Friday, March 23, 2007

And onto Graz, Austria!

Note... Part 2 of this Austrian trip is here... Blogger formatting was killling me.

From Stuttgart, I flew to Graz. This was on a jangly little plane, on which I was on of about 12 passengers - plenty of space.

Got there and went to get my car - the Hertz car hire girl was really nice and pleasant - gave me turn-by-turn directions to my hotel, sketching it out on a map for me. I got a Citroen Picassa C4 - not the Alfa I had last place, but adequate none the less.

With the help of the well defined directions from Elizabet, I found my way to the hotel in the dark and rain – pleasant receptionist in a nice looking business hotel – the Mercure Messe.

I had food in the hotel – an apparent local specialty – pumpkin soup. Gotta say, it was really good. Then sleeeeeeeep.

Then work on Monday morning – work was painful as things were not in place but this ain’t the place to talk about work. That evening, the rest of my colleagues arrived, and we headed out to the town center to have some food. Graz is an old very European city, with a lot of old towering buildings, hills, and narrow cobble stone streets. We went to a relatively modern South American restaurant called Maredo – it was OK in that the food tasted good, the service was fast and friendly – just a little generic. If you know what I mean.

Tuesday was Mardi Gras, so we ate early, went to one of the town squares, joined in the revelling to the 80's sounds, then went to a pub called The Office – there was a pub quiz and a good pint of Guinness, so we had some fun. The place was packed and smoky .

Wednesday, went to some Italaian place and had some OK fish. We also checked out Molly Malones - an Irish pub(!) as there was an important Rugby match coming up on Saturday and I needed to secure some place to watch it. Was OK - nothing special. Food smelled really good.

Thursday - Pizza at a large place called Da Vinchi - I had a Diavolo pizza and it was really really good and spicy - as expected!

One thing in particular I liked about Austria was the pumpkin seed oil that they use as salad dressing – this stuff was great – I never seen nor tasted anything like it before. Looks all brown, but when diluted with cider vinegar (I think), it goes a green color and tastes all nutty and nice. Kubiskernol (or Kürbiskernöl, or even Kernöl) is what I think it’s called. Trust me, it’s great.

On Friday evening, we went to yet another Irish pub for fish n chips. Flann O Briens. A fairly big pub with lots of Irish stuff hanging on the walls, and from what I could see, all the barstaff were almost all Irish. Fish n chips were good. We stayed and took it easy, then back to the hotel.

Saturday involved work early in the morning, then off into the center to Flann’s again. See, Ireland were playing England in the 6 Nations Rugby. There was a good crowd, wilt a good chunk of Irish, a handful of Austrians, Germans, French, and a few English. Naturally everyone, apart from the English, was fully in support of Ireland. This was the historic game at Croke Park – that’s a separate story that can be read here. My American friend who accompanied me had never seen rugby before and was impressed, and there is no reason on the world why he shouldn’t be. Anyway, Ireland tore apart England with record scores, so I was happy.

From there we got taken to another bar by an Irishman who joined us; lots more fun. Grazians seem to know how to enjoy themselves.

Anyway, Sunday was a cloudy, misty day but it was our only chance to go sight seeing as, in this ever-changing trip, we had to head off to Stuttgart again (and back to the Nestor) on Monday. So Sunday was walking around Graz day.

My hotel room backed onto a couple of houses which in turn backed onto a cemetery; one of the houses had a dog who was quiet until he seen me…….

While waiting for the American to get himself together, I took a walk in the cemetery, and took some photos – I don’t know if taking photos is the right thing to do in a cemetery, but I did it anyway, as there were some interesting grave stones or markers.

I'm guessing the guy <-- liked to enjoy a glass of wine with his loved ones - so they continue to have one with him in the afterlife.

I found the World War I burial plots...

<---See how elaborate this one is -Friedrich August Lapp. The one below is also real detailed - Heinrick Kless is the name on the stone.I wonder if the head / statue is a likeness of how he looked way back at the tun of the century. I'm not sure what these graves are but they looked good

I noticed a strange looking tree.

We then ended up in what I think was a flea market with lots of junk; there were some WW2 pictures in frames for sale, a really old Italian knife, a bear skin and about 2 million other odds and ends. ...walking down a typical Grazian street, and then into the "old" city, inside the wall, up a hill and to the church.

This should be the hill on the way up to the church.. .

There was another WWI memorial on the side of the church.

1 comment:

Willard said...

Have a look at and following pages to see more photos of two of the graves described above.