Welcome to Graz! After a long train ride from Munich, we arrived here, Lukas’s hometown. This was a really big trip for me as it’s not only exploring a new place but seeing L’s parents and grandparents was a huge deal. We stayed with his grandparents for the first few days just outside of Graz which had its highs and lows. High was that his grandparents are very kind and gave us a very warm welcome to their home – Oma is a very good cook and served us really delicious meals where I was able to try many new Austrian dishes. Opa loves to take lots of photographs and showed me many of his photographs. Lows – I couldn’t understand or speak a lick of German (let alone with their dialect) and at the time and they couldn’t understand me. There was a moment in there when I ran into his grandmother in the kitchen and it just involved a lot of random, awkward hand signals trying to communicate where Lukas was.
As Lukas grew up in the heart of the city, it was great to finally have him show me around – including his childhood home. I was impressed by this small city and it was a lot more vibrant and colorful than I had expected! My knowledge on Austria was very small before I met Lukas, I had never even heard of Graz. It’s the second largest city in the country – behind Vienna of course and the capital of Styria. Arnold Schwarzenegger is from here and now when I mention Lukas is from Graz everyone asks if he has the “Schwarzenegger accent” and gives me a really bad impersonation.
We began our date with ice cream and the amount of ice cream I consume whenever I’m in Europe is truly alarming – they’re on every corner! I wouldn’t change that by any means as it’s much more preferred over Starbucks on every corner but it definitely doesn’t help anyone’s diet.
Walking around and sightseeing in Graz is truly a delight and I believe the city is really underestimated as a tourist destination and gets completely pushed aside, especially to Americans. I feel really fortunate I had the opportunity to explore it and will continue to have many trips and memories there. I hope others give it a chance!
For the second part of our date, Lukas took me up to the Clock Tower and Schlossberg which involves a very scenic walk up and absolutely an ideal place to look over the city! This could have been the whole date and I would’ve been ecstatic! We spent the most time up here, taking our time to explore different views and enjoying the garden. It’s very romantic. This city feels really centered around the Rathaus – you can see it from almost anywhere and it’s the highlight of any view! The city center is a UNESCO World Heritage site and was chosen as a “Europe Capital of Culture” back in ’03 but it’s something Lukas still mentions. He said they really set out to improve the city when they received that title and put it to good things.
It was right around 3 pm I think when we noticed clouds starting to make their way over! So we figured we better finish up soon and Lukas wanted to show me one more place, his favorite view of the city from the rooftop restaurant Freiblick Tagescafe. I must say we weren’t this impressed with the food or service (I think we came in just as they were getting ready to close the kitchen) but the view was absolutely amazing!
The view from Freiblick Tagescafe.
Places in this post: Rechbauerstraße, Graz University of Technology, Graz Rathaus, Schlossberg, Clock Tower, Freiblick Tagescafe.
Photos were shot with Canon EOS Rebel T3i and iPhone.