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March 31, 2019

Austria: Graz


Pedestrianized central Graz

In retrospect I knew surprising little about Graz Austria before we decided to visit in October of 2018. I didn’t know that the commune is Austria’s second largest city. Before we planned to visit I did not know of the existence of Schloss Eggenberg, a Baroque palace located on Graz’s perimeter. Nor did I know that Graz was the capitol of Styria. In fact I didn’t know of the existence of Styria at all, though I probably should have. As always, travel is a great teacher. (more…)

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March 28, 2019

Austria: Kunsthaus Graz

Filed under: Architecture, Austria, Europe, Photography, Travel, Travel, Writing — Tags: , , , , , , , — anotherheader @ 6:16 pm

 

Kunsthaus Graz

In truth the sole initial motivation for visiting Graz was to see the city’s modern Art House, or Kunsthaus. Years ago a saw a picture of the blue blob-like structure nestled in among the red tile roofs of the city; I knew it was something I had to see. The Kunsthaus looked perfectly out of place. For the past few years we’ve had tentative plans to try to get to Graz, but they never worked out. Finally this year we made it. (more…)

March 27, 2019

Austria: Fertö / Neusiedlersee Cultural Landscape and the Semmering Railway


Fertö / Neusiedlersee on light wind day

In Central Eurpoe, near the border of Austria and Hungary, are two UNESCO World Heritage sites, “Fertö / Neusiedlersee Cultural Landscape” and the “Semmering Railway”. We “visited” both briefly on way from Bratislava Slovakia to Graz Austria. (more…)

March 26, 2019

Hungary: Border Crossings

Filed under: Dog, Europe, Hungary, Photography, The List, Travel, Travel, Writing — Tags: , , , , — anotherheader @ 5:10 pm

The Hungarian side of the border, partially reused as a gas station

On our way from Bratislava Slovakia to Graz Austria we crossed briefly into Hungary. At the end of the day we’d crossed an international border on nine occasions in the nineteen days since our road trip began. All this crossing of borders was made easier by the Schengen Agreement, which has eliminated the need for border checkpoints.

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March 25, 2019

Slovakia: Bratislava, Urban Art


“Street art Corp. EGO / VANITY” from Bratislava’s street art festival

Bratislava has numerous impressive pieces of public art. In 2017, Bratislava was ranked as the third richest region of the European Union by GDP (on Purchasing Power Parity or PPP) per capita after only Hamburg and Luxembourg City. It is not a poor city, and the street art reflects the Bratislava’s relative affluence. Unlike poorer places, Marseille for example, most of the art on the streets we noticed was clearly planned and considered. Many of the pieces we spotted were grand in scale and required permission and advance logistical planning. The art in central Bratislava is less spontaneous and subversive than what can see in less affluent and less controlled areas of the world. It’s not graffiti art produced surreptitiously in the middle of the night. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but it is a distinctive difference. (more…)

Slovakia: Bratislava, the Castle and the River

Filed under: Architecture, Europe, Photography, Slovakia, Travel, Travel, Writing — Tags: , , , , — anotherheader @ 4:32 pm

Bratislava’s castle was in ruins before it was rebuilt between 1956 and 1964.

The Danube River and its castle are, along with the UFO Bridge, Bratislava’s most unmissable sights. I mean this literally. It would be hard to visit central Bratislava without catching a glimpse of the prominent river, bridge, and castle. Indeed, these three features seem to appear most commonly in the pictures I took during our stay in October of 2018. (more…)

March 24, 2019

Slovakia: Bratislava, Communist Era Buildings


Colorfully painted Communist-era apartment blocks across the river from Bratislava’s old town

Thirty years ago Bratislava Czechoslovakia was just on the Warsaw Pact side of the Iron Curtain. A few miles away from the city center, visible from its high building tops, is Austrian territory. Separating Austria and Czechoslovakia was a border barrier designed in part to keep those living in the Eastern Bloc from leaving. If you lived in Bratislava you could not in general migrate to nearby Vienna, 60-odd kilometers away. (more…)

March 22, 2019

Slovakia: Bratislava, the Blue Church


The Church of St. Elizabeth, or in Slovak, “Kostol svätej Alžbety”, otherwise known as the Little Blue Church.

In the eastern section of the old town in Bratislava is the Church of St. Elizabeth, or in Slovak: “Kostol svätej Alžbety”. It is a Hungarian Secessionist-style Catholic church. The church is commonly referred to as “The Little Blue Church”, reflecting of the color of its façade, mosaics, majolicas and blue-glazed roof. Initially the church functioned as the chapel for the neighboring high school or “gymnázium” that was constructed in the same architectural style. (more…)

March 21, 2019

Slovakia: Bratislava, the UFO Bridge


Bratislava’s Bridge of the Slovak National Uprising, commonly known as the UFO Bridge.

Bratislava’s Bridge of the Slovak National Uprising (“Most Slovenského národného povstania” in Slovak) crosses the Danube in the central city. This communist-era bridge is the world’s longest bridge with one pylon and one cable-stayed plane. Capping the only pylon is a saucer shaped restaurant and bar. The saucer is the iconic feature of the bridge and gives the structure its common name, the UFO Bridge. (more…)

Slovakia: Bratislava, A Dog with a View

Filed under: Dog, Europe, Photography, Slovakia, The List, Travel, Travel, Writing — Tags: , , , , , — anotherheader @ 3:08 pm

Soon after we arrived in Bratislava Gigi was at the window checking out the street scene.

Since she was a small pup Gigi has traveled together with us. Indeed the first weekend after she picked us to be her humans we took her to Healdsburg California for the weekend. There she discovered the joys of hotel elevators, stairs, and left over food service trays in the halls. Each was a big adventure. Each remains a pleasure today. (more…)

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