its way eastwards across Slovenia. Sometimes through interesting countryside, sometimes not. Quite a long journey, and we didn't arrive in Graz in Austria until about 7:20pm on a Sunday night. 3 hours 20 minutes is one of the longest train trips we've done, certainly on this holiday anyway!

    Our hotel was only a few hundred metres from the station so we walked down and checked in - totally automatically as the front desk is unstaffed after 6pm. Room is nice though it feels a bit small after having a succession of apartments to ourselves. First hotel in quite a while, probably since Luxembourg I think!

    Settled in and did a few things then headed out for dinner. Since it was a Sunday night and almost everything else was closed, we ended up having kebabs from a nearby store. It's surprising how ubiquitous kebab stores are in Europe - they really are everywhere! Though quite different from Australian kebabs, here if you order a doner kebab you'll get meat and salad in a round bread roll thing, if you want a wrap like in Australia you have to order durum kebap.

    Oh well. Tasty enough, we both ate our fill and then headed up to bed, keen to explore the city tomorrow!
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Mariatroster Bach

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