Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Linz, Austria

From Vienna - I caught the train to Linz, to spend several days with Katharina's parents.

Her dad met me at the train station, it was humorously awkward, as we didn't have a common language, however he took me for a drive to show me the outskirts of Linz, however his good efforts were hindered by the city's smog. That night at dinner, I met Katharina's sister and her partner Gernot - which was great, as they knew English and therefore could interpret as well.
The next day the parents took me to Mathausen Concentration camp - which was sombre, and to be honest something in retrospect I would have rather done on my own, as I felt bad that I was making them take me to a memorial of the lowest point in their country's history.
This is the only picture I took at Mathusen, as I didn't think it was a good idea to take anymore than that, in respect to those died there etc. as it should be a reminder to the world about man's in humanity to man, not treated as another sight to see.Following that, we went for a drive, and had lunch at a brewery, which was quite nice, quaint, and picturesque. Just across the road from the brewery was a castle, which we had a look at as well, before walking down the hill a little bit to a cathedral/church - which was semi-famous for its altar-piece - which was carved. Then proceeded back to their home. Something that was nice was eating mutton again, after 7 or 8 months without it, it was rather nice. (As I right this, I have just made myself crave and miss it). After dinner Kathi's auntie and uncle came around.

The following day, the parents had a wedding to attend to, so they dropped me in town. I went to the castle - which was now a museum. Because I had timed it right, I got in free - as certain days of the month are free entry. It was very good, and I ended up talking to some of the staff.
From there I caught a bus up the hill to a prominent church on the skyline, and then came down via the tram. I checked out a couple more museums, including and interactive one which had a Ferris wheel on the roof - which scared the hell out of me to be honest - probably due to a combination of the height and speed.
Once I was finished there, I met up again with Gernot, and Katharina's cousin (the son of the auntie and uncle)- and enjoyed several beers with them, and also went and had some Leberkaus - which is an Austrian specialty, looks like ham, apparently made with various meats, including liver - which generally I'm not keen on, however this was rather nice.

The next day was a local election day - Kathi's father was running as a candidate - so I made myself scarce again, and finished having a look at the museums and stuff in town, including the Ars Electronica centre. The Next day Kathi's parent's took me to Salzburg, via Halstatt - where there were salt mines - to get to them you had to take a rail car up the mountain about a 1000metres. The mines were quite interesting, to get out of them there were several slides- which apparently genuinely were used back in the day. It clocked your speed coming down them - I got about 2nd or 3rd of the group (the guide was 1st naturally) with a speed of 31.6kph which I was rather proud of. After coming back down from the mountain, we checked out the town/village centre - which was on the edge of a large lake (just how you would picture Austria - alps and lakes) - and checked out the Bone House - basically where they had dug up people (due to over-crowding of the cemetery on the side of the hill,) and had decorated the skulls with the owners name and birth and death dates.From there, Kathi's parents took me to Salzburg, and dropped me at the hostel I was going to stay at.

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