Dj and I had planned to visit Italy together – Venice, Florence and Rome. However, due to time constraints, we had to cut out one city, and we chose to cut Florence from our itinerary. Of course, I regret, especially after reading Dan Brown’s Inferno. But first, Dj visited me in Graz for a couple of days. I was proud to show off the little place I called home!
I picked Dj up at Graz Hauptbahnhof, and we went out for a quick walk around town before we had dinner with my friends. Home-cooked dinners with my friends is the one thing I think I miss most about being in Graz.
We bought groceries and headed home to cook. I was going to make paella, but I couldn’t get a lot of the ingredients. So I settled on Mexican rice, or rather, my version of Mexican rice that I cooked up with completely no recipe. It was pretty good though, if I do say so myself.
Tim and Patrick showed off their baking skills with homemade Apfelstrudel!
Apfelstrudel (apple strudel)
Us, Asians, at dinner (including Alex)
Next morning, we headed out early to explore Graz. I had been saving some places to visit for when Dj visited, so it was a new experience for me too.
Love locks on Mursteg
That very night was the opening of the Christkindlmarkt at Hauptplatz. The enormous Weihnachtsbaum was already up for quite some time, and I was anxiously anticipating my first official Christkindlmarkt!
The huge Christmas tree at Hauptplatz
Little wooden stalls were already open in the day, selling all sorts of food, drinks, ornaments, souvenirs and other handmade items. Everything just looked really pretty. It was a pity that the weather was so terrible that day.
Christkindlmarkt (Christmas market) at Hauptplatz
Walking down Herrengasse, we decided to stop for a slice of Sachertorte at Café Sacher. Although Dj had been to Vienna, he didn’t get to try it. And although I am not the biggest fan of it, I would still recommend it, just for the sake of it being Viennese. HAH. Anyway, the slice we got this time was much more moist than the one I had with my mum when I just arrived. Strange.
I’d visited the Landeszeughaus twice before this – once with my mum and another time with my Global Business Programme class. The Landeszeughaus (or the Styrian Armoury), and is home to the world’s largest collection (32,000 pieces) of historic weapons and armour. Somehow, I’m extremely intrigued by all these medieval weapons and armour. The guided tour is free and the tour guides that I got on my visits were all excellent.
The armour and suits carried and worn by the army back in the days were big, bulky and heavy. Also, the men were prone to heat strokes because the suits would absorb so much heat. Almost every suit we saw was unique, as the suits on display were tailor made for each person. Apparently, the larger the tummy area, the more wealthy and high ranking that guy probably was!
Some of the masks also had engravings such as moustaches and smiles. These were meant to scare the enemy as they met their doom. I find them cute though.
There was also armour for the horses. This was meant for jousting. It was the grandest piece on display. Very intimidating.
After the armoury, we headed back towards Lendplatz for lunch. Dj loves mushroom soup and I had to let him try the best.
Mushroom & polenta soup
This time, they used different mushrooms, but it was still as yummy. And in the chilly weather, it was just perfect!
After a late afternoon nap, we headed out again in the evening to catch the Christmas lights around town, and also to climb the Schloßberg to get a night view of the city. It would be my first time being up there at night.
There’s something really nice about being in a city that isn’t bustling with with tourists. You can be at such beautiful places and not feel claustrophobic.
It was off to dinner with Clement and our buddies, before we all headed to the Christkindlmarkt for the first time! We went for supposedly the best burgers in town at B.EAT.
Burger with Cajun fries – Indeed, delicious
Clement and his chicken wings (and beer)
We met many schoolmates there at the Christmas market at Hauptplatz. The heavy drizzle did nothing to faze us.
We had Glühwein (mulled wine) and also some Punsch (punch) which had these amazing hot, bursting berries mulled along with spices. The alcohol really made me feel warm despite the cold weather and drizzle. After some drinks and mingling, we went back home for some good night’s sleep.
The next morning, I brought Dj to my favourite café – Tribeka, for the best chai latte.
We walked towards the biggest farmers’ market in Graz at Kaiser Josef Platz. We stopped by my favourite bakery – Hofbäckerei Edegger Tax on the way to have my all-time favourite pastry, Topfentaschen and also a fruit tart for the boy.
Hofbäckerei Edegger Tax
God only knows why I don’t have a single decent photo of Topfentaschen. Sigh. I had to screenshot this from my Instagram account.
In the vicinity of the farmers’ market is the Graz Opera. Some of my friends managed to get cheap tickets for the opera, but I didn’t go because I was out of town then. A pity, watching an opera still unchecked from my bucket list.
Farmers’ market at Kaiser Josef Platz
Evangelische Heilandskirche (Lutheran Church of the Redeemer)
This farmers’ market is about three to four times the size as the one at Lendplatz. Fresh produce, breads, cakes, condiments, you name it, they got it. Also, as it was the Christmas season, they were selling Christmas cookies, ornaments and trees.
From the farmers’ market, we walked to the church that I saw in the distance from the top of Schloßberg. The Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the largest church in Graz, and also the tallest building in Graz (I think).
Herz-Jesu-Kirche (Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus)
A question to ponder
On the way home, we entered the Graz Cathedral (Dompfarre Graz). Emperor Frederick III built the church with his new residence in Graz. He was the Holy Roman Emperor from 1452 to 1493.
The beautiful altar and pulpit
That marked in the end of Dj’s short visit to Graz. I only wished the weather was better. It would’ve made things much more enjoyable. Off we go… to Venezia!