Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuesday 31 May - Graz to Linz

0938 Graz to Selzthal 1111
1121 Selzthal to Linz 1324
Passing Mixnitz, one of the original steeple cab electrics was shunting in the yard while one of the larger locomotives was on the main line with a weed killing train. The train to Selzthal was almost ten minutes late waiting for a connection at Leoben.  The conductor assured me that the train at Selzthal would be held to make our connection.  It was a cross platform transfer and the train to Linz left only a few seconds late.  It was a four car electric Talent set, similar to the O Train.  I wondered what it would be like traveling second class in one of these for over two hours.  It was very easy to get into with a case, much easier than the OBB long distance trains and there was plenty of luggage space under the seats.  Much easier to stow bags than in a main line train.  The windows were spaced to coinicide with the seats so everyone had a clear view out of the window.  The trip was quite pleasant if a little uneventful.  We passed through a rugged mountain range and the area around Linz is quite flat and there is much arable farming.  I saw two deer in fields of wheat.  Of course I played Mozart's Linz symphony on my iPod.

We ran to time, in some cases we were waiting time at stations.

The tram station is under the railway station and we quickly acquired a ticket and caught the first tram to the Hauptplatz where we are staying.
Linzertorte with Aperol Spritz
A quick visit to the Tourist Office and we sat in the Hauptplatz with an Aperol Spritz and a portion of Linzertorte - pleasant enough but nothing special.  The main square, the Hauptplatz, is very impressive, but there doesn't seem to be as much of interest here as in Graz.  The motor vehicle is much more evident and there are many fewer bicycles.  We had a walk around in the hot afternoon sun but most of the sights are churches which don't really interest us,  The new cathedral is very impressive, it can reputedly hold 20,000 people and the stained glass is excellent - I think it is better than Leon which is reputedly the best in Europe.

The Postlingberg tramway has been rebuilt and extended into the Hauptplatz so it is less than five minutes from our room.  The new trams are three sections but quite small.  The gradients are severe and it runs through pleasant suburbs.  The summit was a little surprising because, although there are good views, it is mostly wooded and there are many houses.  It seems the tram serves commuters as much as tourists.  We found a bar which served food and had roast pork with dumplings and sauerkraut/beef goulash.  With a beer this was a good and relatively cheap meal.
At Postlingberg

As we were arriving back at the Hauptplatz we passed two of the original four wheel trams which are now used for special groups.

It has been very hot today but there has been some thunder which should cool things down a bit.

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