Thursday, August 18, 2011

Unser Steiermark Ausflug: Teil 1

As noted in the previous post, David and I visited the southern Austrian state of Steiermark last weekend. We had only a little knowledge of the area's geography and history before we planned the trip, but we knew enough to know that it is certainly a place worth making the time to visit.  What, with it's famous wine growing region, and being the home of our former governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.  The combination of David's birthday and the Maria Himmelfahrt holiday made for the perfect long weekend to visit das grünes Herz Österreichs (The Green Heart of Austria).

Views of Steiermark from the train and a shot of me inhaling my beloved pretzel (my 3rd favorite Austrian foodstuff behind Melange and Apfeltascherl)

 The Smart car we rented from EasyMotion.  Cruising around the region in this zippy number made for some very fond memories.

On Saturday, we drove our Smart car through the districts of Hochsteiermark (High Styria) and Südweststeiermark (South-West Styria).  During the drive we stopped over in Stübing and visited the Österreiches Freilichtmuseum, one of the largest open-air museums in all of Europe.  The Stübing Valley is home to around 100 historic buildings from all over Austria dating back six centuries.  Walking through the valley is like walking across rural Austria of the past -- from Burgenland in the east to the Bregenz Forest in the west.  David and I are suckers for this sort of thing, so needless to say, we found the rural architectural styles and cultures of Austria's farming past to be a unique and impressive experience.  It was also special for me to see dozens of hundred-years-old buildings that look like they would fit right next door to the old cabins and farm houses that still remain in our homeland of East Tennessee, or in the rural areas of where my dad's from, the Wild, Wonderful West Virgina.  Pretty cool stuff.

 

At the end of the day, we made our way back to Graz by taking the small roads rather than the Autobahn.  David and I often find that these roads lead us to discovering authentic Austrian towns with charming architecture, visible culture, and friendly people.  (Isn't this similar everywhere, though?)  On this particular route, we passed by the delightful town of Jugendorf-Straßengel, which dates back to 860AD.  We noticed a beautiful church perched high on an adjacent mountain and so we navigated the little Smart car up the hill until we found beautiful Die Kirche Maria Straßengel.


As you may imagine, Saturday was a good day.  So were Sunday and Monday.  That post comes next.

4 comments:

Jennifer said...

AAAWWHHHHH! Great photo's. So cool that you have so much history at your fingertips in Vienna and a train/car ride around you. So glad you are sharing on your blog. Such fun for us. Looking forward to Teil 2. Such a fun birthday weekend.

Lydia @ See Beautiful said...

I don't even know where to begin. Here's for cheesy on a Friday though: the pictures brought tears to my eyes. It was like a little slice of home away from home. I could see that in the pictures.

yogamarita said...

Querida...i love your page...so delightful to read...thanks for sharing...

Rosie said...

What beautiful scenery! Your photos took me right there (while also making me ache to be there). So happy to be able to follow your journey...

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