Stübing, Graz, and Puch – STYRIAsly in Love with Austria

Selina Donahue
April 26, 2016

With our dirndls and lederhosen packed away, the students of IES Abroad Vienna set forth for a weekend of Southern Austrian culture as seen in Styria, Austria.

Our trip started at the Tour of the Österreichisches Freilichtmuseum/Austrian Open-Air Museum; none of us really knew what to expect, even Dieter just said that there would be some information “about history.” What it turned out to be was a walk through nature with stops at various cottages or other wooden buildings. Some were previously homes, others were wine presses or filled wood cutting devices. We all ended up really loving this part as the weather was perfect for walking around in the sunlight.

After two hours we had lunch, which was the usual options of pork and potato dumplings or käsespätzle. I got the käsespätzle, and it was actually the best käsespätzle that I’ve gotten so far, so I would definitely recommend it if you go on this trip. 

A group of men playing tug of war as their families look on; it ended in a tie.

Basically how I feel about Manner.

After the Museum, we headed to Graz and our hostel. The JUFA hostel was very clean, modern, and very much styled to match the preferences of a younger group of people. I was in a room of three (which actually had a television in it, though we didn’t watch anything) that had one bed attached to the wall in a manner that seemed like it could’ve been unsafe, but was actually very sturdy and saved space. After settling in, we went on a guided walking tour through Graz.

The Graz Clock Tower, or Uhrturm.

The terrifying stair leading up to the Clock Tower.

The Mur River.

The Kunsthaus, which amazingly is shaped like a giant heart.

The next morning we were taken on a tour of the Styrian Armoury. I’ll admit that I wasn’t that excited to about this tour at first; I’ve never been interested in hunks of metal before so why would that change? However many of us were pleasantly surprised by the tour; our guide was energetic and had many funny stories to entertain us. He was an A Class nerd when it came to the armour and weapons, which only made it more interesting. We even got to try on helmets, gloves, hold a tall spear, and a sword that I luckily managed not to drop.

The view from the bus window, on the way to the Apfelblütenfest.

Our last stop on this trip was the Apfelblütenfest at Puch. This was the part I think many of us were looking forward to the most; my friends and I were all dressed up in our dirndls and braided hair. The bus drove us through woods on winding roads, past vineyards to the eventual fest. As it turned out, the days weather was to be chilly and overcast, which was not sublime. I only had a cheap sweater on over my dirndl, another friend was dressed to the nines with no sweater or coat to speak of. With the wind and lack of sun, frankly it was cold. We got food; schnitzel, frankfurter, and kartoffelsalat. Many students got Apfel-Radler and other types of beer.

My friends and I wandered around in search of warmth; unfortunately any and all cafes and restaurants were full with families and friends taking refuge from the cold. We eventually ended up on a hilly area where there were stands selling alcoholic beverages, picnic tables, and a band playing. After some schnapps we warmed up a little, and luckily an hour was cut off of the remaining time we had there (it was just too cold!). However, a highlight of this trip was when the band came off the stage and started serenading the IES Abroad students. Being Americans, we were all very vocal with our cheering and loud clapping which I think they appreciated. They were a hilarious group of older gentlemen, all of which were quite skilled in their craft.

Schnitzel and franfurters, what more could you want?

My friends and I with the band!

If given the chance, definitely go on this trip. It showed us another side of Austria that you just won't get exposed to in Vienna. The countryside was beatiful, the people friendly, and the food delicious. 

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Selina Donahue

<p>Selina is a Junior Studio Art Major at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. She enjoys long walks in the halls of art museums, eating too many cupcakes, and absorbing the world around her to feed as inspiration for all her creative endeavors. Her specialties lie in taking too many pictures and expressing joy over the little things. Selina is excited to share the beauty she sees all over Vienna during her stay with all who hop on over to her little blog!</p>

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