Slowly but surely, my stay here in Austria is coming to an end. In only a few days, I will leave this beautiful country. On one of my last weekends here, my father finally came to visit me and we couldn’t have used the two days we had in any better way. We spent a very relaxed Friday afternoon, first at a café in Leibnitz, then strolling through the city center of Graz and having dinner a very nice, traditionally Austrian restaurant.
The next day, we were off to Maribor, Slovenia, despite the rainy weather. I really enjoyed the atmosphere in the city, very young and somehow artsy. Luckily, the weather gradually became better, so after extensive walks through the city and along the river Drava and a short coffee break at a café, we decided to spend the second half of the day hiking.
We drove back to Leibnitz and then did the tour from Seggauberg to the Kreuzkogelwarte/Kogelberg again, this time taking a beautiful route through the local vineyards, which I had missed on my previous hike. Back on the Seggauberg, we visited the Seggau castle located on its top, which now is a hotel and congress center. Many of the old structures are still intact, though, so it was still beautiful to look at. We ended the day with an excellent dinner a local restaurant in Leibnitz.
On sunday, we decided to do some more hiking, so we headed to the Schöckl. This is a mountain very close to Graz, which is very popular with the locals for hiking, mountain biking and paragliding. We left the car at the valley station of the lift and hiked all the way to the summit at 1445 m. The paths were pretty crowded and downhill bikers kept zooming past us – we hadn’t been the only ones who had the idea of making use of the perfect weather conditions. But despite the crowds, the hike was amazing: steep paths, mostly shadowed by the trees, comfortable temperatures and not a cloud in the sky. Up on the summit, there was still some snow left and it was pretty cold, but the sun made up for that. We spent some time watching the paragliders take off from the summit. The perfect thermal lift that day allowed them to fly hundreds of meters above their take-off point. I was so close to actually booking the tandem-paragliding, but decided against it after we had watched as many as three failed attempts to jump because they weren’t able to control the wing properly. Finally, we took the lift back down to where our car was parked.
We spent the second half of the day in Graz, where we took the funicular up to the Schlossberg. We enjoyed the great view over the entire city of Graz – we were even able to see the Schöckl, which we had just climbed! After some more sight-seeing, looking e. g. at the famous clock tower and bell tower, we took the stairs back down into the historic city center. We drove back home and had dinner in Leibnitz again, ending a far too short, but very enjoyable weekend.