Graz, Austria

I can almost call it “my annual December trip to Graz”, considering how this is the third year in a row that I was visiting the city, haha! It’s not that far from where I live so it’s a pretty logical destination for when you want to go somewhere pretty, but you don’t want to travel too long. A 2,5 hour bus ride is pretty ideal – you can take a decent nap, but it’s not too long so your back won’t start to hurt and your legs won’t get all stiff and uncomfortable. :)
Anyway, I went to Graz last weekend, spent a lovely day roaming around the city and sightseeing. I took my mother this year, it was sort of an early Christmas present for her (although I’m sure I’ll find something small to put under her Christmas tree anyway ;)) It was pretty fun, and we had so much luck with the weather (again) – it was rather warm and it did not rain. Perfect!

I wanted to buy special postcards to send to people, but I only got home with a few. The crowd was so big it was impossible to take time and browse through the postcard racks, so I just pulled a few that looked decent. (Sorry the pictures are crappy. I’m sitting under the blanket with my laptop in my lap, so far from the scanner…….)

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Schlossberg

This first postcard is showing the clock tower on Schlossberg. Wikipedia says that Schlossberg (Schloßberg, or in English: Castle Hill) is the site of a fortress, located in the centre of Graz. Now it’s a public park and a place with wonderful, almost 360° view of the city, but it dates all the way to the 10th century. There was once a castle on this location, but it was largely demolished by the Napoleonic forces in the 1809, although it was never actually conquired. The clock tower and the bell tower (not in the postcard picture) were saved after the citizens paid the ransom for its preservation.
Also, I can’t repeat the story word by word, but apparently there was some mishap with the clock itself so now the big (minute) hand is actually showing the hours, and a little (hour) hand is showing minutes. Many people don’t know about it and just think it’s showing the wrong time. :)

 

IMAG6843This is the wintery view of the city from Schlossberg. I can’t tell whether it’s during the Advent time – I think there would be more lights and decorations if it were. By the way, the historic centre of Graz is under the UNESCO protection since 1999.

 

no kangaroos in austria

Also, this is probably my favorite postcard I found there – “no kangaroos in Austria”. I find it rather funny, considering how similar the names “Austria” and “Australia” are. I bet there is some confusion for people who aren’t that into geography, haha! :D

Oglasi

Plitvice lakes, Croatia

moje plitvice

Just a quick post showing the beautiful Plitvice lakes. :)

I got a chance to visit it yesterday, after several years of planning and failing to do so – and yes, it’s still as beautiful as it was the first time I was there. We had awful weather though, it’s been raining pretty heavily the entire time. Imagine, water falling from the sky (you know, rain) and water also coming from any other direction you can imagine. Thanks wind, thanks many, many waterfalls! You’ve done a great job keeping us soaking wet. ;)
We didn’t get the crappy weather ruin our trip so all in all – it was fun. I have quite a lot of photos from the trip – I’ve posted some on my Instagram account already, and I’ll keep posting them until I get tired of them. :)

I have to comment on two things:
1. I loved how clear the water was. I mean, the lakes were this wonderful bluish color and you could clearly see all the way to the bottom of the lake (unless it was too deep, of course). And so many fish, haha! Tiny fish, bigger fish, curious little things! So of course I took way too many “look at my old sneakers next to the clear water & the fish” photos. :D

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2) The selection of postcards is horrible. Just plain bad. I’m not sure whether I became superpicky lately. but honestly – I haven’t seen more than two decent postcards that I could take and say, “yes, I like these!” It makes me so sad. :( I got I think 4 to send to my friends and 1 for my own collection, but I’m far from happy with what I got.

Anyway, one of my best friends got married on Saturday & the combination of the wedding and this trip to Plitvice yesterday pretty much got me exhausted. I’m off to take a nap now, I think I deserve one. :)

Budapest & Balaton, Hungary

A few weekends ago, I had a wonderful chance to visit Budapest, the capital of Hungary. Such a wonderful city, with so many things to see! I was there only for two days and it wasn’t nearly enough to visit every location I was interested in seeing, but I had a chance to walk through the city centre, explore a little & just have a fun trip! And to get a few postcards for my friends – and I’m sad to say I still haven’t had a chance to mail any of them. :( Also, I must admit I’m rather disappointed by the choice of postcards they sell. I’m sure there are places that offer wonderful postcards, but the ones I saw are…. not impressive. I mean, those were still postcards, but if you’re slightly OCD like I am (and also, if you appreciate photography like I do) you’d notice how poor the images are, how they’re not sharp and in general how off most of them are. #sadface
I got the few good ones I could find, so at least that’s something. ;)

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Also, on our way back, we made a stop by the lake Balaton. It’s the biggest lake in Hungary, also commonly known as the “Hungarian sea”. Popular among tourists, as far as I know. I know a lot of Hungarian people drive down to Croatia & the Adriatic sea during the summertime, but Balaton definitely seems like a good alternative to have a vacation & enjoy some water activities.
My disappointment in the postcard department continued there as well, this time because they could all fit into these categories: a) childish (with many cartoon characters or drawn animals wearing sunglasses and playing with beach balls), b) boobs (literally boobs), or c) multiviews (but the kind of multiviews that make you dizzy because they somehow managed to fit like 50 tiny pictures on a single 10×15 cm postcard). Again, I got the best I could get. :)

IMAG4905Sorry for the bad picture. My scanner refuses to cooperate. :(

Anyway, it was a fun trip, good times. I wish I can travel like that more often! :)