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UNESCO World Heritage Site: City of Graz - Historic Centre

Graz


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After a smooth and uneventful journey from Maribor I got to Graz Hauptbahnhof (the main train station) at about 11:30 and easily found my way to my hostel round the corner. The hostel is huge - my dorm is on the 4th floor - and feels more like a hotel; it feels a bit sterile, but serves my needs. They did annoy me a bit at check-in though by charging me 3.5 euros extra for bed linen - making this an extra cost, and a mandatory one at that (for people who haven't brought a sleeping bag), seems rather cheeky!

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Anyway, I had all afternoon to explore, so explore I did! The historic centre of Graz is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it's easy to see why! I found it absolutely enchanting.

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After wandering the streets for a while (and buying a fridge magnet) I headed to the Schlossberg, a bastion on a limestone crag which overlooks the rest of the city. For the sake of exercise, and the general experience, I chose to take the path instead of the lift or the funicular. The views from the top were well worth it!

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The buildings on the Schlossberg were closed for the winter, but it was still lovely to walk round. Aside from the bastion itself, built in the 1540s, there are terraces, a small 19th century pagoda, and two clock towers.

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One of these clock towers is a symbol of the city, and the townspeople are incredibly proud of it. In fact, when Napoleon invaded in 1809, they successfully bribed him not to destroy it.

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Before returning to ground level I had a delicious apple strudel at a cafe perched dramatically on the side if the crag and bastion. I had it with a 'kleiner mokka' coffee, which itself came with a small wrapped chocolate sweet and (like all the hot drinks I've had so far this trip) a glass of cold water. I was just thinking to myself earlier that I needed to have apple strudel at least once before I left Austria, so this was a great place to have it!

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Once I'd walked back down the path again I wandered the streets again for a bit before returning to the hostel via Billa, where I stocked up on sandwiches, grapes and drinks for tomorrow, and the Hauptbahnhof, where I bought my ticket in advance. I'd probably be fine to leave getting it until tomorrow, but better safe than sorry when it's important I get to Deutschlandsberg - my next teaching destination - sooner rather than later tomorrow!

Posted by 3Traveller 03:07 Archived in Austria Tagged trains austria hostel clock_tower graz explorations fortifications unesco_world_heritage_site austrian_cuisine Comments (1)

On the shore of the Bodensee

Bregenz


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I'm now in Bregenz, on the shore of the Bodensee - almost as far west as you can go in Austria, just a couple of miles round the corner from Germany and Switzerland. I'm teaching an exam preparation course this time, and it's a short course - only Monday to Wednesday. I have one co-teacher (a different one to last week).

After class today we went for a walk into the centre of Bregenz via the edge of the Bodensee. It had snowed overnight and during the morning, but the lake itself hadn't frozen.

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Blue skies, peaceful snowy fields, forested hills in the background, ripples on the lake... it was so beautiful!

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Once we reached the city centre we were initially a little disappointed with the buildings and general architecture (it wasn't bad, but wasn't as totally amazing as everyone had told us) but then as we followed the streets higher and higher we grew more and more impressed, until we could completely see why everyone had raved about the place to us. I most definitely recommend visiting!

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We got a great view of the Oberstadt on its hill, overlooking the rest of the city; it was getting dark by now so we decided to leave going up there for another day. Instead we stuck to wandering the cobbled streets in the twilight.

Before we headed back to our guesthouse we had some dinner at a brewery. I had a lovely dish consisting of roast pork slices with potato dumplings, sweet purple cabbage and gravy.

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Posted by 3Traveller 01:50 Archived in Austria Tagged lakes snow austria bregenz brewery explorations austrian_cuisine Comments (0)

UNESCO World Heritage Site: Historic Centre of Vienna

The start of a six-week trip through Austria and northern Germany with a side trip to Slovenia and ending in Prague.


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In Vienna for a group induction/ training weekend before moving on to my teaching destination for the next week.

The view from my hotel room:

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Due to the nature of the weekend there wasn't much time to see the city, but very early this morning, after breakfast, I managed a walk into the historic centre. The sun was rising and the sky was clear; one of those fresh and crisp winter mornings I really love. A thrill of excitement ran through me as I walked the almost-empty streets and admired the architecture.

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Once in the inner town I came across a covered pathway with windows showing a yard with white horses looking out of stalls. I realised that they were some of the famous white Lipizzaner horses of the Spanish Riding School. While I was watching a girl came round with a wheelbarrow to muck them out.

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When I got to the Stephansdom I went inside, though as a tourist most of it was closed off to me as Mass was just starting.

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I stayed for a bit anyway, looking at the bit I was allowed into and lighting a candle, before exiting and walking round the outside. I'm not too keen on the green, red and black patterned tiled roof, but I like the rest of it. The view from the tower was amazing - definitely worth the climb, which was probably one of the highest sets of spiral steps I've been up!

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There was no time over the weekend to go to any museums, but yesterday evening I went to the historic Seven Stars brewery/pub - definitely a place I'll be returning to when in Vienna in the future! It was very atmospheric inside and the cheese & bacon gnocchi I tried was lovely. There was a list of all the different kinds of schnapps on offer - decided to give them a miss on this occasion but will definitely be giving them a try over the next few weeks!

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Speaking of food, on Friday evening at a different place I had a tasty clear beef broth with a semolina dumpling plus a side of Swabian pasta - I thought it might come with vegetables, but it didn't. Both that and the broth were still really nice, though the broth was smaller than I expected.

When I got back from the historic centre it was time to pack up, check out and head off to the station to my first teaching destination...

Posted by 3Traveller 10:34 Archived in Austria Tagged vienna hotel austria cathedral brewery explorations unesco_world_heritage_site austrian_cuisine Comments (0)

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