The second-largest city in Austria (first being of course Vienna), Graz is a university town where a friend of Haley’s is studying abroad. For this reason, she went on a day trip to visit the city and meet up with him and a few of us (Evan, Michael, and I) tagged along.
As the bus arrived at noon, lunch was the first item on the agenda. We followed a recommendation for Area 5, which is located on the top (fifth) floor in a building in the center of town. Instead of a set menu, we were given five stacks of different colored paper, each a type of meal. For example, one was for pasta and you would check the size of dish, the type of pasta, the sauce, and finally which three toppings you wanted. Other choices included burgers, pizza, and a potato dish. It was a very youthful place with great views of the city, though we didn’t get a great table as the restaurant was packed; instead we enjoyed watching the ski jumping tournament on TV.
After getting some energy, we started to explore the city, heading towards the Schloßberg (Castle Mountain), another recommendation, and stopping for gelato on the way. In the main square before the start of the hike up, we found some interesting artwork.
Cut into the hill are a series of tunnels which were created during World War II as bomb shelters during air raids. Today, there is a venue space and a fairytale railway for children.
After walking through to the other side, we began to climb up the Schloßberg. Each step up gave us a better view of the city.
Upon reaching the summit, we noticed a lot of historical and artistic monuments. One of these included the Artsat Glyphes. Behind this piece is a story about an Austrian in space on a Russian cosmonaut mission in 1991 who sent back the Danube Waltz in radio waves. The artwork shows said waltz inscribed into a steel platter.
Also located on the summit is the remains of a castle (now a public park). It was largely destroyed by Napoleonic forces, however the Uhrturm (Clock Tower) and Glockenturm (Bell Tower) were preserved by the people of Graz.
After descending the mountain, we met up with Haley’s friend who took us on a tour of the University of Graz where he is studying.
We then walked around the city with Haley’s friend leading the way and showing us the main sights.
After splitting up so Haley’s friend could grab his bike, we met up at the train station where he took us to his apartment. We got a short tour and talked with him and his roommates for a time before walking back train station, getting on our bus, and sleeping for most of the dark four-hour ride back.