A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about trains

Back in Graz

Deutschlandsberg and Graz


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

It was another beautiful sunny day as I said goodbye to Deutschlandsberg and took the train back to Graz.

952e1f80-0218-11ea-bb93-ff728f69e370.JPG95b88530-0218-11ea-b17a-31a6bba4c8d3.JPG06e413f0-0219-11ea-b17a-31a6bba4c8d3.JPGIMG_9301.JPG

I'm at A&O Hostel Graz Hauptbahnhof, where I stayed last Saturday. Since I got back here I've had another lovely walk around the historic centre, taking in the sunshine, beautiful architecture and the view from the Murinsel, a tiny manmade island on the river Mur.

8be75710-021e-11ea-83b1-b925498c413a.JPGIMG_8992.JPG8c70ab50-021e-11ea-8424-656ae5573186.JPGIMG_9020.JPG8ce8e890-021e-11ea-be56-47d80d7de067.JPG8c40e8c0-021e-11ea-83b1-b925498c413a.JPG

I also went to the Dom, admired the Gothic and Baroque interior and lit a candle.

IMG_8997.JPGIMG_9001.JPGIMG_9005.JPGda94ad80-021f-11ea-92f3-71e2d553ce0d.JPGIMG_9004.JPGIMG_9009.JPGIMG_9318.JPG

I also admired a fresco on one of the exterior walls which is kept behind glass because of its historical importance; although religious in theme, it contains the earliest depiction of the city of Graz. Unfortunately my photos of it didn't turn out well due to the reflections on the glass.

0495da00-0220-11ea-83b1-b925498c413a.JPGIMG_9309.JPG

Tomorrow I spend the night in Klagenfurt before I fly to Hamburg and take the train from there to Lübeck on Sunday.

Posted by 3Traveller 02:28 Archived in Austria Tagged bridges art trains austria cathedral hostel graz unesco_world_heritage_site deutschlandsberg Comments (2)

UNESCO World Heritage Site: City of Graz - Historic Centre

Graz


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

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!

12af9030-f646-11e9-9909-0b3dce1e9f6d.JPGIMG_9230.JPGIMG_9235.JPG

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.

82aca680-f645-11e9-9a26-9f7dba2c565a.JPGIMG_8862.JPGIMG_8864.JPGIMG_8868.JPGIMG_8875.JPGIMG_8869.JPGIMG_8861.JPG8311f800-f645-11e9-939f-31b714b3c477.JPGIMG_8857.JPG835d58e0-f645-11e9-9909-0b3dce1e9f6d.JPG

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!

IMG_8879.JPG2bb56590-f647-11e9-a1a5-5b3a107869e7.JPG2b017ee0-f647-11e9-a2de-1f48d81ac8c8.JPGIMG_8887.JPG2a631c00-f647-11e9-a2de-1f48d81ac8c8.JPGIMG_8894.JPGIMG_8900.JPG2b1b9690-f647-11e9-a1a5-5b3a107869e7.JPG

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.

0fed7b40-f64c-11e9-9bc6-07cf6b615780.JPGIMG_8937.JPG0dd76c80-f64c-11e9-9909-0b3dce1e9f6d.JPGIMG_8920.JPGIMG_8915.JPGIMG_9190.JPG128eb300-f64c-11e9-a1a5-5b3a107869e7.JPG12356f70-f64c-11e9-9909-0b3dce1e9f6d.JPGIMG_8933.JPG119f49f0-f64c-11e9-9909-0b3dce1e9f6d.JPGIMG_8913.JPGIMG_8919.JPG12770c50-f64c-11e9-9909-0b3dce1e9f6d.JPG

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.

IMG_8901.JPGIMG_8906.JPGIMG_8899.JPGIMG_8909.JPG

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!

a5198010-f64c-11e9-9909-0b3dce1e9f6d.JPGIMG_8908.JPGIMG_9221.JPG

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)

The German excursion: Lindau im Bodensee

Bregenz and Lindau im Bodensee


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

A special day today, both at school and afterwards.

Today was the day when all the local teachers were having their annual grade-deciding conference, and as part of that they had a big buffet in the staff room. My co-teacher and I were both urged to have as much as we wanted from it, both during the mid-morning break and afterwards for lunch. The vast majority of the dishes were homemade. I was urged in particular to have a Bavarian speciality, weisswurst with sweet mustard; it was absolutely delicious - so juicy and tasty. I don't normally like mustard but this was much nicer than English mustard. I also had some amazing pumpkin soup (which tasted very similar to Dad's curried parsnip soup), a slice of pea and broccoli quiche, a small cheese and spinach pie and an onion and roasted vegetable slice. What a feast!

After class finished we took a train around the lake into Germany to the historic and picturesque Lindau im Bodensee, which is set on its own little island connected to the main town of Lindau by the rail line and another bridge. We went on a lovely extended wander round town in the sunshine and crisp winter air, admiring up close the harbourside...

0cc35770-eaa6-11e9-a7d7-a9af9d3e31f5.JPGIMG_8693.JPGIMG_8706.JPG

...the lighthouse and Bavarian Lion sculpture at the harbour entrance...

0bd48aa0-eaa6-11e9-8c40-e79f4e0abc1a.JPGf31892b0-eaa8-11e9-a204-2da2c9e65b6c.JPGIMG_8694.JPG0c8d5350-eaa6-11e9-8c40-e79f4e0abc1a.JPGIMG_8710.JPG

...and the view over the rest of the lake. I spotted some mysterious wooden posts sticking out of the water which I thought could be old supporters of a former, wooden jetty;

0d4afe00-eaa6-11e9-b1a1-5bea42e395a0.JPGIMG_8704.JPG

On our walk round the historic town I admired a lot of the buildings. One of them had an absolutely massive, woody plant growing up one side; maybe an ancient wisteria or laburnum.

3f1341b0-eaa9-11e9-a204-2da2c9e65b6c.JPG40176b40-eaa9-11e9-a204-2da2c9e65b6c.JPGIMG_8712.JPGIMG_8711.JPG4186d9c0-eaa9-11e9-b7fd-552ad6336e0a.JPG571c5d00-eaa9-11e9-b7fd-552ad6336e0a.JPG4058ba00-eaa9-11e9-a204-2da2c9e65b6c.JPGIMG_8741.JPG

Some buildings had murals on the front and antiques stalls set up outside.

IMG_8718.JPGIMG_8733.JPG

Before returning to the train station we stopped at a cafe, where I had a lovely Black Forest coffee. Then we went to a supermarket to get sandwiches for dinner, as we'd already had a main meal at lunchtime.

Posted by 3Traveller 08:00 Archived in Germany Tagged lakes art snow trains austria germany bregenz explorations german_cuisine lindau_im_bodensee Comments (0)

Tired but happy in Hungary

Train journey and Budapest


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

The long train journey continued...

It took about eight hours to get to Arad, the last Romanian stop before the border; it was past midnight by now, in fact closer to 1 am. Several people got out at this point, leaving me with only a couple of other people in my carriage. We stopped for quite a while here, but no Romanians came on board to check our passports. Eventually the train continued for a bit before stopping again - I assumed it was the first Hungarian stop, though I couldn't see a station name anywhere. Quite a long wait here before Hungarian border police came on board and checked passports. Then some more police came on board, checked passports again and also removed a panel from the roof of the connecting part of the carriage, set up a stepladder, climbed it and peered into the roof space - looking for contraband or for migrants, I assume.

We arrived at Budapest at 04.50, only ten minutes behind schedule. I took some money out, found the toilet and then set off for the hostel. My guidebook had warned me off taking a taxi from the station or from flagging one down in the street, so I didn't. I thought about using the metro or catching a bus, but was put off by the thought lugging my big case up and down the inevitable sets of steps and potentially not having room for it at all on the bus, so I ended up just walking instead. At least this time the way was flat! I was still knackered by the time I arrived though. As I walked through the streets I admired several grand-looking buildings and could definitely sense that I was in a Central European country rather than an Eastern one.

HBC Hostel turned out to be up two flights of stairs in part of a huge building with a central courtyard. As I arrived I realised that my big case had broken in a new place; the bottom edge had split almost all the way across. Luckily nothing had fallen out. Despite this, and my advanced stage of exhaustion, I managed to get everything upstairs OK. The lovely owner was up despite the early hour and let me in. He showed me into a different dorm to the one I'd booked (it was currently empty and actually better than the original one) and let me check in almost straight away.

After a few hours of sleep I felt much better. I went for a walk to the bank of the Danube, changing my leftover Romanian lei for Hungarian forints on the way (they wouldn't change my remaining Bulgarian leva, however). My hostel is in Pest, rather than Buda. I passed the Parliament building, which looks magnificent and is apparently the most photographed building in Budapest.

IMG_1006.JPGc4da5bf0-4e6c-11e9-8e56-8d099a6cb7f7.JPGIMG_0997.JPGIMG_1005.JPGIMG_1003.JPG

On the way back from the river I passed a Spar! - so I had to go in and see how it was different to British ones. Cheaper, with lots of different unusual cheeses (some green, some red - the actual cheese that is, not the rind), sausages and cured meats, unusual sandwiches. After ten months in Bulgaria and then a month between Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey and Romania, it was a novelty to me to see so many ready-made sandwiches. I bought one, along with two macchiato coffee milk drinks.

On my way back from there I walked past a free walking tour just as it was beginning, so as it seemed to be following the same direction as me, I joined it for five minutes until I got back to the hostel. We stopped outside an old building covered in bullet holes from the revolution of 1956. I considered staying with the tour until the end and finding out more, but I was too knackered; I didn't have the energy to walk around for another hour and a half/ two hours. I have another four whole days to do stuff in, after all.

It was past 6 o'clock when I got back, so I decided not to bother going out again for dinner. I made the sandwich and iced coffee my dinner and have been on my laptop since then. I'm off to bed now though. More exploration to come tomorrow!

Posted by 3Traveller 09:27 Archived in Hungary Tagged trains budapest hostel hungary unesco_world_heritage_site river_danube Comments (0)

More rail travel

Sighișoara and train journey to the Romanian/ Hungarian border

My train to Budapest wasn't until 17.00, so I had a lot of time to kill in Sighișoara before then. I got up late, checked out at the latest possible time and put my big case, carrier bag and rucksack into their luggage room. Then I went for a walk down the hill into the new town. I found a small supermarket and bought snacks and drinks for later. I was overjoyed to discover a bag of caramel flavoured boiled sweets with what looked like delicious melt-in-the-mouth chewy toffee-like centre.

After a sit-down in a small park and some photos of the beautiful view of the top of the clock tower, I returned to the hostel and had a lovely leisurely lunch. I stayed in the restaurant after that, writing a long email about the day before and doing other stuff on the internet until it was time to get a taxi to the station.

IMG_0983.JPG2ef61590-4e6a-11e9-9c7c-150eab6179f2.JPGIMG_0986.JPG

The train was a little bit shabby, but no worse than some I've seen in the UK. It was nearly empty. The train layouts have been very confusing to be honest, on every train trip so far - I don't think I've ended up in the right seat on any I've taken - and this was no different. Both carriage and seat numbers aren't always logically ordered. For example, on this occasion there were four long carriages on the train; I was supposed to be on carriage 409, seat 66, but both middle carriages were numbered 409 and claimed to have seats 22 - 80 or something similar.

I got on the nearest 409 carriage; there was a woman in seat 66 when I got there, so I showed her my ticket. She said 'Sprechen Sie Deutsch?' and I stood for a few seconds trying to remember what 'a little' is in German; Bulgarian and Spanish seemed to have pushed it out of my brain, however, so I ended up just saying it in English. She said 'English?' and I nodded, and she let out a short flood of German, which I managed to get the gist of (I'm quite proud of that actually, considering the many years it's been since I've had proper contact with the language). She was saying that she and her daughter had tickets for 65 and 66, but there was space opposite for me. She then showed me her ticket - it did say 66. I looked around and saw how empty the train was, so I just took a different seat across the aisle and at the front of the carriage.There were loads of free seats, plus I figured that if the ticket inspector had a problem with it, he or she would sort everything out.

When he came round, it turned out I was in the wrong carriage - he pointed at a sign which had 408 written on it. It said 409 on the outside and 408 on the inside! I should have been in the next carriage along. The carriage was so empty, though, he said it was fine for me to stay where I was.

Until the sun went down, the Transylvanian countryside transfixed me for quite some time; field after field of a particular type of crop I didn't recognise, hills, rivers, level crossings. Villages of shacks, colourful houses with terracotta-tiled roofs and the occasional wandering horse and cow. Every village seemed to have a church, often white, with a distinctively shaped tiled tower and spire. Sometimes the railway track ran so closely to the side of the road, pedestrians could have reached out and touched the train. As sunset drew closer I noticed an increase in flocks of birds, especially crows. One field we passed had a carpet of crows busy pecking at whatever crop it held; I'd never seen a field with so many birds on it before.

Posted by 3Traveller 00:15 Archived in Romania Tagged trains romania german sighişoara transylvania Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 16) Page [1] 2 3 4 » Next