Graz: UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, birthplace to Arnold Schwarzenegger and home to my grandfather's last surviving brother. On the way we took the train, which involved the novelty of a reserved car and the inconvenience of the very tight hallway connected to it.
The symbol of Graz is the Schlossberg. Considered the strongest fortification of all time, even Napoleon couldn't conquer it. He had to occupy Vienna and threaten to raze it to the ground to get the fortress' defenders to surrender, after which he dismantled all of its fortifications, saving only the bell tower and clock tower.
My great uncle lives in a house above the farms about forty minutes outside Graz. I had never met my great uncle Edi before arriving at the station in Graz. He has my grandfather's eyes and mannerisms, but my grandmother's mischievous energy. In a way, talking to him was like having both of them back.
This, That & The Other
- People in Austria bring their dogs to restaurants. Not only is this not discouraged, the staff will bring a bowl of water for the dog.
- Beer, wine and shot glasses in restaurants often have lines indicating the "full" point and the quantity.
- Street lights hang off wires suspended between buildings, with the lights themselves hanging above the middle of the road.
- The weather changes quickly, and rain will come and pass quite suddenly. Sometimes rain will just miss you. While we were at our great uncle's place, it rained in Graz while we only heard thunder.
- Toilets have two buttons: one big and one small.
- Doors don't fit flat with the frame when they close, but have a little lip outside the edge (only engineers will care about that one).
Just about everywhere we've gone so far, people speak English. The only German conversation I've had was with an old man on top of the Schlossberg. My side consisted entirely of "ja."