A Day in Graz

Today we were up early to travel from Vienna to Graz by train.  The Austrian railway is so much nicer than any of the trains I’ve been on in Italy.  We rode though the countryside, which was so picturesque, and arrived in Graz around 11:30.  Our hotel was literally right in front of the train station.  We went into the city center of Graz and had lunch before starting a relaxing day of touring.  We mostly saw some very modern architecture, because Graz has been named a UNESCO city of design.  There were a lot of buildings that were ultra modern in their design, nestled into this historical Austrian town.  Somehow they didn’t seem too out of place.

The first building we visited was the Kunsthaus Graz.  This was a really crazy building.  The best way for me to describe it would be to say in looks like some kind of slug, alien blob that crashed into a building.  Underneath the skin of the building are rings of LED lights that can be controlled to create low-definition images that are then projected onto the skin.  Inside we saw some temp array exhibits that were pretty interesting, but the main feature was no doubt the building itself.

Afterwards we walked down the river to (insert name here), which is a cafe and playground combined with a bridge that is suspended over the river.  Then we went to a building that housed music and theatre programs for the university in Graz.  This building was super weird looking from the outside but the inside was really cool.  While walking back to the city center, we stopped for a break in one of the parks.  We then walked up to the top of the hill, where the famous clock tower of the city stands.  From up there you could see the entire city and we watched the sunset before walking back down to get dinner and return to the hotel for a good nights sleep before another early morning of traveling.

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Vienna-Wein

 Vienna has been such a lovely city.  The fact that we have had amazing weather is just icing on the cake.  During our three days here we saw some of the big sights – St. Stephen’s cathedral, the Albertina museum, the Belvedere Palace and gardens, the Leopold museum, and some pieces of modern architecture.  We also saw many projects by Otto Wagner and Adolph Loos, as well as some funky architecture by Kunst.  The museums and galleries we visited had a very impressive collection, including some of my moms favorite impressionist painters. (many goodies coming home for you, mom!)

My favorite thing we visited was the Gasometer.  This was the storage tanks for gas that used to supply the city.  Before WWI, the infrastructure changed and the tanks were empty until the early 2000s when they were repurposed.  Now there are apartments, student housing, a mall, and other things for public use.  I wouldn’t say it was a very successful project, but I really loved the idea-and the original buildings themselves were really beautiful.

As far as meals go, we definitely immersed ourselves in the Austrian culture.  We tried Berner wurstel, bratwurst, and hot dogs that were served in a hollowed-out loaf of french bread.  We ate lunch two days in a row while laying in the park.  One night we all went to dinner together at a beirgarten called 7 Stern Braü.  I tried the spätzle, and it was delicious.  I made the mistake of ordering the regular size portion and it was literally served to me in a frying pan bigger than my head.  I will not comment on how much of that I was able to finish.  We went to bed early Monday night because we were headed to Graz early the next day.

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