Sunday 6 Sept
Again I slept like a log last night, not even dreaming, I woke with a start, i've picked the most annoying tone on my phone as the alarm to guarentee that it wakes me. The only thing is I think it would be a less startling way to wake up if the appartment I was in came under morter fire.
I soon realised that the 15mins I budgeted the night before to organise my stuff would not be suffice, and ran round like a headless chook with my cereal in one hand while the other dressed me and threw all my stuff in my bag. I ran out the door just after 620, I needed to make the 628 bus to get into town on time and spent the whole time the elevator was rising trying to get the appartment key in the hole to re-lock it. I had little success and ended up leaving it unlocked.
I got to the bus station and waited almost 10mins, that'd be right. I got on and went to pay for my ticket, the bus driver was less then impressed with me producing a 50Eu note at 630 in the morning and rewarded me with hardly any notes and a bunch of coins for change.
We were meeting at Geidoorfplatz and the plan was to jump in a car and drive up to the base of hochschwab, a mountain about an hour from Graz. I was wearing shorts a singlet and my runners. I had an extra t shirt and my raincoat in my pack. Had I known that we were going to get snowed on at the summit I would have worn something more appropriate.
We got to the base carpark and set off in the sun, it was super hot and I was glad I was in a singlet unlike the long sleeves the other "dumbasses" I was with. I was with my boss, one of the IAESTE johannas and 2 of there mates.
The mountain we climbed starts at and altitude of 800m and finishes at 2270!! the signs said the climb was supposed nearly 5 hours but we were 2 thirds of the way on the map in 1, it was a quite easy incline and not too difficult. Admittedly the last third took twice as long as the first 2, but we still made it in in just under 3 hours.
The climb was fantastic, the scenery was amazing and about half way into the last third it was covered in snow. The last third was probably the most dangerous climb i've ever done, there was a good couple of hundred meters where the path was at least 45degrees and had a ladder over it, luckily there were chains most the way up too, had I slipped at any of these point (without exaggerating) I would have rolled hundreds of meters and of been a mashed up piece of meat, if I was still in one piece, we were also constatly walking along the top of snow covered cliffs, ranging from 2 to 50 m drops in a howling wind.
That was the other thing as we moved over the ridgeline we copped the full brunt of the weather. I was absolutely freezing, I could hardly feel one of my hands, the other i'd leant a glove from one of the other guys so that I could at least feel the chain I was holding onto to help prevent almost certain death. It was my face that was killing me, it was so cold and the snow was sticking to my skin, I couldn't even hold my camera coz my hands were sticking to it. The other guys had snow on all there eyelashes and eyebrows and i'm sure I wasn't much different.
Despite being in shorts my legs did ok for most of the way, it was only near the top that my calves started not functioning pretty well. One of the guys had a spare pair of pants but stupid male stubborness wouldn't let me take them. My pride had already taken a hit by accepting the glove. By the time we were at the summit we were in a 2Deg celcius horrizontal ice spear snowstorm. For parts of the walk we couldn't even look up at the snow was stinging our eyes.
At the summit there was a waterproof container with a 'guestbook' in it which we all wrote in. I wrote the following; Whats up Austria?? love from SUNNY DRY SNOWFREE Australia!! From there we walked down to the Schlosshaus, a cottage just near the summit.
Here I had pea soup and two coffees. I was still freezing for a good half ann hour, I was going to have to accept those pants, we had some schnapps too, that did the trick and I was soon right as rain. We sat around playing austrian games, (which I always lost), laughing at the people who run the place. They were pretty weird slash alternative, and the rainbow flag in the corner kind of summed it up.
We went to leave and I opened the door, I almost died, I took the hit and while staring at my feet I asked one of the guys if I could borrow his spare pants, they didn't fit, not even close, one of the other guys had some waterproof outer pants so he leant me those, after i'd tried to put thhem on he told me to be careful of the hole in the shin, he probably could have told me that before I put my foot through it almost tearing the bottom half of the pant leg off.
The walk down was ok, we went a different route and the sun came out. We saw some pretty cool wildlife too, a heap of cool birds, some giant meer-cat looking things (which they eat in Switzerland) and some moose looking thing, which martin told me is just like a goose... he meant to say goat.
We also found some pretty sweet caves too, one of them was littered with old stove like things, apparently nearly every cave around here is full of Bats, bears and remnants of what was left behind from WW2, I cant believe they fought in these hills!! "there wasn't much fighting here" martin informed me "most of it was done in the alps near italy, there the hill are much steeper and far more dangerous!!"
On the way home we stopped at Bruck undermur. Which translates to Bridge on the Mur, the mur is the name of the major river around here that runs through Graz. We stopped for what the guys referred to as "coffee and cake." I told them the response i'd get back home in the country if I asked all my mates if they wanted to go for "coffee and cake". They thought it was hillarious and one said "haha, your going to go home and all your friends will think that we've turned you gay"
The cake was awesome though, I had this one called Bruck-torte, I thought it was great, the rest of the blokes didn't like it and claimed it was probably just a tourist trap. I didn't care though.
Tonight i've gotta spend probably at least an hour compiling all the responses i've got from the couch surfing requests. That will probably take at least an hour!! not looking forward to it.
Sunday 6 Sept
I got up this morning at 6, I grabbed my skipping rope and my towel and went downstairs. I opened the front door and was greeted by the extremely brisk air. I laid my towel down and positioned myself to use my brand new skipping rope. I was really looking forward to using it. It was crap. There was no weight in it and it felt like I was swinging some string around my body.
After just doing sit ups, and getting ready for work I took off, again running slightly late, I had a 5 k walk to work and wanted to leave an hour ealry to give myseelf a 10 minute fudge factor, leaving 50 mins befor work meant that I had to hurry. I didn't know the way and the map I have of Graz doesn't come out this far. But i'd drawn a mud map on my pad with street names and distance. I had a compass in my pocket and I knew how many paces I take to 100m. I set off and was doing allright till about half way, when a street on the map wasn't there. Assuming i'd drawn the map wrong I pressed on, I came to the next left and took it. It quickly turned left again and I was heading back the way I started.
Soon tho it turned right and I was on the street that "wasn't on the map" the map just said it went all the way through to the main road, which it didn't.
I'd lost a bit of time so I had to hot foot it. I got to work with about 2 minutes to spare, and sat in an empty office for almost an hour.
The day went pretty quickly, I started on another report for martin, its pretty boring just proof reading but it's really good to be of use. I met My boss's boss and again had to stop myself from laughing when ever they mentioned how good it was to have a "native speaker" checking there work. Martins bos was pretty relaxed, he had this really funny leather vest on, another of Austria's fashion statement.
The cloths are really funny here, I guess the place is really close to the Eastern block countries and sometimes you can tell. Some of the old school computers I see getting round the place, how a lot of people tuck there shirts in, the bike's they ride, everything to me says early 90's.
At the end of the day I jumped on a tram and headed through the city to the main train station.
Last night I was knackered, I was falling asleep with the computer in my hands. So I quit and went to sleep.
After finishing work last night I grabbed the tram to the main train station, where I was meeting a couple of the other trainees and going to a place called Leoben, it's just a small town about 40 mins from here that the girls decided to goto last minute, they all have summer tickets which gives them free travel around Austria, but the ticket only cost me 12 Eu.
We jumped on the train and Alaxandra, a macedonian, pulled out a bottle of martini, we sat there drinking that, laughing mainly about the size of Australia. They couldn't believe it used to take me an hour and a half to get from my front door to high school!! and before we knew it we were in Leoben.
Leoben was pretty small, we walked though the main square, which was very similar to Bruck undermur where i'd been the day befor. After that we walked upto the old castle, which is now just a series of walls in the ground, but there was also a pretty nice lookout too.
From there we walked back through the town to the trainstation, and rushed through the super market to grab a couple of beers for the train ride and then to the train station, as par the train was running late and we sat there for nearly half an hour. At one point we saw the train coming so we stood up and went to the edge of the plattform. The train didn't stop and the cargo train that it was just roared past as as a train on the other side of the platform did the same, it was so loud.
The trip home was really good, a conductor never came, so I didn't have to buy a ticket, myself, Hristina (no i'm not missing the C) and Alexandra, both macedonians just talked, and drank our beer while Ioanna, a greek, slept.
I got home and tried to write my diary while martin tried to get his commodore 64 to work. Haha, again the early 90's coming out in the Austrians.