The alpine scenic four hour train ride was spectacular full of crystal clear blue skies, frozen ponds, snowy alps, fast running clear rivers, snow fields, thickets of snow coated pine forests and snowed in towns. Arriving in Graz Rob’s first words were welcome to Siberia. It was so cold and bleak. Cars and push bikes were frozen in time on the side walk. Slabs of ice covered car rooftops. Warning signs hung every where warning of rooftop avalanches. If you stood under a melting rooftop you could easily be hospitalised by a falling icebreakers. Parks were frozen solid. Park picnic tables have picnic table cloths of ice ready to keep your beer chilled. You had to be careful not to tread on black slippery ice stairwell. Ice skates would have been handy.
Our favourite memories was being at the Glockenspiel Clock at 3pm and listening to it chime. Two windows open and a pair of carved wooden figures in traditional costumes dance to the Glockenspiel. Then we found the cafe where Sacher Torte Chocolate Cake was first created in 1832 by Franz Sacher at the age of 16. This went down well with a glass of wine. Interesting to note that it is still acceptable to smoke inside a restaurant here in Austria. I think the laws here are only changing this year!!!
A big Austrian saying here is No kangaroos here in Austria !!!
Travelling on the train over snow and icy tracks I wonder do these ice lands ever thaw out? The winter snow is very trapping.
We arrived in Vienna just at the same time as the Siberian cold front hit. Temperatures plummeted well below minus 20. Inside our apartment we were cosy and at times sweating with under floor heating and radiators. We even slept with a fan on.
Outside was another story. On our first full day to explore the snow started falling covering the pavement and streets in what looked like white icing sugar. Striped red and white poles jutted out from building with warning signs not to watch out for falling ice from the rooftops above.
Layering until you are as fat as a goose is the key in these uncomfortably cold conditions. Our Kathmandu coats have served us well. Rob wished he had thermal leggings. He has been growing his hair just to keep himself warm.
We gave up after a few hours of exploring and defrosted our bodies over coffee and a chocolate brownie. Vienna has a good representation for its coffee culture. Admittedly we spent the whole of the next day inside as we couldn’t bare the thought of the bitter cold weather.
Some of Vienna’s sights we only glimpsed at as we passed by them on the warm tram. The morning we left brought at beautiful sunrise over the city with blue clear skies and crisp cool air. We were off to explore Budapest!