This post needs to be divided into two parts so consider today’s post as part 1.
Today folks marks my three month travel anniversary. It would end up being a day I will never forget for as long as I live. Profound words hey but you’ll understand in tomorrow’s post. To add to today’s unprecedentedly difficult day, it would also the longest day I’ve ever had. I got up at 6am, was on the road for 7am and arrived at my ultimate destination at 9pm. No, really! And for once, only a small handful of those hours were actually any fun!
Despite being a neighbouring country, getting from Slovenia to Austria is really quite an expensive task. A single train ticket from Maribor to Graz is 16 euros and then on to Vienna, a further 37 euros. That’s nearly 55 euros for a single ticket but it honestly feels like double on a backpacker budget. To put that into context, I’m struggling to think of another single other purchase I have paid more out for in these last three months. Buses were cheaper but booked out for the next few days.
Instead the nice lady from the hostel put me in touch with a local guy who commutes daily to Graz from Maribor. He would charge me 5 euros and get me to Graz in an hour. Result! Acceptant of the fact that I would still have to pay for the train to Vienna, I was happy I’d at least managed to knock off 11 euros from the original price. I am resourceful if little else…
I was dropped off at the main Graz station at 8am and proceeded to put my many bags into cheap storage (having previously researched this) before I set off exploring. I knew I had a train connection at 15:25 so I had plenty of time.
So, Graz then. Pretty cool, pretty urban, pretty busy too. All very unsurprising considering it’s Austria’s second biggest city after the capital of course. Other things I’ve learnt include it boasting six universities(!) and that the largest group of foreign settlers these days (excluding Germans), is Bosnian’s and Romanian’s!
Here are some of the sights I explored during the course of the morning.
8am and 12pm
This ‘thing’ shown below is the Graz Art Museum (who’d have thought it) and it was built as part of the European Capital of Culture celebrations in 2003 and has since become an architectural landmark in Graz, Austria
And now, a pretty cool floating Island. The WWW says that the Murinsel in Graz is an artificial floating island made of steel and glass reconnecting the city and its river. On the floating island, drink a coffee, listen to live music, and simply enjoy the view over the city from a different view or if you’re on a budget, take photos and walk on it.
Then there was a strange but pretty cool looking building known as the Telekom Hochhaus and is a 18-story high-rise building.
Next up, getting up to The Grazer Schloberg Clock Tower.
Don’t be fooled though, there was more to see and do that just a clock tower and you could easily find yourself spending a couple of hours up here if not more.
12pm and 13:00
Here’s hoping this is the first and last time I ever post pictures such as these:
Part 2 is coming tomorrow folks for no other reason than I still need to write it.
13:00 through to 21:00
Separate to the events from above, I got back to the train station fifteen minutes later as I no longer wanted to explore. I just wanted to sit and think and the train would be perfect for that. So having arrived back at 13:15, I went to check if there were earlier trains than the one I was originally planning on catching at 15:25. Sure enough, these were hourly so there was one in ten minutes but considering I hadn’t collected my cases yet and I still needed something to eat, I’d simply catch the next one at 14:25. Except that was a bad decision, ok that’s a bit harsh, rather an unlucky call. Yes, yes, I know a few you’ve been waiting for one of those admit it! 🙂
Here I am at the platform fifteen minutes prior to my 14:25 departure. Thinking back, I’m not sure why I took these photos but I’m glad I did as I can show you what this same scene looked like just 30 minutes later.
Yep, the eagle-eyed amongst you will realise that if I’m still on the platform 30 minutes later then something has gone wrong!
Indeed, and here is the explanation depicted completely unedited. Again, remember this is genuinely a 30 minute difference between the photos and the time is not even 15:00 yet!!!
So with such a ferocious storm, the 14:25 was cancelled and so was the 15:25. Ahhhh sheeeet! Really not good.
So to cut a long story short, the train people provided a bus to take us another train station some distance away where there weren’t trees on the track! From here we would catch a train to another station before eventually catching another train to Vienna. I arrived at my hostel, a little exhausted and definitely hungry, at 21:00. To think, I’d have probably saved 5 hours of this torturous experience if I’d have caught the 13:25.