posted on Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Graz


Arrival day in Austria. The highlight despite the pretty sights of Graz, must be the unscathed arrival of my brand new touring bike. Looking outside the airport windows before boarding the plane at Stansted I followed the progress of my neatly boxed jewel hoping it would be handled by the delicate hands of a china shop assistant! Good packing means lowsy unpacking, and it was not before 1 hour and a half that layers upon layers of bubble wrap and insulation foam were removed and I was riding on austrian soil. Graz was a pleasant surprise and there was no better way than to look at it from the heights of Schlossberg. A steep hill rising from the town centre and reached by a maze of winding alleys. Of the castle only the bell tower survives as a symbol of the capital of Styria. What could not be demolished is the grand views from the top terrasses. A 360 degrees display of the town below in an interminable sequence of hills like waves disappearing into the horizon. Cycling around the old town its rich past is evident in an array of tidy streets lined by palaces and churches in baroque and gothic style.