A massive day

Trip Start Feb 02, 2010
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Trip End Feb 02, 2011


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Flag of Austria  , Styria,
Thursday, April 1, 2010

Tuesday night, turned out like I imagined it would, I think we got home around three AM, it would have been later if everywhere wasn't closed. Wednesday nothing very exciting happened, mainly just a lot of sleeping. We tried to go to Landeszeughaus, an armoury with the biggest collection of middle age weapons in the world, but because of our extra long sleep-in and fuddling around until late afternoon they were closed by the time we got there.
So today, we woke up especially early compared to our usual schedule. We - Flo, Andrea, Felix and I, had a lot of planned for today, everything opened for Summer today so what we had wanted to do over the week we had to do in two days. And it was the perfect day, warm and a clear, sunny sky.
Our first destination was an Open-air Museum. This place was a village of historic houses. As you walked though the village you were able to see how people from different areas of Austria built differently and how their building styles progressed over time. Naturally nobody conveniently built these houses nicely arranged as they are now, so each house has been moved piece by piece. All the houses are original and were once lived-in, every single tiny piece of them was numbered systematically before they were deconstructed, transported then built back up again. To do this with a house made out of logs with a wood shingle roof is really impressive, for a house made out of river stones and hand made bricks three stories high that is something unbelievably impressive. It was a really beautiful place, such detail was put into all the houses, there were even clocks that are wound everyday, ticking away in some houses or a book and glasses left on the table, like the occupant had just gone outside for a minute to get some wood for the fire.
A friendly lady working there in the canteen as a cook was baking some bread in an outdoor wood oven. She showed us inside the oven and sold us some fresh warm bread and strudel.
At two o'clock we rushed out of the museum and to Peggau bei Graz, to visit the Lurgrotte cave. Here we met some of Flo's family who we had met before at dinner, and also Florian and Karen, two very nice friends of Flo. We had a tour guide with us who did the tour in German, so I didn't understand much but Felix, Flo and Andrea translated some interesting parts for me which was good. This cave was very special I think because there were parts with big, ancient stalactites and stalagmites and beautiful formations like candle wax and also parts where it was just rock, but polished silky smooth by the water that floods through every year. The grandeur and size of this cave was amazing, we were in there for an hour so only got to see a very small part of the thirty something kilometres of passages and caverns. It was so beautiful; the huge caverns fill with sparkling calcium formations and walking along the underground river past the strangest shaped rocks and between twisting pillars of smooth black rock. I really enjoyed being in the cave. This cave is the home to seven species of bats and we were lucky too see some as they were hanging from the roof above us, still hibernating. They return every Winter to exactly the same place.
After the cave we stopped at a little cafe and had some seriously creative ice-cream Sundays from a very extensive menu. Florian and Karen told us about a place they visited in Norway called Lofoten and a beach there where many whales go to die. Here they had seen massive whale skeletons lying on the sand and picked up a single vertebra the size of a 4WD tyre. As soon as I heard about this I wanted to go there, I absolutely love whales. My dream is to see one, to find a piece of bone would be really special for me. Apparently they smell to high heaven though and the beach sometimes is covered with a blubbery, green slim with a smell that never leaves anything it touches. I'm not sure Korean Air will let me take a rotting piece of whale bone on the plane and I'm sure Australian customs won't think much of it either. They also said when a dead whale washes up, if it was left to rot on the beach, it would eventually explode from the gas made as it rots and the smell throughout the whole town would be unbearable. So they pull the whale out to sea and use explosives to hurry the process along. Pieces then wash up and still smell but not quite as bad. It makes me feel quite sad and uncomfortable that such a great, extraordinary animal ends up blasted into pieces.  
When we got home, we only had time for a fifteen-minute powernap to recover from a flat-out day before we had to leave again to go out for dinner. It was supposed to be a surprise from Flo and Andrea for my 21st Birthday because we had been there earlier in the week and said how we would like to go there, but we accidently found out. It was an Indian Restaurant called the Taj Mahal, it was more on the expensive side but the food was amazing. I recommend it to everyone. Felix and I had a mini banquet that gave us a many different things. What I really like about this meal was it that is wasn't just typical Indian curries. We had slices of chicken with very different spices on the outside, baked cheese, samosas, two different soups and curries, naan, sweet rice, mango ice cream and something that was supposed to be cheese but was not like any cheese I have tasted before, in a sugar syrup. Everything was wonderful, I absolutely love Indian flavours.
Brimming with dinner we left the restaurant and went to play some pool, while we were getting very tired and my feet were sore from standing all day. Flo really loves Reggae and we have been listening to lots of this music with him so I wanted to come to this party even though I felt a little out of my comfort zone, that is what we are here for to try new things and experience something different and challenging. At first I was freaked out by the totally unselfconscious (or/and totally wasted) people dancing by themselves like crazy hippies (because they were), but after Felix set an example and told me about twenty times how I needn't worry how I looked, nobody cared how they looked let alone how I did, I started to really enjoy the music and not feel quite as worried.
Sensibly we left at a sensible hour and were able to land a massive day gently, rather then crash. It was a huge but great day, I fell asleep happy the moment I lay down.
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Comments

Julie on

Thanks for sharing such beautiful writing and photos! Stunning places you have been to. So glad to hear that you have had such a happy time! Lots of love from Uje

Maria and Edwin on

Hi guys,

Just finding a quiet moment to catch up on the diary... We are lying here in our bed in our room after our own massive weekend, and we feel like you at the end of your massive day!!

Lovely to be back reading up on your travels. We especially liked the line about Felix giving an example and telling you to let loose to the reggae with the crazy hippies :-)

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