On tuesday I traveled 200 km, to get to the second-largest city in Austria after Vienna (and the capital of the federal state of Styria). Yesterday was a holiday in Austria, which means pretty much everything is closed. Shop-wise at least. Graz is also a student city, and thus deserted during holidays. Oh well, all the more space for us tourists.
Graz’ Old Town is one of the best-preserved city centres in Central Europe. In 1999, Graz was added to the UNESCO list of World Cultural Heritage Sites. So much for cultural facts. On tuesday late afternoon / eveningish we went up the Schloßberg, to get a view over Graz. Ticking of touristy must-sees as the Uhrturm (clocktower) on our way.
We had dinner at Cafe Erde, a vegan restaurant at Andreas-Hofer-Platz. The Burger with fries and the soja-Schnitzel with fries and salat were awesome. Our friendly waiter even brought a plate of the daily special, risotto, when he was somehow informed that I work for a review-site. I feel used. ;)
Wednesday we started at the Opernhaus, presumably the second largest opera house in Austria. We went for a stroll through the Stadtpark, ending up at Le Schnurbart (Paulustorgasse 6) for a proper breakfast (crepe with apple purée, crepe with ratatouille, 2 Makava’s, 1 espresso). Next we ‘accidentaly’ ended up inside the Dom (cathedral), admired the Landplagenbild fresco (painted in 1485, presumably by Thomas von Villach) and followed a group of Russian tourists around a bit.
After a refreshment (smoothies!) and some postcard-writing at Tribeka (Grieskai 2) ), right by the river Mur, we went in the Kunsthaus. A funky looking building, designed by Peter Cook and Colin Fournier. The running exhibitions are ‘media.art.collecting; perspectives of a collection’ and ‘Liu Xiaodong; The Process of Painting’, which I enjoyed a great deal.
Other obligatory stuff we passed by? The Murinsel, an island made of steel, situated in the river, designed by American architect Vito Acconci. The Rathaus (Town Hall). The Mausoleum of Emperor Ferdinand II. The Gemaltes Haus, completely covered with frescos (painted in 1742 by Johann Mayer).
Shortly before heading to the trainstation we went for a very decent pizza and pasta at Don Camillo, next to the Franziskanerkloster (monastery).
Graz is a great destination for a weekend trip, squeezing in a bit of (souvenir)shopping on a saturday. I really enjoyed the friendly, Mediterranean vibe and evening view over the city.